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Apple announced the iPod Shuffle this week and a lot of buzz was generated by the new flash memory member of the iPod family.  At $100 – $150 Apple was able to keep the size and cost down by excluding a display and instead going with […]

Ipod_shuffleApple announced the iPod Shuffle this week and a lot of buzz was generated by the new flash memory member of the iPod family.  At $100 – $150 Apple was able to keep the size and cost down by excluding a display and instead going with a simple blind control mechanism that only allows the user to go forward and backward from one song to the next.  The first thought that hit me about this control scheme was how this makes the iPod Shuffle useless for listening to Podcasts and it seems I am not the only one.

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By James Kendrick

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  1. So JK, do you like this idea for the iPod shuffle?

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  2. Hey Brad, that’s a good question and to tell you the truth one I really hadn’t thought much about until you asked it. The Shuffle is really just a key chain flash drive that plays audio through a headphone jack. The excitement it is causing is only because it is an Apple and it is cheap. I was in Walmart this week and took a stroll down the MP3 player aisle and two things took me by surprise: 1) there are so many audio players it is a very crowded field and 2) they are much cheaper than they were the last time I looked which was about a year ago. Many of the players I looked at are as cheap as the Shuffle and have the same amount of memory as the Shuffle so the only innovations the Apple has is the pretty design which is the Apple trademark and also how it works with iTunes. More importantly, the thing all of the other players had that the Apple is missing is a screen. I think the lack of a screen will drive Shuffle owners up a wall after just a short while.

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  3. It seems to me that Jobs & Apple see flash-based mp3 players as entry level devices. If you want to just dip your toe in and take some music, a Shuffle doesn’t cost much. If you want more features, step up to an iPod. They are also well aware of the power of the iPod brand, and frankly they would be stupid to not capitalize on it. I am sure that is how Steve was convinced to even do one. I really think he trully believes the comments he made last year about flash-based players, but I am sure there was a lot of pressure from the shareholders to come out with one. So, I am sure he directed his engineers that if he has to do a flash player to make something different. Like it or not, the Shuffle is different by not having a display.

    I heard a few comments that the Shuffle is really an accessory to the iPod, and that a lot of people who already own an ipod will probably buy a Shuffle. I think there is some merit to that, in fact I may do it myself, simply because I know that I can load up the Shuffle from the same music library from which I load up my iPod.

    It will be interesting to see how many current iPod owners buy a Shuffle, just as it will be interesting to see how many people buy a Mac Mini with an iPod.

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  4. Frank, your comments are spot on. I think a lot of iPod (or Mac) enthusiasts will buy these just to have an Apple keychain flash drive. Being able to play iTunes music is a free bonus if you look at it that way.

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  5. As I wrote on my blog (http://www.gadgetguy.de/index.php/2005/01#iPod_shuffle__no_good_for_podcasting), a major problem with the shuffle for podcasting – besides not being able to see what you’re listening to – is iTunes: there’s no way to properly tag files and to have it shuffle either only podcasts or only music – and that sucks. iTunes needs a major overhaul, IMHO. Hierarchical playlists would be something else I’d need to make it suit my habits.

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  6. ive podcasted with my shuffle… i didnt have a problem not being able to see what i was listening too because the podcasts i listen to states the shows name and show number/date/subject so not podcasting probs here… the shuffle’s great!!!

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  7. I think a lot of these comments are from people without a shuffle. Adam Curry’s comments about the shuffle when they first came out were “off the cuff”. It was “what he thought about it and people took them literal”.

    I have one and can always seem to find what Podcast I want, I can fast forward or rewind. People assume they “know how it works” by looking at it, but reading the directions let you use it’s full capabilities. I use my shuffle almost exclusively for podcast and it works great!

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  8. I use my shuffle in the car for a 2hr drive and its excellent for podcasts. I dont need a screen as I set the playlist and am driving anyway.

    I love the shuffle for podcast listening. I think its better than any other device to listen to podcasts, especially for my drive.

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  9. I can’t listen to my podcasts in chronological order (oldest first) with the shuffle. I sort them that way in iTunes, but then when they play it is always newest episode first. Very annoying.

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