Yesterday, Apple Computer unveiled the new iPod Shuffle. The $100 US MP3 player holds up to 240 songs and uses Apple's proprietary iTunes software. It looks cool, too. It has more to do with those ubiquitous USB flash MP3 players Best Buy is always hawking than the original iPod but it is an option for those who long to join the white earphone crowd but lack the ducats to do so.
The major (MAJOR) drawback of the iPod shuffle is that it doesn't have a screen !! So you can't pick and choose which song you're going to hear next, you have to go with the order of the playlist you uploaded. This is an inconvenience shared by CD walkmen; however they can be picked up for about a third the price of this new iPod. Apple claims this won't be a problem because the Shuffle has a, well, shuffle option that you can turn on which will allow you to "lose control and let go" by letting the computer choose what you listen next.
That's actually intensely stupid.
Apple is really stretching, trying to make the lack of choice in picking the order of songs a selling point, when it is so clearly the huge drawback of their new product. I actually don't understand why you wouldn't include a screen. Some of the Best Buy MP3 players I mentioned earlier have those screens and don't cost much more. I understand they have an interest in not making the new iPod too fancy, because some people who purchased the larger models might have been better served by a lower end model and don't want Johnny-come-lately (and -cheaply) to reap the rewards of someone else's early adoption. That makes sense, I suppose but hopefully will be rectified in the next go-round.
Also, as I recall from using the iTunes software on the white computer, Shuffle is a notoriously unreliable feature of iTunes which has strong biases towards certain songs: Paula Abdul's Opposites Attract plays in the first fifteen songs everytime single time I turn Shuffle on !! Paula's music is a treat to be enjoyed occasionally, not a staple of my musical diet. If there were a screen on this puppy, I would be the first in line. Until then my money stays in my pockets, or more accurately, Visa's pockets.
Anyways, there's also a strong possibility this might be hoax because one of the disclaimers on the main page is "do not eat iPod shuffle." That's got to be a joke, right? However, I've read at least four news articles about that I found independently so I'm guessing it's legit.
In other news, as of today I'm officially renouncing Trivial Pursuit (except tournament play). I'd like to apologize in this forum for my behaviour after dinner yesterday. Woo woo.
*Edited to add: How to turn an iPod into an iPod shuffle in three easy steps. Ha ha ha.