iPod Shuffle: what were they thinking?

Big words.

That, my friends, is Apple’s new iPod Shuffle. To be sure, I was incredulous as to the size of the device. I mean, come ON. Thats just… crazy. Props to apple for that. 

Then, I wondered where all the buttons were. So naturally, I watched Apple’s ‘tour’ video (click the “video tour” link on the page). It seems as though all the control for the iPod is contained on a little pad on the earphones with 3 buttons: a volume up button, a volume down button, and a center button. The center can play and pause, but it can also be used to read the name of the song back to you, through your earphones. That was their selling point: it will talk to you. What made me crack up was the rediculous difference in voices the device used. The smooth, sleek voice could only be heard if you sync your iPod to a Mac. The PC voice, on the other hand, sounded like a Windows 98-simulated voice. That was pretty displeasing.

The iPod now supports playlists: holding the center button down for a little longer will sound a chime, and then read off your current playlists. It will then let you use the volume buttons to cycle through the playlists. That was pretty self-explanitory. The only part of the iPod’s control interface that was actually on the iPod is the little lock switch, which allows you to lock the device, shuffle your songs, or just play them in order.

“Sounds like a good idea, Salem. Whats so terrible about it?”

Well, its not a problem with the iPod itself, per se. Look at the earphones. Apple released the device without any signs of an adapter of any sort. This means that those $200 Bose in-ears you bought won’t work with this iPod. At all. There are the ones it ship with, that cost $30 to replace, and then there are Apple’s in-ear headphones (which will run you up at around $80). Apple’s overpricing has always left me at a loss for words (not to mention the fact that it keeps a distance between me and their products). 

Naturally, there are 3rd party earphones that have already been announced, plus adapters are “in progress” from both 3rd party vendors and Apple retailers. Regardless, earphones wear out much faster than iPods do, so why would you want to spend $30 bucks to just use your iPods again? 

Now that you know my oppinions, what do you think? Leave a comment. I’d like to hear from you.