iPod shuffle

may 2, 2005

On Friday I picked up a 1GB iPod shuffle for my wife (and I got myself a 512MB iPod shuffle). The things are nice! I had my doubts about the shuffles, but they work pretty well except for two things: The cryptic two blinky LED lights and the fact that there is no internal clock. The lack of an internal clock means that in iTunes, there aren't any "Last Played" updates for songs when they are played on the shuffle. The Play Count (fortunately) is still updated though. I have a 256MB iRiver IFP-390T that sounds great and has more features than the shuffle (FM radio, voice recorder and LCD screen), but I have it up on eBay now (auction here) because it does not support iTunes. By integrating everything into iTunes (including the store), Apple has done a great job of locking us all into their hardware. That is the genius the whole iTunes/iPod phenomenon, everything is reliant on each other and there is no escape. If the software or hardware sucked, people would be complaining. But, it is Apple's good fortunes that they know how to make cool hardware and easy to use software. So, with the old iRiver I could not play the music I bought from the iTunes Music Store without burning to CD and then ripping to MP3 format. That is not only a hassle, but also causes loss of sound quality (burning from low bitrate files only to be ripped into another lossy format). So, with the simplicity of managing my iPod shuffle from iTunes to being able to conveniently play my iTunes Music Store music, I had to get a shuffle! There are two nice features in iTunes for the iPod shuffle. First is the Autofill which will fill up the iPod shuffle with music from your library or a specific playlist randomly. Very handy feature for making like random. The other feature is being able to leave the iPod shuffle in the list after it has been ejected. That makes it easy for me to manipulate the songs on the iPod shuffle without having it connected to my machine all the time. The sound from the iPod shuffle is good, just like all iPods. People will probably still complain that there is not enough bass in the iPod sound though. I have gotten used to the sound of the iPod, which isn't too bright nor too bassy. The controls are easy to use. There's really not much to the iPod shuffle. I did get the sport case from Apple for the shuffle, in order to protect it. The case is nice since it is water resistant and virtually unbreakable -- and I can operate the controls of the iPod without having to take it out of the case. The only drawback is that I have to open the case to turn the iPod shuffle on and off. Otherwise, I take back my doubts about the iPod shuffle. Yes, it could have a lot more features (like FM radio and LCD), but that would just make it more complicated. For what it is, the iPod shuffle is an easy to use piece of hardware that is very convenient to take where ever I go. Will I use it more than my 4G iPod 40GB? I don't know, it'll depend. But for lots of situations, it will be more convenient to grab the shuffle instead of the 40GB!

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