The iPod Shuffle is Lame


A couple of weeks ago Apple released the iPod Shuffle at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Steve Jobs made the annoucement during his keynote and at the end he casually mentioned that they were available in the Apple store down the street. Following the keynote, thousands of Apple fanatics made a bull run down to the store to be the “first” to own the new iPod Shuffle.

Enter me standing on my soap box.

I’m going to make a statement now. A statement which I’m sure plenty of people will disagree with. I’ll probably get lots of hate mail, death threats, and a couple of envelopes of anthrax sent to my doorstep…but, after all, what else would you expect from Apple fanatics?

The iPod Shuffle is lame.

There. I said it. Yes, and I meant it too. I think it’s a horribly pathetic attempt on Apple’s part…I don’t even know what they are attempting…but it’s pathetic. Now…I’ll state why I’m right.

Flash Drive
It’s a $99 flash drive people. That’s all. Sure it’ll play music…but so what. You can get a 512mb flash drive for half of that. Heck, you can even get a 1GB flash drive for under $100 while the 1GB Shuffle is $150. So, that reason alone shows how overpriced the Shuffle is.

240? How about 120
Apple uses 2 selling points to market Shuffle. One, “240 songs. A million different ways.” Two, they quickly follow that tag by mentioning something about it only being $99. Sure…that’s just marketing. But it’s also just missleading. That 99 bucks won’t get you 240 songs…it’ll only get you 120. Lame.

Rip Off
The Shuffle is a rip off. Plain and simple. You don’t get any bang for your buck. You don’t even get so much as a wimper for your buck. Lets put this into perspective here. With the chepeast Shuffle you get 120 songs for $99. For a 20GB iPod you get 5,000 songs. That’s precisely 41.6666666667 times more songs than the Shuffle will hold yet it only costs 3 times as much. What does this mean? It means wait a bit longer and save up your lunch money and get WAY more space.

In Closing
I will give the Shuffle some credit. It’d probably be nice for somebody who only uses it to go jogging a couple of miles or for a bike trip to work. But, my guess is that of the hundreds of thousands of people who have bought the thing already…not even half go jogging on a regular basis. My guess is that 90%+ just bought one to have one. Just to say “I have an iPod Shuffle.” Just because. Sure a “real” iPod is a bit expensive, but when you compare it to what you’re getting with that $99 piece of plastic, you’re getting ripped off bad by the Shuffle. It’s the “$19.99” principle. You see something made by Apple costs “under $100” and you jump at it and think you’re getting an awesome deal. No. You’re getting screwed.



It is a stupid, lame, device. No display?! I wonder what the Apple worshipers would say about it if it was any other brand?

Brandon Sergent

The shuffle *is* over priced.

I have yet to touch one but it is my understanding that you need special software into order to get the songs on the thing. If not, ignore that bit as it isnt my main point.

In any case you can get a 1gb mp3 player off ebay for 40$, that is also a DVR, Radio, and flashdrive. Sure the package came with japanese on it, but the menu is in english. (had it for about 6 months now, flawless performance)

Down with artifically inflated prices, I’m Sick and Tired of something that costs 10$ to manufacture, ship, and deliver (thanx to $0.30 an hour mexican sweat shops) being priced at 100$+ just because thats how much you can squeeze out of rich idiots.

Take a lesson from walmart, drop the prices and watch profits soar.

Silly me wanting ethics in buisness.


Part of the adventure in life is WANTING something/one special. Besides self-gratification, it makes people feel good. I am no different. I recently paid $499 (my currency exchange rate is $3.80 to US$1) to buy my 11 y. o. son a Shuffle and the smile on his face just says it all. Life isn’t about money. It’s about giving and enjoying. The opposite to wanting is suffering. So keeping smiling…


I don’t remember that argument about the original iPod but I certainly do about the mini. People just couldn’t avoiud comparing it to the 15 gig iPod and the other pretenders despite that they were very different devices.


The funny thing is that this is awfully similar to the arguments people made about the original iPod. It’s a hard drive that plays music! It won’t hold enough music! It costs too much for what it is!

And boy did they ever get that one wrong.


If you’re argument is only that it’s a rip-off then you are still wrong. First, it’s cheaper than its direct competitors. Second, it’s by far the cheapest player integrated with iTunes. By far. To repeat, by far. Third, it’s very usable both as a primary device and a secondary device. Fourth, who needs all your music on a portable device? It’s pretty common usage to be listening to 10-20 albums at any given time. Or to listen to a random set of 100-200 of your library’s tracks.

John Moltz

Josh, you keep trying to make the point that for more money the standard iPod is a better deal. I don’t necessarily agree that that’s true, but even if it is, what if I don’t *have* $300 to drop on a digital music player? What if I want a smaller form factor?

