The New iPod Shuffle: How Minimal Can You Get?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 11, 2009

shuff.JPGMinimalism has been the prevailing aesthetic at Apple for some time. Products are monochromatic, mostly white or silver. Buttons, ports, or anything else that would spoil the clean lines of the design is held to an absolute minimum. The result has been beautiful products that sometimes sacrifice functionality to appearance.

The minimalist approach is taken to the ultimate with the new iPod Shuffle ($79, 4GB of storage, in black or silver), announced March 11. I can’t think of a way to design a product any cleaner than this. The third-generation shuffle is about the size and shape of half a stick of chewing gum and not a whole lot thicker. As on the previous Shuffles, there is no display. But this time, Apple went further and eliminated the play and volume controls. The monolith-with-a-pocket-clip design is marred only by a tiny slider that serves as a power switch and a 3.5 mm hole for a headphone plug, which may have kept the unit from being even thinner; the Shuffle is just thick enough to contain the jack.

shuiffle_dimensions.JPGSo how do you work the thing? Through a remote control embedded into the headphone cord, similar to the one on the standard iPhone stereo headphone. As on other Shuffles, you have no control over the order in which songs play other than to choose the next or the previous track. There are three buttons on the remote: volume up and down and play/pause. What if you don’t like the indifferent ear buds Apple supplies or, if like me, ear buds just won’t stay in your ears? You can buy the iPhone In-Ear Stereo headphones ($79); the remote is the same. Apple says there will also be third-party adapters that will let you add a remote to your favorite headphones.

iPod remotes, are common, but on the Shuffle, the play/pause button has acquired some completely new tricks. Through a feature called VoiceOver, if you press and hold the button a synthesized voice announces the current track. There’s quite a bit more to this than it might appear at first listen, since there’s no way the feeble processing circuitry on the Shuffle could handle text-to-speech conversion of the metadata.

Here’s how it works: When you set up the Shuffle on a Mac (it works slightly differently on Windows, but the principle is the same), you install a piece of software called VoiceOver along with the new version of iTunes (8.1). VoiceOver uses the text-to-speech capabilities built into Mac software to create a little title audio to accompany each track, and when you press the button to get the track information, that little audio file plays.
shuffle_remote.JPGI have only one problem with this design, and it’s one that applies to any product that uses multi-modal buttons, that is, buttons that do more than one thing depending on the context. The center button on this remote has an awful lot to do. A single tap starts the music, or stops it if it is already playing. A double tap skips to the next track and a triple tap moves back to the previous track. If you hold the button down, you get the track announcement. And if you hold it down even longer until you hear a beep, it will announce the playlists on the shuffle. You then press it again to select a playlist. Use it for a while, and you’ll get used to it, but this sort of multi-modalism always makes for a confusing user experience.

At least for the time being, Apple is keeping the current-design 1 GB Shuffle in the product line as the least expensive iPod at $49. The 2 GB $69 version is being discontinued.


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Reader Comments

Chance

March 11, 2009 10:53 AM

"iPof remotes, are common, but on the Shuffle, the play/pause button has acquired some completely new tricks."

You guys really ought to proofread things before hitting submit. :P

Ed

March 11, 2009 10:54 AM

Hey editors:

"iPof remotes, are common, but on the.."

iPof?!

Jay

March 11, 2009 10:55 AM

So you have to use their earphones, or a clunky adaptor, and learn a complex control sequence. It's starting to seem like form is now dictating function, which is just backwards.

I'll stick with my cheap generic MP3 player, thank you very much.

Barry Wood

March 11, 2009 10:57 AM

You probably ought to fix the "iPof" typo at the beginning of the fourth paragraph.

Steve Wildstrom

March 11, 2009 10:59 AM

Thanks for pointing out the typo. It's fixed.

qwerty

March 11, 2009 11:08 AM

just what we all need about now....
a new gaget to keep us in our little virtual worlds.

Chance

March 11, 2009 11:15 AM

"thanks for pointing out the typo. It;s fixed."

