a quick review of the new ipod shuffle (updated)

I made it out to San Francisco for this year’s Macworld. As I was sitting in the keynote I was just so impressed with all that Steve introduced. When he went into his trademark “one more thing” speech, i was anticipating what it would be. He then went onto to talk about the ipod family, it’s succes, and it’s newest member, the ipod shuffle. I immediately caught the point of the ipod shuffle. It would be like a radio station but with no commercials and playing only a mix of the songs you like (because they all came from your library). When Steve mentioned that the San Francisco Apple Store (two blocks away) would have a few in stock, I quietly excused myself and rushed over to the store. I wanted to be sure to get one of these right away. I was the third one in line at the Apple store. I bought two of them, one for me and one for good measure. I like to think that I was the third person in the world to BUY one.


The ipod shuffle comes in a tidy little box. It is about the size of two cd cases stacked on top of each other. Inside, you have the regular software and documentation. There are just three pockets in the plastic. One for the necklace that will hook onto the bottom of the ipod, one pocket for the standard Apple earphones, and the last pocket is of course for the ipod shuffle. I didn’t take all kinds of pictures as I opened it. I didn’t exactly treat this like birthing a child (plus pictures are all over the web already) I wanted to write a quick note as to what it’s like using it.

If you want to know the size, put four quarters in a line on a table. It is about that length and about that weight. If you’ve ever had those 5-packs of gum, it is about that size and weight.

I like the regular ipods as much as anybody, but all the ipods that I have bought I eventually sold because they didn’t quite fit me. The ipod shuffle however is right on the mark. I plugged it into my powerbook and named it. Then it immediately starting filling with random songs. Songs I haven’t seen for a while (I have 23,000 songs on my computer) I was just so excited to plug it in and let it direct my listening. I popped it onto the necklace clipping and headed back to Macworld.

For anyone who says this isn’t enough because there is no screen and you can’t get thousands of songs on it, they are missing the point. You can’t compare this to the other ipods. It’s not even supposed to be the same thing. Compare this to other flash drives on the web and you’ll see how nice it is. The price is incredibly low. The music is plenty (i’ve been walking the exhibit hall for four hours and haven’t heard the same song twice.)

Another worry that I had was if the cap would stay on or not. I’ve had a flash memory chip for a while and lost the cap almost immediately after buying it. But these caps on the ipod shuffle are not just regular slide on ones. There are little balls on the inside of the cap. When you put the cap on, it locks into place pretty good. Of course you can pull it off (that is what it is designed to do) but at the same time it stands on the good. On another note, if you ever get it caught on something, it’s nice to have two points of contact. The necklace is connected to it on one end, and the earphones are on the other end, so one may pop off but the other will keep it hanging.

If anyone has any questions about actually using it, please feel free to contact me. blog(at)brianstucki.com.

update: One more thing that I wanted to mention. When you plug in the shuffle it gives you an option to Autofill (as mentioned above). You can also decide where you want your music to come from. You can choose to take from different playlists, or songs that are highly rated, etc. However, my opinion is, don’t cheat yourself by limiting the autofill. The randomness is what is so fun about the shuffle. Sure you will get some songs on there that you don’t really like or aren’t in the mood for at the moment. (i.e., I was taking a run the other day and I was listening ot my ipod shuffle. There was a Ma$e song that came on that really got me moving, but then a Willie Nelson song followed it. I like Willie Nelson, but it’s hard to jog to “Red Headed Stranger”) But the shuffle holds enough songs that if one or two aren’t really right for the mood, there are still PLENTY left to navigate thru. Limiting the “Autofill” to just music that you always listens to cripples the experience. But that’s just my humble opinion.

Thanks for Reading.