The New iPod Shuffle: Digg Does Not Approve

ipod-shuffle-apple-store-usApple 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.


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