/facepalm

Jerry

March 11, 2009 11:16 AM

I own a couple of iPod Shuffles, both are second generation and I love them. I would never purchase the new iPod because it does not fit my needs. I like to plug in my shuffles to the stereo at home, the stereo in the car and so on. I think it was idiocy to remove the play/pause and volume features from the new model and will never buy a 3rd generation shuffle. When my iPods finally die I will go with a different brand all together. Just an FYI, I have a Mac computer at home and love Apple products with the exception of this new shuffle.

chris

March 11, 2009 11:17 AM

ok where is the fm radio these things with out a radio are a waste of money

Chris

March 11, 2009 11:17 AM

You may have fixed the iPof, but the comma following "remotes" is unnecessary and inappropriate.

Freightman

March 11, 2009 11:18 AM

I have the Gen 2 model, I like and will not move up where I have to use their headphones. Plus the 1 gig only cost 29 bucks.

apple

March 11, 2009 11:19 AM

I prefered the Ipof, sounds better.

Dave Gordon

March 11, 2009 11:20 AM

I love multi-modal buttons, Panasonics used that for its CD players 20 years ago and I love it.

Anne Nonymous

March 11, 2009 11:21 AM

"It;s fixed"????

Thank you for the giggles!

Charlie

March 11, 2009 11:21 AM

Get rid of the wires and stick one in each ear.

Steve Wildstrom

March 11, 2009 11:22 AM

Thanks for pointing out the typo. It's fixed. (But it took three tries before MoveableType accepted the corrected version of this comment, including one that was supposed to have been made before the comment was posted.)

tracy

March 11, 2009 11:25 AM

i really don't get the point of this. id rather have the buttons on the mp3 player. now i cant use higher quality ear/head phones. totally pointless. i'm glad i went and got the 4g nano.

Leo

March 11, 2009 11:25 AM

You think the button combinations are complex Jay? Strange how no one discussed how complex the gestures are that you need to learn to control Palm's new Pre, but people mention complex controls here? I agree about the use of their headphones being mandatory, but they sound great and won't bother the huge majority of people I'm sure.

rob

March 11, 2009 11:25 AM

Jay,
you have obviously not studied industrial design.

Form is following function very fluidly in this design.

Placing the simple controls even closer to the user and the audio output is concise design concept.

It is instinctual for users to gravitate towards the source of an object to manipulate the desired functions.

Jon T

March 11, 2009 11:28 AM


A thing of beauty no doubt. And meant to be worn with the Apple logo facing out I'm sure!

Interesting that all these new products from Apple are being announced without any fanfare or presentations... saving them for the big big new products heh?!

EW

March 11, 2009 11:31 AM

Other than to "keep up with the Joneses" with the latest gizmo, I can't for the life of me, see the point of these gadgets. I'd just as soon turn on a radio or pop in a CD. That way, I can even choose what I want to listen to.

EW

March 11, 2009 11:31 AM

Other than to "keep up with the Joneses" with the latest gizmo, I can't for the life of me, see the point of these gadgets. I'd just as soon turn on a radio or pop in a CD. That way, I can even choose what I want to listen to.

Sam

March 11, 2009 11:32 AM

"It;s fixed" should be "It's fixed."

chris

March 11, 2009 11:34 AM

typical tools with negative comments - quick to point out when something is wrong but never give good criticism or remark on inovation. Oh, wait did I spell that wrong?

matt

March 11, 2009 11:34 AM

The good thing is that the 3rd party products will probably be able to provide more buttons to do the crazy multi click and hold work that the out-of-the-box headphones do.

Jake

March 11, 2009 11:36 AM

Steve Jobs could slap the company symbol on a Betamax and the Apple devotees would sing arias of praise. Give Apple credit, they've developed an extremely loyal following and they reap the rewards. Capitalism at it's finest.

olivestreet

March 11, 2009 11:36 AM

Shouldn't "iPod remotes, are common, but on the.."

read:

"iPod remotes are common, but on the.."

Why the first comma.

I only ask because it seems only English teachers and those who've competed in the Scripts National Spelling Contest are reading this article.

Fix capitalization and punctuation also

March 11, 2009 11:36 AM

correct. It;is fixed.

dave

March 11, 2009 11:38 AM

It;s fixed? LOL. Sounds like too minimalist of a design with no buttons on the actual device. So there is something unusual from Apple, something that requires proprietary equipment and is overpriced comparable to other brands. Generic MP3 players have FM radios, voice recorders, etc. Most people when working out keep the headphone cable under their shirts, so the odds of the control being in the right spot are low. I'll pass on this one thank you.

