Blog Post

The New iPod Shuffle: Digg Does Not Approve

ipod-shuffle-apple-store-usApple (s aapl) released the 3G iPod shuffle today. That’s “3G” as in third generation, not 3G as in the communications protocol used by the iPhone 3G. See? It’s as clear as the dirt on the floor. But I digress…

Naturally, Digg Nation has weighed in on Apple’s latest move. Since we all know every tech reader on Digg is a would-be genius — and as a group they clearly have their pulse on the market. Their approval and support of the new device is critical to the success of— oh, forget it. Who am I kidding?

Truth is, it’s more like comic relief to read Digg comments, especially about all things Apple.

As usual, Apple adds features, which lead to changes, which lead to readjustments, which lead to cries of derision.

Controls on the headphones

This one gets the most attention but, really, Apple has moved in this direction for a while now; where have these people been? The latest gen iPods utilize special headphones for the mic feature, and the iPhone has always had headphone controls.

Do people always physically pull out the device to control volume, skip, etc? Really? Controlling via the headphones is so obvious and useful you really ought to give it a try.

As for cries that I must use Apple’s headphones, no. In case you haven’t noticed, third party vendors have come out with their own versions. Apple moving to this at the base iPod level will explode the third-party market. That’s a Good Thing™.


I’ve seen some say it’s “too small.” I’m not even sure what that’s supposed to mean.

I suppose it’s possible that such a device could really get too small (i.e., if I drop it in the carpet I could lose the thing), but it ain’t there yet. For a wearable device, the smaller and lighter the better.

What they added

As usual, many people complain about what’s not there and blithely ignore what’s been added, which is more than just the headphone controls.

Previously, there was no way to know what song was playing. Now, with VoiceOver, there is. Is that not worth something? It is to me.

More importantly, in earlier generations there was no way to have playlists. Limited to 2GB memory, one might have argued this wasn’t a huge drawback. But the new shuffle is 4GB, and I think some method of using playlists is necessary. So they added it. Simply and elegantly.

Sure, if you had two dozen playlists, the voice interface would be time consuming, but I think Apple feels most people with a shuffle will have perhaps a half-dozen or so, so the voice interface makes perfect sense.

As for me…

I liked my 2G shuffle, but gave it to my daughter so she can listen to tunes at the bus stop for school.

I used it for bike riding, and was better off with the iPhone and headphone controls then fumbling with the physical unit, though the iPhone bulk was an issue in and of itself. So for me, the addition of headphone controls is huge. Now I get that great feature along with the tiny size. Perfect.

I’ve already put my money where my text is. I ordered a black one.

19 Responses to “The New iPod Shuffle: Digg Does Not Approve”

  1. krzyglue

    “As for cries that I must use Apple’s headphones, no. In case you haven’t noticed, third party vendors have come out with their own versions”

    That is absolutely NOT the point. I currently have an iPod nano with a very nice set of in-ear headphones (face it, the included ones are less than stellar, and for me I find they fall out too much), so if I buy this shuffle, I will have to purchase ANOTHER set of headphones for it (they weren’t cheap either)? Buying ANY other mp3 player would simply allow me to swap headphones.

  2. TheFace

    This raised some good points, and did a good job of defending what is in my opinion not a good device. my main objection is the clumsy navigation. i cannot imagine the pain if you had to go back 20 songs. hit the button 60 times, right? but how do you know if you are saying back 20 or forward 30 songs? small size and voiceover is cool, but not at the cost of not being able to navigate your music.

    There are a lot of good points against the new ipod shuffle, but they are being eclipsed by stupid people ranting incoherently against it. perhaps if we stated our objections to it civilly, Apple might take a hint for their next line of shuffles.

  3. I am in love with the 3g shuffle. But at first the earphones didnt fit in my ears. I heard aboutbudfits from a friend, and tryed them out and they were amazing! A cheap $9 fix! Thanks budfits!

    So for someone with my problem, google budfits!

  4. WhiteyMcBrown

    After a little of my own complaining today (I’m pretty quick to judge my favourite company sometimes), I think this is a pretty good deal. I have an iPhone that I take the the gym. Luckily I’m just on the elliptical machine, most of the time. I might just go ahead and pick one of these guys up…. or a nano… oh, I just don’t know. Anyways… great looking device and way to keep your head straight. I always like the stories here. Great site!

    And yeah… Digg is pretty rough. I visit it and I often comment, but it really is a frustrating place to be. I wish someone could be a fan again, without being called a fan-boy… SO annoying.

  5. Trinity

    I agree with this post. After all of the negatives I’ve seen, it was refreshing to see a positive and a well worded one at that (there have been well worded negatives, but yes…)

  6. Andrew Choi

    are you kidding me? the new ‘3g’ shuffle is a joke.

    i agree that having controls on the remote is super convenient on the iphone. 1-click pause, 2-click next track. 3-click last track.

    with the addition of volume up and down, yeah it’d be perfect.

    but WHY remove the on-device controls? it makes no sense. they should be redundant. while it’s not too bad to go back and forth a little once in a while, pressing a triple-click over and over gets silly.

    i see why they needed to do this though, it’s b/c the capacity was 4gb, thereby capacity is raised to 1000 songs, and so they needed to support playlists. and they’ve tried to come up w/ a sensible solution to supporting playlists w/o a screen. but it’s very difficult to do w/ only 3 buttons.

  7. Actually, you know, I wish I could have those controls for my Nano.

    Because, you know where I use my Nano the most? The gym. And I’m there for 2-3 hours 4-5 times a week. Sure I use it on the el (subway) and other random times, but my most major concern was the gym when I traded up from my old faithful iPod Mini.

    And while when I am on the stationary-bike I can watch video-podcasts (I’m a politics junkie), when I move to the treadmill and weight-machines I switch to clipping it to my shorts or pants with the clip I have and move on to the audio-podcasts. The trouble is, of course, is that each time one podcast ends I have to unclip the Nano and use the wheel to move myself to the next one. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. And Repeat. And Repeat.

    Being able to have the controls on my earbuds would honestly be brilliant, where I could just push one button to move myself on to the next podcast without having to mess around with unclipping the Nano, undoing the hold, moving to the next podcast, redoing the hold, and reclipping the Nano.

    And I suspect for the majority of the new Shuffle users, the gym, and the same use, will apply. I think it’s a really intelligent move by Apple.