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Summary:

I wasn’t a huge fan of the third-generation iPod shuffle. The lack of proper controls was just not my thing. Today, with the release of the fourth-generation shuffle, Apple seems to have seen the light and gone back on itself (something it doesn’t do often).

ipod_shuffle

I wasn’t a huge fan of the third-generation iPod shuffle. The lack of proper controls was just not my thing. Today, with the release of the fourth-generation shuffle, Apple seems to have seen the light and gone back on itself (something it doesn’t do often).

The new shuffle brings back the buttons found on the second-generation model, but the body is squared-off rather than rectangular, so it’s smaller. How much smaller? The new one is 1.14″ high, 1.24″ wide, and .34″ deep. Compare that to the size of the second-generation, which was 1.07 x 1.62 x 0.41 inches, and it turns out to be about 15 percent smaller.

The new shuffle comes in five colors: gray, blue, pink, green, and gold. Battery life is bumped up to 15 hours from 10 for the previous model. The price is $50 and there’s only a 2GB model available, which is a bummer.

You could speculate on why Apple didn’t just replace the shuffle with the new iPod Nano, since they both have similar form factors, and I think the reason is that the shuffle is perceived as the iPod you take to the gym, and Apple isn’t sure how people will react to using a touchscreen when they’re working out.

Did you prefer the buttonless third-generation shuffle? Should Apple just replace the shuffle with the new nano? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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  1. I do prefer the buttonless third-generation shuffle. It was so ridiculously simple, and it fit on anything I could be wearing. I also liked the discreet styling of the black and silver finishes because it made the shuffle more like carrying a pen in your pocket.

    To be honest, I’m a little disappointed they went back to the click wheel. It makes it look so stereotypically like an MP3 player while the third generation was a sleek piece of design. Too bad.

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  2. I have one of the buttonless ones and I don’t care for it. I almost got the older one instead of it but I wanted the larger capacity 4 gig model (and I have had issues fitting what I want on it). I would never recommend the third gen to anyone who wasn’t technically savvy (my mother for instance). Even I had issues with the whole click versus click and hold versus double click etc. The user interface was terrible and the new/older design is way better from that perspective.

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  3. I never owned the third generation, I own a second gen now. It is serving me well and I do use it mainly during workouts. So I agree with your estimation that Apple probably understands that and knows that a touch interface for such situation isn’t ideal. Being able to feel and touch a physical button is more suitable when used during physical activities. So kudos to Apple for realizing this.

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  4. New Ipod Touch: I really cant work out why they didn’t style it to tie in with the iPhone 4

    New Shuffle: Looks nothing more than a backwards step to me as well, I also loved the previous styling.

    New Nano: Probably my favourite out of the three, but it’s certainly not conventional looking. It reminds me of a miniature digital photoframe, or an old school digital watch.

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  5. Apple owning up to a mistake. That really is breaking! This is a definite step forward from the last one though.
    I plan to go prepaid and pack my ipod with a free iPod video converter for Aneesoft.

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  6. I actually loved the Gen 2 shuffle for working out, and like the buttons because I could reach down and change while in stride on the road. I acutally ran mine through the washing machine about 6 months ago, and was devastated to find that the new Gen3 had no controls on it, and I wouldn’t be able to use my sony running headset on this new model because it wouldn’t have any controls on it. I opted to purchase a Gen 2 shuffle that was only available on ebay, for about $60 bucks for the 1GB model…that was the cheapest I could find it at the time. What a bummer to find out 4 months later that Apple brought this back…

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