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Apple 2G iPod Shuffle

Two years on, still going strong

For the casual user, that's fine, and will get you a good distance on an modern jetliner before you have to recharge. Unless you're on an Airbus A380, of course, in which you can just plug the player's USB cable into the back of the seat in front of you.

Speaking of USB cable, we'd have like to have seen Apple come up with a new one. As before, the latest Shuffles come with a dock. It's not like a regular iPod dock - with the Shuffle, the power's pumped in through an extended 3.5mm jack, and the dock allows the player to sit snuggly on this while it's being synced and charged.

Apple re-coloured Shuffle

Eminently wearable

That's the theory - in practice, we found iTunes will lose the connection if you nudge the Shuffle as the power and data electrical connection is momentarily broken.

The other problem with the dock is that while it's fine for deskbound Shuffle owners, as laptop users we'd prefer a simple cable with a USB connector at one end and the extra-long 3.5mm jack on the other. It'd be just as easy to connect and a darn sight easier to wrap up and stow with your laptop.

Stowing the Shuffle itself is a doddle, thanks to the clip on the back which was, and remains, a work of genius, no matter what you think about the rest of the player. It's ready to attach to almost any part of your clothing - lapel, pocket, sleeve rim, shirt opening, whatever - and with your body behind it, pushing the control ring is easy.

Only a lack of Bluetooth A2DP support and the resulting need for wired earphones stops this little lad becoming the music player equivalent of Star Trek: The Next Generation's comm-badges.

Unlike rip-offs there's no radio on board, as per other iPods.

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