Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The New iPod Shuffle: WTF is Apple thinking?!

Apple unveiled the new iPod shuffle today, taking a great product and turning it into an epic fail.

Aside from an awful design compared to the previous generation, the biggest problem consumers will eventually face is the fact that there are no playback controls on the device. You need to have the device connected to a compatible set of headphones, which means if you plug it into an external set of speakers at home, nothing's going to happen. It also means if the headphones break, you'll need to buy a set of Apple headphones, or compatible third party headphones.

Right now, Apple's only available headphones cost $79 - the same price as a new iPod shuffle (on a side note, that $49 price point they had going was much more attractive for an entry level device). Third party headphones for iPhone (which has a similar playback feature) start at around $30. If you're like me, you've gone through a few sets of headphones during your MP3 player's lifespan. Now imagine the only headphones that worked for a device would cost you 50% or more of the price of that device. Sound investment? Not so much. Apple's attempting to make low end media players like printers, where instead of buying more ink, people will wind up just buying a new printer.

I have a feeling this is going to end up like the 3rd generation Nano (which I actually didn't mind), and have a very short shelf life.

UPDATE: The one feature I do like is the voice over feature, which uses a (creepy) computer voice to tell you which song, artist and album you are listening to. I'd love to see this incorporated into the iPhone. Often times, I come across a song on my commute to work with my phone in my pocket. I recognize the song, but can't seem to remember the artist. Instead of pulling out the phone, untangling the headphones, and taking it out of its case, I'd love to be able to push a button and just have the artist name spoken to me.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're crazy, it's sleek, it's cool looking, you don't NEED apple headphones to use it (just to activate the voice feature) the shuttle has in my opinion always been a worthless piece of shit, but I like the cut of this ones jib.