From time to time I’ve had a Costco membership, but I always let it lapse because I just can’t eat a 120 lb package of ground chuck before it goes bad. See, not everyone needs the jumbo size.

You’ve stated the iPod shuffle is simply a flash drive. If that’s true, then the other iPods are just hard drives. They’re just overpriced hard drives. So what if they play music, right?

A quick perusal of Amazon seems to indicate that the price of the iPod shuffle is highly competitive. Perhaps you could point us to the brand Z flash MP3 players that are priced so much better.

I usually really enjoy this blog, but I found this post so poorly defended that I’m left to wonder if Tim Swan isn’t right. And that would be really disappointing.

Tim swan

Josh, Overpriced compared to what? Certainly not when compared to other flash MP3 players. Your argument that this is just a flash storage device and should be priced like one is ludicrous. Again, this is so whacked that it just seems like a cry for attention.

Josh Pigford

My argument has, and will continue to be, that for the price the Shuffle is a rip-off. It’s not useless. It’s just overpriced.


At the Keynote, Jobs said that the iPod Shuffle was designed specifically to go after the market share of the flash-based MP3 players like Rio and Creative. It dropped the entry price for the iPod for those who wanted one and wanted the iPod experience. For myself, as soon as I saw it at the Keynote, I thought “It’s a flash drive that also plays music.” This, to me, is an asset rather than a problem. It adds value to the product.

The reason why I think that is because of the Airport Express. The Airport Express is a limited Airport Extreme that also streams music, or “An Airport that also plays music.” Because the limits enabled Apple to bring the price down, it opened it up to more buyers and the music streaming made it appear both different and cool. For myself, I hadn’t wanted to buy the Airport Extreme to replace my home Snow Airport because I didn’t see a compelling reason to upgrade that was worth my spending an additional $179. The Airport Express changed my mind because it was more inexpensive, gave me the features I wanted and also gave me the ability to stream music from a machine I could set up as an MP3 jukebox. As a result, I bought an Airport Express and sold the Snow to help pay for it. Does the Airport Express offer support for up to 50 users and have a port so I could plug in an external antenna? No, but did I need those features for my home setup? No.

Does this mean that you should be happy with the iPod Shuffle if it doesn’t have all the iPod features you want, like larger disk size and a display? No. In that case, you want an iPod or an iPod Mini. They’re more expensive, but that’s the price you pay for the features you want. All that being said, I’m not buying an iPod shuffle for myself. I have an iPod and a 512 meg flash drive already. Next Christmas, though, I may buy one as a gift for a friend.

Josh Pigford

Twist, you mentioned that you can’t really afford to pay $299 for just an MP3 player. You are aware that the iPod can act like an external storage device and that you are able to put regular files on it aren’t you?

And Jonesy, thank you for supporting my right. I respect other people’s opinions and more power to you for having a need for the Shuffle.

Tim swan

This is just good old fashioned flame bait. Some people just want attention.


This Article is Lame.
There. I said it. Yes, and I meant it too. … I don’t even know what the author is attempting (maybe attracting ad views)…but it’s pathetic.


Support your right to say that. But I want one. $99 for a player that I will fill with “work out” tunes and allow to be shuffled as I pound the treadmill. I’m a happy bunny. Thanks Apple.


I would really like to have an iPod shuffle. It would replace two devices that I carry around with me on a nearly daily basis. The first one being my flash drive and the second being my mp3 CD Walkman. I paid $90 for my flash drive about four months ago because I wanted a big one (512 megs) and a durable one (SanDisk Cruzier Titanium). I paid $110 for my Sony mp3 walkman about a year ago.

Yes I would rather have a full sized iPod but I can’t really spare that much money all at one time. I am a college student and I am pursuing a degree in photography which is an expensive field to get into so I can’t justify spending $299 on something I will only use as a music player. I had to save for a whole year to get a low-end iBook.

Also how much music you can fit on the shuffle is really going to vary. I know from using mp3 CD’s. I have some that have fewer than 100 songs yet use up the full 700 megs and I have other that have nearly 200 songs stored in that same 700 megs. I even rip my CD’s at 256k true stereo non-VBR.

So I get the iPod shuffle, I like the iPod shuffle, I could justify an iPod shuffle, and hopefully I will have enough grant or work study money left over this semester to actually afford one.

Kevin Ballard

Obviously you just don’t get it. And instead of realizing that, since the iPod shuffle is selling like hotcakes, obviously a lot of people *do* get it and think that it’s great, that instead everybody who bought one was just dazzled by the iPod brand.

Grow up. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it false.


No threats or death threats. Just a question. Have you even touched one?

I’ve read plenty of review from non-commercial-types and non-Mac users who genuinely like the device. In fact, I’ve seen people who were as vocally negative as yourself recant after getting to use a shuffle.

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