Rawbin

March 11, 2009 11:39 AM

My little square "ipof" shuffle is really cute, but difficult to clip on or off without accidentally pushing a button.

Then again, it's probably better to keep the one I have rather than get one that requires that I learn morse code to work it.

chris

March 11, 2009 11:40 AM

I will write something positive. This thing looks very nice and I think it will be very nice and handy when working out. For the price I think it is fair. Considering the size I think it is also fair that they didn't include a 24 inch LCD display.
A nicely done product that fits well within their line up.

Rawbin

March 11, 2009 11:44 AM

I thought the comment "It;s fixed" was a joke. I just assumed that Steve Wildstrom had a sense of humor, but I guess not, because he fixed that one too.

Oprah

March 11, 2009 11:46 AM

I think most folks that comment on the uselessness of this product are just like me. A fat ass that never works out and doesn't see how functional this item could be (for some).

Anyway back to eating my bon bons.

Shjawn Hill

March 11, 2009 11:46 AM

I'll stick with my Sansa, thank you very much. Better price, it has a screen, FM tuner, can record voice or radio, I can use my own headphones ... I can go on.

Nice try Apple but I see this one as a bit useless.

Madison

March 11, 2009 11:51 AM

Hahaha...

"It;s fixed"

I hope that this is a deliberate mistake intended for laughs, and not the alternative. It amused me anyway.

MEliza

March 11, 2009 11:51 AM

Just this week I decided to buy a shuffle for my father who is blind and has some difficulty manipulating buttons and other controls. I'd better hurry and get the old version.

chris

March 11, 2009 11:55 AM

Its only the 3rd generation I guess Apple hasn't figured out yet that it is useless. Oh wait maybe since in the 4th quarter they sold about one a second there just might just be a market and it isn't useless.

chris

March 11, 2009 11:57 AM

Blind and better not use voice over. Yup makes sense to me.

Turtman

March 11, 2009 11:58 AM

I love turtles!

chris

March 11, 2009 12:02 PM

It is nice to see that considering how small this item is, Apple has decided to still think in terms of being green.

To most of the users reading this - yes I know it comes in black or silver only (not green).

Green - earth friendly - recycled materials

Bruce

March 11, 2009 12:21 PM

The great thing about capitalism is that we get to vote with our pocketbooks. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Look at the nano, it went back to the form factor of the 2nd generation.

Joe

March 11, 2009 12:54 PM

Steve, there's a typo in your comment saying you fixed the typo. I think that should be an apostraphe instead of a semicolon.

Judy

March 11, 2009 01:40 PM

Can't use it in the car or with speakers in the house. So basically I could never buy one of there. What on Earth was aple thinking????!!!!

Judy

March 11, 2009 01:40 PM

Can't use it in the car or with speakers in the house. So basically I could never buy one of there. What on Earth was aple thinking????!!!!

Steve Wildstrom

March 11, 2009 01:52 PM

@Judy & others--It's important to remember that the Shuffle is not intended to be the ultimate iPod. It is what it is, advantages and limitations. But the first two generations of the Shuffle sold extremely well--a price point this low will do that--and I have no doubt that the new one will sell well too.

George

March 11, 2009 03:57 PM

can you plug the aux cable from ipod to the car stereo?

Steve Wildstrom

March 11, 2009 04:05 PM

@George--If you are using a standard aux in connection, i.e., a 3.5 mm stereo jack, you could in theory do it, but you would have to jury-rig a cable. Probably, you would take a standard earbud headphone with the remote, cut off the earbuds and solder on a 3.5 mm stereo plug. It would be a lot less trouble to use a nano for the job.

Also, the Shuffle would not work in a car that has an actual iPod connection because the shuffle lack an iPod docking connector.

Dalston Dan

March 11, 2009 07:18 PM

Any ideas on what Ballmer will say?

chickenswa

March 11, 2009 07:23 PM

Theres still a typo in that hotly controversial sentence that reads "iPod remotes, are common, but on the Shuffle, the play/pause button has acquired some completely new tricks." Why is "are common" separated from the rest of the sentence by commas? It's, wrong, gramatically, as in, this current, sentence.

John

March 11, 2009 08:10 PM

this new feature of buttons on the earbuds really destroys the purpose of the ipod shuffle. I own an iPod Shuffle 2nd generation and l use it while running, but i do not use ipod earbuds because they fall out while running. if I can not use better headphones, the shuffle's purpose is destroyed. Personally, the idea of make something small and make it suck in the process is kind of wearing off. Apple should change this.

