iPod Shuffe

I have to admit that while I do have a strange desire to add a mac mini to my desk, I really don’t get the iPod shuffle. I don’t have an iPod either so maybe its just that I don’t get IT, but in this case I am more concerned that Apple is going against what its good at to compete on price. The last time they did this, they produced a bunch of crappy computers that were less like macs and not really interesting to pc buyers. They made them cheaper but in the process removed things that were what had made Macs special.

For Example, from the early days Macs had software power off. This doesn’t seem like much today. But If you were a Windows user at that time, you shutdown your computer by exiting windows and then waiting till you got the “C” prompt. Then it was probably safe to hit the power button. Mac users just selected the menu option and walked away. However, during one dark time in the past apple thought it was important to compete on price and so they removed this feature from some models. It might have save a whole dollar but I doubt it. The best part is they put the power button right under the floppy drive slot just begging you to press it to eject that floppy. Of course Macs don’t require you to push an button to eject but people who were PC users often made the mistake. Around the same time they also removed the slick auto-inject floppy drives.

So back to the shuffle. What gets me is not that it sucks, its that it doesn’t really build on any of Apple’s strengths besides Marketing. Apple at its technical best has always been about the interface and making it disappear. However, Its easy to make the interface disappear if you don’t offer the user choices. The click wheel and its UI make the bigger iPods cool. Being small is also cool. Having only a few buttons and no display is not.

None of this means that they won’t sell a bazillion of these things. Brand is power and Apple has the Marketing to back it up. Check out the text on this page. You would think not having control is the greatest thing ever. Maybe people will start selling their old clunky iPods so they can “reject routine” and ponder “Can it read your moods?”

I guess my disappointment comes down to this. There is nothing about the shuffle that couldn’t also be done by some cheap asian cloner. Unless apple has a new patent on “MP3 player with no UI”






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