This week, Apple announced that they were releasing a fourth generation of their popular low-priced iPod Shuffle music player. The new Shuffle is literally a sliver of its former self; it is now about half as big as the last generation, or about the size of a stick of Trident gum. The controls have been moved from the player itself to the headphone cord. And the player now has the added feature of being able to tell you the song and the artist–Apple is calling this feature VoiceOver.
So how do we feel about the Shuffle redesign? Honestly, I can’t say that I’m a fan. The last Shuffle was already a very tiny device. Looking at this model, dwarfed by the model’s hand, my first thought was “how quickly am I going to lose this?” There comes a point when our electronics just don’t need to get any smaller if we want to be able to keep track of them!
Moving the controls to the headphones is another change that I’m not really that fond of. While I’m not really an expert when it comes to audio equipment, I can tell you that the earbuds that come with iPods aren’t really the best out there. I have my own headphones that I like to use for listening to music on the go. Not being able to use those is pretty much a deal-killer for me.