Pat

March 11, 2009 08:41 PM


Apple takes marriage of elitism, idiocy to new levels with talking iPod

Apple didn’t invent the portable music player (PMP), but with the introduction of the iPod in 2001, it proudly pioneered the role of the devices as uber-hip status symbols projecting urban youth gestalt, hip-hop elitism, and a strident allegiance to a crippling dependency on one proprietary piece of software for the transfer of music files ...


http://wineandexcrement.com/apple-takes-marriage-of-elitism-idiocy-to-new-levels-with-talking-ipod/892/

matt

March 11, 2009 10:28 PM

My question is, how do you play music on desktop speakers, or any speakers other than the headphones for that matter? It's not as simple as just plugging it into the headphone plug anymore because the controls are on the headphones. How could something so simple be overlooked? ridiculous. Also, they should have set a second set of controls ON the shuffle with an included "hold" switch. That would alleviate this. I feel that this is a failure in design. But I see how they are trying to proprietize their headphone use.

Steve Wildstrom

March 11, 2009 10:35 PM

@Matt--I guess Apple's answer would be "get a nano instead." Apple's Greg Joswiak, who demoed the Shuffle for me on speakers, used a kludged earphone cable that had a 3.5 mm plug spliced in. I bet Belkin or someone comes out with such a cable, I hope for no more than $5 or $10.

Matt

March 11, 2009 10:42 PM

@Steve- While I understand that there may be accessories, I thought that the point of a lot of apple products was to be a minimalist. "all you need is packaged right there for you." The necessity to purchase an additional cable just so I can connect it to external speakers is just flat out a design flaw. The shuffle, which initially was supposed to be the most compact and easy to carry around by itself with no additional pouches/accessories, will now need to be partnered with a little bag for it's connectors. This may be the smallest shuffle yet, but they don't mention all the accessories you'll need to tote along with it. I do like the new design of the USB cable though. That is definitely an improvement over the older one which was bulky with it's stand. The idea is great, poor execution though. And I am not an apple basher nor a fanatic. I do use several apple products, and for quite some time.

Steven

March 12, 2009 12:03 AM

I think Apple's answer is always gonna be, "if you don't like it, buy something else." Or upgrade to our higher level product. It's not arrogant, it's just how they choose to play.

I also think that Apple purposely leaves holes or niches in their products for third party suppliers to fill. This encourages the establishment and maintenance of the iPod "ecosystem" which helps Apple to continue to dominate the MP3 player market.

Steven

March 12, 2009 01:05 AM

@Matt-these are not design flaws; they're design decisions - big difference. Because you don’t like the decision that was made does not make it a flaw. The target audience is not those who are looking to make this the hub of their digital lifestyle. It's those who want to be able clip-n-go for fifty bucks - and that requires no accessories. It does, however, require the kind of engineering and economic compromises which are inherent in the design of any product.

For example, the primary purpose of the hold feature is to prevent accidentally operating the controls while the unit is in your pocket. Since the unit clips to your clothing, that becomes a moot issue. So why include it – it only takes up space and adds cost. As for other conveniences like external speaker capability, Apple figures if you’re looking for these features, buy a Nano. Now you may not like that policy, but any company which offers a family of products has to figure out a way to differentiate between products so that they don’t severely overlap one another. This is accomplished by offering features in one product which are not available in the next lower tier of products. This is Marketing 101, but it is amazing how many cry foul because the least expensive product doesn’t offer all of the functionality they desire.

Also, I believe Apple uses lower priority and introductory products as trial runs for technologies they may want to use later. For example, they used the "unibody" technology on the MacBook Air, but they never mentioned it until they hyped it up for the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The "multitouch" technology has found its way from the iPhone to notebook trackpads. The remote control headphones first appeared on iPhone and now have migrated to the iPod Shuffle. And who knows where they’re going with Apple TV. I'd be willing to bet you're going to see this Voice-Over feature appearing in other Apple products, but including it initially on a product like the Shuffle is a low-risk venture.

matt

March 12, 2009 02:42 AM

@Steve- Sure, I understand marketing. But you're telling me that removing features from a base model is considered progression? That is simply not true. Ok, I'll agree it is a design decision, but if it fails at what the idea was initially designed to do, is it not a flaw? Think about what the "shuffle" was initially supposed to be. ALL previous versions of the shuffle can be operated without headphones, and so can all the higher model of ipods. I am not saying I use the shuffle as a hub for entertainment, but I do own an iPhone, but a shuffle is less trouble to use when I workout, esp around weights.

