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Review of the Apple iPod Shuffle


Review of the Apple iPod Shuffle
By Bradley James

Introducing the mini iPod Mini: the iPod Shuffle

The iPod shuffle is basically a smaller version of Apple's extremely popular iPod and iPod Mini. The shuffle is much smaller than the iPod (about the same size and weight as a pack of gum), but holds fewer songs as a result. You can now purchase either a 512MB iPod shuffle, or one with a full 1GB. Keep in mind that the regular iPod can now hold up to 40GB, so it has quite a bit more storage. The shuffle though is designed to be a super-mobile, light-weight device that you can wear around your neck and take just about anywhere. You are limited to about 10 CDs worth of songs that play in a random order on default. Below you will find some more information about the device, including a manufacturers description and review.

Information Direct From Apple

Time to mix things up. Meet iPod shuffle, the unpredictable new iPod. What will it play next? Can it read your mind? Can it read your moods? Load it up. Put it on. See where it takes you.

Random is the New Order
Welcome to a life less orderly. As official soundtrack to the random revolution, the iPod Shuffle Songs setting takes you on a unique journey through your music collection -- you never know what's around the next tune. Meet your new ride. More roadster than Rolls, iPod shuffle rejects routine by serving up your favorite songs in a different order every time. Just plug iPod shuffle into your computer's USB port, let iTunes Autofill it with up to 120 songs and get a new experience with every connection. The trail you run every day looks different with an iPod shuffle. Daily gridlock feels less mundane when you don't know what song will play next. iPod shuffle adds musical spontaneity to your life. Lose control. Love it.

DJ Your Day
If you favor cycling to a hip-hop soundtrack and snowboarding to a little electronica, Autofill iPod shuffle from a specific iTunes Playlist and roll. Download an album from the iTunes Music Store and listen to it in order before you Shuffle it into your collection. Or just drag and drop individual songs from iTunes onto iPod shuffle. With Play in Order mode, you manage the music. If things take a turn for the predictable, never fear. Turn iPod shuffle over, flip the slider to Shuffle and mix on the go.

Goes with Everything
iPod shuffle weighs as little as a car key and makes a tuneful fashion statement. Just throw the included lanyard around your neck and take a walk. Or run. Or ride. There's nowhere your skip-free iPod shuffle can't go, and with up to 12 hours of continuous playback time, it keeps going as long as you do. A neat little cap protects the USB connector, and those signature white earbud headphones tell the world you love to listen in style. You can even make your iPod shuffle splash-proof, arm-hugging, and longer-running with optional accessories. Ready for anything from a Transatlantic flight to a weekend at the beach, the iPod shuffle makes the perfect, low-maintenance pal.

Touch of Genius
Good things really do come in small packages. The controls on the iPod shuffle feel as intuitive and easy to use as those on every iPod model. Play, pause, skip, repeat, shuffle and hold at the touch of a thumb: The circular, ergonomic controls and one-click slider make it simple to listen without looking.

The Music Store in Your House
Add to the iPod shuffle mix with songs downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. Browse and preview more than one million songs, then buy what you want, 24-7, from the comfort of your Mac or PC. With the iTunes Music Store and iPod shuffle, you'll always have music at hand...literally. The smallest iPod yet, iPod shuffle fits neatly in the palm of your hand and looks just plain neat around your neck. Prepare to make friends and influence people when you wear it biking, hiking, snowboarding, dog-walking and anywhere else that could use a great soundtrack.

That includes off-the-beaten-path spots where you may need to play, pause, move back, skip forward, shuffle and turn up the volume without looking. Luckily, iPod shuffle pays due respect to its elders with a thumb-friendly, circular control pad that puts the 'go' in ergonomic.

Plug-and-Playlists
iPod shuffle makes syncing a piece of cake. Cupcake, even. Use the optional Dock to connect to your computer or just plug iPod shuffle directly into a USB port on any computer. Then drag and drop individual songs, Autofill your favorite playlists or Autofill your iPod shuffle with a random sampling from your music library. Since iPod shuffle automatically charges while syncing, it stays ready for your next adventure.

Our First Look at the Shuffle

First of all, the iPod shuffle is a very simple looking device that follows the same style as the famed iPod. It really is the size of a decent pack of gum, easily worn around the neck as Apple proposes, or in your pocket. The connection to your computer could not be easier; all you have to do is hook it into your usb port like you would a regular usb memory stick. You can then copy onto the shuffle any songs or groups of songs you would like. For those of you who already own and iPod, you will be happy that the device takes AAC files, as well as MP3. Once on the shuffle, the songs begin to play out in random order. If you want to hear a particular song, you have to keep hitting forward until you reach it - there is no display on the device to show you what songs are coming up. This is one of the very few downsides to the music player.

The music sounds really good, even with the headphones it comes with. The music did not skip once, substantiating Apple's anti-skip claim. It would have been nice to see an FM tuner feature, but then again, it was designed to be a simply device without the bells and whistles that make other similar players $100 more expensive. Also, the battery life is just about 12 hours, which is about 5 hours less than the industry average. Most of the time this is not a problem, however, since it is so easy to recharge (it even recharges while you are loading songs onto it).

The fact that the songs play randomly on the device is going to be seen differently by different people. It can be somewhat liberating not to have to worry about which song you will hear next, or in what order you will hear a group of songs. In fact, it's just like mindlessly listening to the radio, except that you only hear songs you like, and there are no commercials - two really good things! If you want more control over your songs, or you really need to see where you are in your play list, then a regular iPod may be the better choice. But for those who want a simple, light-weight, spontaneous alternative to the iPod, the shuffle is just about the best choice.

Bradley James is a senior editor at SciNet.cc, a website containing many helpful consumer electronics review articles. For more information on Apple iPod shuffle , please visit our iPod Shuffle webpage.

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