Apple Event Thoughts: Intro and iPod Shuffle

I’ve been speculating a lot leading up to yesterday’s event where Apple announced most of the things we thought they would do. I just want to go over what I predicted and see what happened and what didn’t, and what that means for the new products.

iPod Shuffle

I made some rather outlandish Shuffle predictions, including turning the device into a necklace type product. In the end, it was a pretty simple refresh. They responded to customer complains over the lack of buttons on the last version, and brought them back accordingly. Where the 2nd gen shuffle had a gap to the side of where the buttons were positioned, this one has seemingly no wasted space. The buttons are also 18% bigger to make them as easy as possible to press. Most importantly, they’ve decided to scrap the 4gb version and focused on having a lower capacity, and more importantly, lower priced player designed to have music swapped around every time you sync.

£39 isn’t as cheap as I would have hoped, but it’s still good and it’s almost . One of the problems with last year’s shuffle was that because the device had no buttons on the device itself to control playback, you were restricted to using the pretty poor default headphones unless you bought a special adapter but that wasn’t ideal. Now, the controls are all on the device itself, including a special new button to control the voice over feature, leaving you free to use any headphones you like, which is nice.

I could actually see myself getting a shuffle at some point as a dedicated podcast or audiobook player, or maybe just to load up a few favourite tracks to listen to when I’m out. It’s so light and simple to use that it’s perfect for wearing while jogging. I don’t know if I trust the clip to keep it securely fitted to clothing and I would probably opt for putting it in a pocket instead.

Another reason why it’s ideal for going out is because I’ve taken my 1st gen iPod Touch out in my pocket many times, practically daily and it is a bit bulky considering I often have my pockets loaded up with my phone, keys, wallet and a pedometer sometimes as well. Not only would using a shuffle save me pocket space and weight but it would also keep my new touch from getting it’s screen slightly scratched as my current one has been.

My brother won a 2nd gen shuffle on a crane game at an amusement park a couple of years ago, and it’s great. It’s 1gb which is ideal especially if I’m only going to have one piece of audio on it at a time. The clip is a disaster though, it got bent badly and won’t go back to it’s original shape. It still clips but not well. The worst part is that the charging dock is designed so that if the device is bent at all, it won’t fit unless you really force it. They fixed this in the more recent models by using simply a cable instead of a dock. I’m glad they’ve solved this problem now as the clips are very easily ruined. I personally would have preferred the clip to be optional, similar to the old iPod Mini which had a plastic clip that you could fit when you required it.

Overall I do like the new shuffle and like the product line in general as I feel it still fills a niche in the market, especially as the price lowers.


iPod Nano 6th Gen & Shuffle 4th Gen Wishlist

The current, outgoing lineup. Image via Wikipedia
The current, outgoing lineup. Image via Wikipedia

I’ve recently talked about my wants for the next generations of iPod Touch and Apple TV which we could see next Wednesday. The Apple TV is not necessarily a certainty for the show but it will come sometime soon. They just might focus on iPods only for the time being.

I now want to go over what I hope the next generations of Nano and Shuffle will bring to the table. These aren’t products that I would typically buy these days due to the iPod Touch doing so much more, but they are fun to speculate about.

iPod Nano 6th Gen

  1. Touch screen and no click wheel – The leaked shots of cases for a supposed new, smaller and square nano combined with the leak earlier this year or a 1.7 inch touch screen would indicate that Apple are going in a radically different direction with the nano this time around. Personally I find the click wheel fiddly on my old 2nd gen nano and I think it’s time they got rid of it, iconic or not. They still have the classic to fly the click wheel flag.
  2. Cut down version of iOS – because the device will be so small, they can’t use the regular iOS interface. They’ll have to cut it down further to fit on this device but it will save space and look great.
  3. Camera – I hope the camera stays part of the package although it is weird to envision one on a device so small as it could be difficult to hold. Still, I hope they do keep it and up the resolution as well as allow stills to be taken.
  4. Radio – Hopefully the radio also stays as this is a feature I personally would find very useful.

iPod Shuffle 4th Gen

  1. New form factor – The only way I could see the shuffle getting any smaller would be if they incorporated it into a necklace or into the headphones themselves. Personally I’d prefer to be able to use my own headphones. You could do a wearable necklace shuffle with the controls built into the the strap somehow. You could then have a cable tidy solution to stop the headphone cable hanging down and bouncing everywhere as well. However, they will probably just play it fairly safe, or just remove the product entirely and replace it with the new, smaller nano.
  2. Voice control – The nano already has voice over support. iPod Touches come with a mic in the headphone control and this feature would make sense on a device like the shuffle which obviously doesn’t have a screen and is designed to be used during exercise.

The event is next Wednesday at 6.00 pm UK time. It’ll be interesting to see if any of this and all of the other rumours end up coming true. I’m excited to find out.