"This is Marketing 101, but it is amazing how many cry foul because the least expensive product doesn’t offer all of the functionality they desire." This is not crying. If ANY company were to remove any feature that has been offered in ALL prior productions without it being obsolete, anyone would make a gripe.

So if car companies removed the entire in dash gauge-cluster from their vehicles and replaced it with an audible system that tells you your speed when you press a button. And they tell you "if you want to be able to see your gauge cluster, you must purchase one of our luxury models, as having a gauge cluster is a luxury, not a necessity." You'd be ok with this? I think not.

"Also, I believe Apple uses lower priority and introductory products as trial runs for technologies they may want to use later." So while you say it's marketing to remove features, now you suggest that they may be removing all controls from all their personal MP3 Players? Seriously? (I know, you're going to say "that's why it's a 'test')This isn't even cost effective. They redesigned an entire MP3 player model, to introduce headphones that have a remote? They could've simply introduced the headphones alone.

"The remote control headphones first appeared on iPhone and now have migrated to the iPod Shuffle." yes, they migrated the remote control to the shuffle, but with the iPhone, they didn't make it completely controlled by the headphone/mic remote.

"The "multitouch" technology has found its way from the iPhone to notebook trackpads." Yes, the multi-touch feature migrated over to the macbooks, but even there, they did NOT remove any original features that came with the Macbook Pro.

Do you see what I'm saying? Yes, I'm all for innovation and design. But if they could do things like add "multitouch" to a laptop without removing any features it already had, why could they not do the same for the shuffle.

This "voice over" feature is falls short of being categorized as a feature. The voice is not even natural speak, it's a robot that is reminiscent of Microsoft Sam.

Also, you mention "controls only take up space and cost"? So expecting my MP3 player to have controls on it, is beyond understandable?

Honestly, I CAN understand how you're defending apple's design choices. But as a consumer, if they wanted us to "buy a nano" then why bother making a shuffle to begin with. That is more of a venture waste than to just create remote headphones, and update the firmware on the iPods to allow the control functions.

Yes, it sounds like I'm arguing with you, but I am a potential targeted customer of apple. If they are not appealing to me, then their 'marketing' is not effective. If their design is not appealing to me, then their 'marketing' is not effective either. All their decisions may make sense to you as a BusinessWeek author, but if the company fails to appeal to it's target customers, how then do you propose they make their money? Surely, you alone are not going to make Apple's wallet fatter.

Richard

March 12, 2009 04:06 AM

I couldn't believe it, I was online this morning at a blog from http://www.vstinternetsolutions.com and I had read about this new shuffle.

Its hard to believe it lacks almost all buttons, but it will talk to you. In terms of available Accessories for this new iPod, only time will tell. It might prove a bit discomforting with the standard 'hard' earphones that come stock with most iPods.

Either Way, I am extremely excited about this new design of the shuffle, and It will be arriving very soon!

matt

March 12, 2009 04:12 AM

@steve- btw, now look at the mac book air. it is a failing product and definitely NOT a venture that was cost effective. What started at around 1700USD is now selling for around 1300 as it should have originally been priced. And the Air was Apple's attempt at an all wireless focus. Hence the introduction to users of the remote CD capabilities.

Dennis

March 12, 2009 06:07 AM

besides all those smaller size, I think this promoted voice thing is just crap, sounds like in the old days. no evolution on that point

Anne

March 12, 2009 09:17 AM

The target customers for the shuffle are the 90% of current shuffle purchasers who wander around quite happily with the Apple earbuds and rarely do anything more complex than turn them on and press play and who won't be wandering onto websites to comment. A fact apparently overlooked by quite a lot of non-target customers.

Sean

March 12, 2009 02:35 PM

I still like the first gen. Shuffle. It had a usb plug built right in! So cool. In my opinion, the shuffle has just gone downhill since.

George

March 12, 2009 03:19 PM

OK, I love the comment by the guy who doesn't like iPods because they keep us in our own little virtual worlds. You know, the comment from the guy spending his time posting annonymously in an online forum with people he does not know. Hello Pot? Kettle calling...

