Apple iPod Shuffle 4G
Review The iPod Shuffle's entire history is a testament to the fact that Apple doesn't always get products right. The fact it exists at all shows Steve Jobs was wrong to say that consumers don't really want low-cost, plug'n'go music players. They do, and if the number of Shuffles seen on lapels and bagstraps around the capital is anything to go by, they're downright keen on them.
Apple's iPod Shuffle: back to its best design
So the Shuffle came into being despite Steve's comments, first defying the then-held belief that an MP3 player has to have a screen. Then, with the second-generation product, that it had to be made out of cheap plastic. The 2G Shuffle was a metal-clad affair, and it became the line's defining model.
And so Apple chucked out the design, dropping the control keys in favour of in-line controls in the earphones. At the launch of the 4G Shuffle, Jobs acknowledged that that had been a mistake, before taking the wraps off a player almost identical to its predecessor-but-one.
It's narrower, thanks to a smaller battery - physically; its runtime is longer - and entirely cased in aluminium, with a new clip design on the back that's easier to open with your fingertips but doesn't appear to be any less able to to keep the Shuffle attached to whatever it's attached to.
There's a button for VoiceOver
Be careful when clipping it: the play key no longer has a push-to-hold function, so you'll pause playback when attaching or removing the 4G.
Next page: Out loud
How can people prefer this over a similarly priced 4GB or 8GB Sansa Clip+? That player also has physical buttons, but adds a small display, FM radio, voice recording, accepts up to 16GB microSDHC cards, and doesn't require iTunes to sync. Do people just assume that because it's Apple there's no need for comparison shopping?
only ipod you can use with your eyes closed
It's worth remembering this is the only ipod you can use without looking at the display -I've got an old nano, played with the new one -which has physical volume controls- but Mr Jobs still expects you to hold up the device to navigate around. The shuffle is something you can keep in your pocket, use in the gym, on the mountain bike, anywhere, and for me, the only one worth having.
I am glad that they've realised this and put the buttons back -the fact they admitted their mistake means that sales must have died.
The Sansa range is stunning.
I've got two Fuzes, and they are the best MP3 players I've ever used, by a long way.
i would totally buy one, but...
No way is that scumware ever coming anywhere near my music collection.
iPod to kill the In-car Radio?
It was the iPod that finally dragged me in to the Apple walled-garden, and I too am very glad the blind person's iPod is back.
Of course the biggest tribute to the device was that I was able to get my Dad and brothers to take up using the device, partly through simplicity, but mostly because they both doing a lot of driving and the no-look controls are essential (especially with my Dad's refusing to ever wear reading glasses). Pity care stereo designers seem to continue producing products and integrations that are fated to cause many an accident, and with the continuing digital radio fiasco the future seems bleak for those wanting to live the car-advert dream of cruising with tunes.