On a scale of 1 to 10, the new iPod shuffle is just stupid. (You could probably tell from the title what I want to rate it.)
Good lord. Where to begin. Let’s start with a disclaimer. I haven’t touched or seen the new shuffle in person. Deride me all you want, I don’t care. Apple has made several colossal, incredible mistakes with this device.
Anyone who’s read this blog before (only a rare few have come back more than once) knows that I care a great deal about Apple, and that I adore the aluminum shuffle. That review was one of my very first, and it took place almost exactly 2 years ago. I like that shuffle so much that I even got a second one and had it waterproofed. But this new one… sigh.
Let’s see. No buttons. Brilliant, let’s use an earphone-based switch. Except, wait a second, what if I want to use a different set of earphones? I can tell you for a certainty that some people (Sol) don’t like Apple’s earbuds – they just don’t fit. So now I’m locked into Apple’s proprietary earphones whether I like it or not. I will be unable to skip songs, pause and play, or change the volume without them. Epic Fail. And the controls are not very straightforward – Adrian Covert over at Gizmodo compares it to Morse Code. Haha.
Form factor. The new one is smaller. Small as a house key. Whoopee. I use my square shuffle when I run, and I clip it to the waistband on my shorts. It fits easily and doesn’t pinch or push against my skin. The new one is long and skinny instead of square. Maybe it occupies less cubic space overall, but it’s still longer than the square version, which means that it sticks further down the leg and is significantly more likely to pinch and press against the top of the leg while running. Wahhhh! I know, I’m a crybaby. Don’t care. I don’t see how making it rectangular and slightly smaller is an improvement. Doubling the flash memory while shrinking the device (and preserving battery function) is a technological feat, I will grant them that.
The point is, they’re messing up an excellent product. Even sight unseen, Apple just took a 7.5 and made it a 3. The earphone restriction is egregious. Moronic. Idiotic. It’s dumb. The judgement on the form factor is my opinion. Others may disagree, and that’s cool. They can write their own blog. But imho, there is no excuse for this stupidity.
Apple is a money-hungry American corporation that wants to insert themselves into our lives and control all our devices and hence have control over our actions and more importantly our buying habits. For this I applaud them. Seriously, I’m an American and a capitalist. I love Apple, even if I find some of their practices annoying (DRM anyone?) But when they start making bad (or worse yet, stupid) product decisions, that shakes my faith and my confidence in the world of consumer electronics.
As noted above, if I were force to rate this product (albeit without playing with it in person) on a scale from 1 to 10, it would get a 3. If it weren’t being compared to such a superior previous version, it might score better. But the earphone thing is pretty stupid. Gahhh.
This reiew is also published at 1TO10REVIEWS.