The new iPod Shuffle is STUPID

This is Apple’s newest iPod Shuffle:

ipod_4g_shuffleIt certainly looks sexy, and the fact that it comes with 4GB of storage is pretty cool too. But wait… where’s the “click wheel” that older iPod Shuffles come with?

I’ll tell you – it doesn’t exist any more. Apple has moved the Shuffle’s controls to a tiny controller embedded in the headphone cord. So you can no longer use a Shuffle with some other brand of headphones, nor can you hook it up to your computer speakers for a party, nor can you hook it up to a cassette adapter to listen in your car. You can only listen to it using Apple’s headphones, period.

To make matters worse, Apple is now proudly announcing that the new Shuffle is “the only mp3 player that talks to you”. It comes with a feature called VoiceOver that can say aloud the name of the song and the artist – just hold down the controller on the headphone cord, and it’ll give you the info. Putting aside the fact that this isn’t the first mp3 player that can do that, it’s just a stupid feature that no one asked for. Plus, the actual voices the Shuffle uses… well, they sound like “robot voices” from a bad 80s German electropop band. If you want your mp3 player’s voice to sound like something off of a Kraftwerk album, Apple has you covered. If you’re looking for one of those voices that’s almost indistinguishable from a human voice… oh, how disappointed you’ll be! I also can’t wait to hear how it deals with non-English artists! I can hear it how: “El Chai-ah-yow-choe by Tie-toe Puh-en-Tee-tee”

You can also use VoiceOver to switch playlists, a first for the Shuffle. Multiple playlists for the Shuffle is pretty cool, and a feature that’s been lacking for some time. But again, using VoiceOver to do this is the wrong execution of the right idea.

I dunno. Maybe if I played with one of the new Shuffles I’d like it. But as it stands now, it looks like the next generation of iPod Shuffles are going to be a giant bucket of fail! I guess when my Shuffle dies, I’ll either pray that old versions are still being sold… or just get a Sansa Clip.

Read more about it at Engadget here (be sure to watch the video and also check out the thrashing it gets in the reader comments!)

One Reply to “The new iPod Shuffle is STUPID”

  1. UPDATE: Apple is apparently planning to sell a sort of “pass-through” adapter that plugs into the headphone jack and allows you to connect the new Shuffle to ANY source.

    My problem with THAT is that, if Apple’s past prices are any clue, the adapter will cost between $25 and $30. So if you’re already going to pay $110 ($79.99 for the Shuffle and $30.00 for the adapter), you might as well spend the extra $30 – $40 and buy a Nano instead. You’ll get twice the capacity, a nice LCD, the ability to watch videos and play games, *and* use regular headphones out of the box!

    As someone on Engadget said, it’s as if “suddenly over-simplification reached critical mass and becomes a huge pain in the ass”. Or, as someone else said maybe “Steve Jobs’ grandma [was] murdered by buttons or something”.

    Oh well… it still beats the Mactini:

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