JKimball

March 12, 2009 03:45 PM

You people are hilarious. No shuffle has ever had line out or a docking station port. This one doesn't either. The base headphones are garbage, garbage, garbage.....yet every day I see dozens if not hundreds of people merrily bopping along using them, clearly they are good enough for most people.

And 'complex'? Push to play. Push again to stop. Push twice to skip (just like the >> symbol implies...). how freakin hard is that?

This thing will sell like crazy, and the voiceover sounds pretty cool...

Marissa

March 12, 2009 05:19 PM

I'm just annoyed because Apple's earbuds fall out of my ears, so I'll be forced to pay the extra cash. Dang it. It's not my fault my ears are deformed!

Backseat Engineer

March 12, 2009 06:00 PM

Strengths: small design, cute appearance.

Weaknesses: controls on headphones.


Opportunities: Why not put a USB connector on the end instead of a headphone jack? That way you could dock it like a flash drive. You could put a USB cable instead of the current audio cable on the headphones and speakers. You could even make an adaptor that lets you plug into your car stereo.

Threats: cheap knockoffs are on the way.

gram

March 12, 2009 08:01 PM

"Buttons, ports, or anything else that would spoil the clean lines of the design is held to an absolute minimum."

This is not a gramatically correct sentence.

Podesta

March 12, 2009 08:38 PM

I don't think I have ever read such a set of weird comments and I haven't even finished them yet. Allow me to help. The key to appreciating the iPod shuffle is to own more than one iPod and/or iPhone. This shuffle should be a supplement for your nano, touch, iPod with video or iPhone. Case solved!

Richard

March 13, 2009 05:15 AM

I really think everything is awesome with this new device. The price, the design, the whole package. It is still very new but the accessories will be coming in short time. Yeah, a lot of people might be disappointed with the earphones, but for the size the device really can't be beat.

My new iPod shuffle is on its way. I cant wait.

Soundcorsair
http://www.vstinternetsolutions.com

Iain

March 13, 2009 11:10 AM

Has anybody thought of having the iPod Shuffle as a tie clip? I'm getting it as a tie clip for work. Either side, although the clip side looks good especially with it engraved. If I want to listen to some music I just need the headphones. It can also clip in my wallet so it doesn't accidently fall out. I have and Ipod classic for my music collection, but as a way of always having some music available I think its great!

The Pi

March 13, 2009 04:37 PM

I personally hate the included headphones. They aren't comfortable in my ears and one of the wires broke on me, rendering it useless. Therefore, if I want to get better headphones, I need to also get a splicer cable to handle the controls.

Now, the splicer wouldn't be too bad if they did something like that on a sansa or any other MP3 player, but the iPod accessories always are overpriced. For example, I bought a small cable that interfaced 3.5mm to the car AUX jack (standard type, not sure which one though). I found it for $3 and it had absolutely no markings on it that said it worked with iPod. I recently saw in a store a cable of the exact same design that was priced at $20 since it said "Made for iPod" and "Compatible with iPhone". Since the spicer cable will HAVE to be iPod specific, it'll probably cost somewhere around $50. Add that to the price of the nice headphones and you see the stupidity of this. My fairly good headphones are only $30. Why must I pay more for the controls than the headphones???

Scott

March 15, 2009 05:19 PM

I own and regularly use both the 1st and 2nd Generation Shuffles. I use them mainly for listening to podcasts while driving. I connect to my car stereo using an AUX-In port on my car stereo. I PREFER to use my Shuffle while driving because I can operate it safely without having to look at it. I've tried the Nano and the click wheel / screen is too distracting and cumbersome to safely use while driving. The quality of Apple Earbuds aside, moving the controls to the cord have, for me and my purposes, made the Gen 3 Shuffle a non-starter. In fact I'm heading out to buy another Gen 2 Shuffle while they're still available.

dangcucu

March 17, 2009 04:58 AM

i bought it & i love it. wife has a 2nd gen nano & i had a zune that i loved but traded for a cellphone my wife needed repalced. the screen isn't an issue for me & it's a perk for me since i like listening to music at bedtime. i also plug it to the xbox 360 & use it from there in the day & the car adapter works just fine though it plays from the last song you had & the main volume you had it set at. you could technically get a splicer for control in the car but for me i'll settle for play all random & car radio's volume. i love it. there's plenty tips & tricks for controls. for one; you press & hold until the mention the playlist... instead of waiting for the pacing of the machine you just press up or down & you speed up the process. again i was scared of the control being on the headset but it is on afterthought now. loving the new shuffle for music!!

