BBC NEWS | Technology | Apple unveils cut-price iPod nano and MY ode to the shuffle

BBC NEWS | Technology | Apple unveils cut-price iPod nano

Well…In keeping with tradition, commenting all the new product launches made by Apple, rather than spending my time speculating (too much) about the mysterious ways in which the infinite loop moves…Apple has, as expected, just announced a 1GIG iPod nano, and that they’re lowering the price of the iPod shuffle.

The biggest news is that the shuffle hasn’t been sent to the scrapheap – wow an Apple iPod product without any updates for more than a year, except a price cut – a first?

I’m happy that the little fellow is still with us. The shuffle really offers a completely different approach to portable digital music, I’d go as far as to call it a philosophy, than any other player on the market (besides the ill fated Motorola ROKR phone).

My first iPod was a shuffle, and I was really sold on the concept. After having struggled copying files manually to my traditional USB based player, an iRiver, I found myself trying to copy files in the same manner to the iPod shuffle, and wondering WHY no music was playing.

No the shuffle takes a completely different approach…You just plug-in the shuffle, select Auto-fill in iTunes, and shortly after you have a nice, random, selection songs from your iTunes music library. The selection is random, but you can tweak it a little, so that iTunes will favour your favourite tracks. Another way to tweak the way the shuffle selects songs is, of course, to have iTunes select from handpicked playlists instead of the entire music library – something I never do, since I LIKE surprises.

My shuffle is mostly gathering dust, after I got my nano, but sometimes I just want to be surprised, and have iTunes “shuffle me a stick”, so that I can hit the road, ready to experience my own music collection. There are some rare gems that I haven’t really listened to for years. The shuffle is similar to having a personal radio station, that only plays music you own, and, presumably, like, but quite often haven’t listened to for a long time.

I was so used to the Auto-Fill feature of the shuffle, that I was chasing for it when I got my nano, only to realise that Auto-fill is a “shuffle exclusive”.

The shuffle will, of course, be retired or replaced, but I hope that Apple will remain true to the concept. What would I like to see in a 2nd gen shuffle?

  • Slimmer, so that it will fit into a PowerBook 12″ USB Port when the second port is occupied.
  • Higher capacity
  • Bluetooth or IR support so that you can share music with immediate neighbours – here’s a challenge to make it EASY to use and low in power consumption. Anybody out there remember the 90’ies nerd craze “PalmPilot contact beaming” (it was actually so mainstream that it was featured in a Palm TV-ad)? This is the kind I feature I’d love to see in a 2nd gen shuffle.

But please Apple…No extra buttons and no screen, it’ll spoil the surprise.

iPod shuffle – Life is random. I shuffle therefore I am. Long live the shuffle.

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