Apple’s new iPod Shuffle

While I approved of the first major remake of Apple iPod Shuffle – replacing the white stick with a clip-on aluminum square – the latest update seems like a big step backwards. The new unit is a featureless piece of aluminum with no controls. Those are provided on the proprietary headphones. That means it cannot be used with conventional headphones, which is lamentable, since Apple’s are of such poor quality. It also means the new players cannot be plugged into a stereo using a miniplug cable: a feature that Emily and I found quite valuable over the summer.

It seems that minimalism and a tendency towards proprietary engineering can both be taken too far.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

12 thoughts on “Apple’s new iPod Shuffle”

  1. Apple has failed to make ground in design in many of their new products since 2001, but this is the largest step backwards.

  2. What they should have done is a small patch cable with the controls that terminated in a regular RCA jack to accept regular headphones.

    Same idea as this (though this gives the play control and mic for an iphone, it too suffered from a proprietary headphone/mic combo):

    Give it time. 3rd parties will come to the rescue, though Apple already received flack about similar issues with the iPhone, they should have know better.

  3. Apple is releasing an add-on dongle that lets you plug in stereos and third party headphones. Even so, this system strikes me as profoundly inelegant.

    I am considering buying one of the 2nd generation, square-clip Shuffles, while they are still in stores.

  4. iPod Shuffle Finds Its Voice

    Reader Mike points out some disturbing news that the new Shuffle contains DRM which, according to a review at iLounge, prevents it from fully working with any headphones that don’t have an Apple “authentication chip.”

  5. The proprietary headphone chip is unnerving. They may be testing it out here, for possible introduction across the whole iPod line.

    That seems reason enough to hope the new Shuffle is unpopular.

  6. I also wonder what’s happened to the battery life, as the battery isn’t a component that you can easily miniaturize, and the power to drive the headphones remains the same.

    I don’t see how having two small components, the dongle and the player is better than having one larger player.

  7. DRM-type restrictions are the ugliest thing Apple does – especially when they change things without warning.

    I hate how Apple’s DVD player won’t let you skip ads on DVDs you own. As a result, I choose to use the superior VLC media player instead.

  8. iPod headphones aren´t DRMed, just controlled by a proprietary chip that you have to license

    Remember the story about the new iPods having DRM on the headphone interface, which would make it impossible to plug in third-party headphones unless they took a DRM license from Apple? Well, I was wrong.

    No, the new iPods have a proprietary chip on the headphone interface that makes it illegal to manufacture third-party headphones unless you have a trademark license from Apple in order to claim “Made for iPod Certification”. However, you can make your own iPod cans, provided you don’t list them as “Made for iPod.”

  9. This topic is being discussed immediately to my left in Seattle. Let me say that these two gentlemen are much more vicious in their language about the new iPod.

  10. I decided the first version is actually the best. It plugs into a USB port, so you can charge it anywhere – even in a random library or internet cafe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *