so apple annouced the new ipod shuffle yesterday and for the first time in quite awhile with respect to the ipod line it think it’s a bit of a misstep. as you can see from the picture above it is a minimalists dream as it is simply a tiny chunk of aluminium with a set of headphones devoid of any personality. therein lies the first problem.
the ipod shuffle is supposed to usher people into the ipod family. it’s starting point from which to further explore apple’s portable music offerings. while this whole ‘voiceover’ feature might be interesting, it does not see particularly useful. it almost seems like this whole thing is a pre-emptive april fools joke. like instead of the simplicity of the old 5 button controls, you now have to tap out different commands onto the headphone cord 3 button controller. it also only comes in black or grey – very 1984 – and obviously lacking the personality of the candy-coloured assortment of the previous model. furthermore the starting price is now $99cdn for 4gb. the old starting price was like 50 bucks for 1gb. seriously, whose idea was this?
the second major issue i have with the new ipod shuffle is that in removing the 5 button controls that resembled the click wheel, the front of this ipod no longer has any marks to signify that it is, in fact, an ipod. while i get that the click-wheel shape of the controls was merely reflective of the larger ipods this surely was entirely the point: you could have a quick glance and see immediately that it was an ipod. i can imagine a product like the new ipod shuffle being produced by someone like bang and olufsen but the ipod is a mass market product, not a niche player.
finally, my biggest gripe with this latest ipod is the integration of all controls into the headphones. so now any time your headphones break – quite frequently for me – you have to re-purchase the apple headphones, which in my experience are overpriced for the sound quality and durability they provide. like seriously, this is an entry level product for which replacement headphones cost a minimum of $29. WTF?!?!
two things i forgot to point out in my apple rage are that:
1. the new shuffle is, somewhat obviously, small to the point of ridiculousness; and
2. the whole proprietary headphones thing would totally put me off a brand if this was my first foray into their products. i HATE when companies force you to fork out a bunch of extra money for required accessories and it really puts me of buying products from them in the future. WELL DONE APPLE considering this is your entry level product.