Dabear

April 4, 2009 10:30 AM

same here. I'm loving my new shuffle too.

Alex

May 14, 2009 02:04 AM

I own an Ipod Touch 1st Gen, Nano 4th Gen, and a Shuffle 2nd Gen. And loved my touch until it broke. Shuffle is good for music and can still use my own headphones. Nano's nice as well. But the new ipod shuffle sucks when it comes to controls and headphones. Don't get me wrong its beautiful looking. But I like my $300 and $200 Beats headphones and $100 way better than apple headphones.

Cerdic Von Wessex

June 17, 2009 01:26 PM

A simple way to use your own headphones with the Apple shuffle 4 gb 3rd generation player is to use a splitter with the apple headphones on one side & your superior headphones on the other. Simple but effective.!

Billdo

June 24, 2009 12:45 PM

WOW Look at all the Graphic Designers out of work.Is this the new work place???

Nano Newbie

July 9, 2009 01:13 AM

Just got the new nano 4gb. Lame I can't use my own headphones. But this voice over function is great. The ipod itself is unbelievably small. Worth the $79 + tax.

iCrap

August 19, 2009 07:54 PM

The headphones are utter sh*t. I bought it and keep having problems with the controls on the headphones. It seems that if they get the slightest bit damp from sweat, they stop functioning. I returned them once and the new iPod did the same thing. I'm flabbergasted that Apple would allow such a design flaw when the overwhelming majority of people who buy iPods run with them. Do yourself a favor and don't buy this iPod.

Jessie

September 15, 2009 11:57 AM

I just got the new iPod as a gift and I hate it. I have a pair of headphones that actually stay in my ears...which I can't use. And they expect these earbuds to magically float in my ears while I'm running. Apple has obviously lost complete touch with it's customer base...people who exercise while listening to music. Also can I plug this into my stereo??? This seems more like a cheap jump drive.

JC

September 18, 2009 11:41 AM

Hi, can anyone tell me if the 1st gen. shuffle can fit into any ipod stereos/speakers? I've heard that it can and then someone said it can't. If it does, can someone recommend a good brand/model for me to purchase? I'm ipod illiterate and would appeciate the advice.

Jacob

October 5, 2009 12:06 AM

I just had to comment after reading some of these posts. First of all, I have never been a mac/apple fan. I ended up winning the 4GB iPod Shuffle in a raffle. It was great news since my previous Zen Vision M died a couple weeks earlier. Here is why this product blows incredibly hard:

1) Has anyone actually tried running with this thing? The head phones cord is just short enough to pull at your ears if its in your pocket, making it a necessity to look like a douche and clip it to your pants. Even then your conscientiously trying to keep your head level while running. Makes for a very interesting and awkward time.

2) Its not enough that the cord is 2 inches too short, but the controls are horrible. These controls are the worst thing since... well I don't own any other apple products so I am short on comparisons. I hate to keep using the word awkward, but it should have been named the iPod Awkward. Running and trying to perform the correct tapping sequence with the correct timing while not bobbing my head makes me want to drop it in the nearest sewer. The controls are extremely close to your face too, why is it up so high!? It may have been more reasonable to keep it before the cord splits into the separate headphoens.

3) I've had a terrific time with an audio-in jack in my car. I charged up my new iPod shuffle for a 3 hour car trip to find out in the first 30 seconds that I have no way of getting songs to play. O wait maybe I will try just plugging in the headphones and starting the song, then plugging it back into my car. Apple outwitted me and had the foresight to stop playback when headphones unplug. This isn't just an ordinary mp3 player, its an iPod.

4) I haven't gotten to use the prized VoiceOver because I am using windows 7 RC. I guess that isn't necessarily Apple's fault... but I just get a series of Playlist 1, Playlist 2, Playlist 3 announcements. Remembering playlists without a title is incredibly annoying.

5) The headphones... UGH! Who in their right mind actually thinks they are comfortable? It's not enough that they are getting lowered from the short cord, but it feels like I got punched in the ear after an hour of use.

Don't buy this product.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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