The third Generation iPod Shuffle – how to turn a perfectly good product into a piece of shit

Okay, so let me start by saying that I might be biased because I do not like the company policy of Apple. I owned an iBook some time ago and was always interested what they are up to, and after using it for a while I came to the conclusion that Apple gets Innovation and Design really well, but that the Hardware is overall inferior, overpriced and that it’s a gigantic Vendor Lock-In, much much worse than Microsoft, who at least give you the Freedom of choosing your Hardware freely.

But there are two Apple Products that I always adored and still truly love: iTunes and the iPod. I did get the original 5 GB iPod when it was introduced and I was always satisfied with it (Yes, the wheel had it’s issues, but not to the point of being unusable – and at least they fixed that in newer iPods). Nowadays, I own a second Generation iPod Shuffle (2 GB, in Blue) and I also love it. For me, this is the ultimate iPod from a usability perspective: The way the controls are on the side mean that I can grab my iPod when it’s in my pocket and I know where the buttons are: Next track is on the short side, Previous Track is on the long side, Volume controls in between and the Play/Pause button in the center. There is really nothing bad that I could say about the 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle, maybe only that more space would be nice.

So, Apple now recently introduced the Third Generation Shuffle. They addressed my only mini-concern by increasing it’s capacity to 4 GB. But sadly, they completely broke it in most other ways. Let’s get one thing out first: Their advertising is wrong. It’s advertised as “The first iPod that talks to you”. *beep* Wrong. The 4th Generation iPod Nano came before (although with a Trick). That is just one indicator that the new Shuffle seems like it was build be people who don’t care about the iPod product line.

The main issue with the 3rd Generation Shuffle is that they moved the Buttons from the device into the headphones, which means that blind control is near impossible. How are you supposed to control the iPod if you do NOT want a bulky, unnecessary extra box somewhere in the cable? What If I do not want the controls outside? I usually keep my Shuffle in the inner pocket of my jacket, so I always know where the controls are – with an extra box on the cable, it’s a constant searching for it. The iPod Shuffle is a solid piece of Metal, so it does not bend or move.

But even worse: I can no longer use proper Headphones. The ones included with the iPod may be better than most bundled ones, but ultimately they are still crap. But now, it’s not even possible to use any Third Party ones because they need to have the Remote Control built in. And as you can guess, Third Party ones will be really expensive because a) the manufacturers can advertise them as an iPod product and b) the manufacturers need to buy a special chip from Apple.

I paid 20 Euros for my last pair of Earphones, some Philips in-Ear with an Earclip. They are a million times better than the bundled ones, but even more important: They are just earphones, with no extra Apple Tax attached to them. Now that consumers will have to pay Apple Tax twice on Earphones (one time for the chip and a second time for the iPod brand), I doubt that proper headphones for a proper price will be available. And yes, I know that you can still use headphones without remote control, to get playback without prev/next Track and volume controls – it’s really hard to keep a straight face when hearing this though, that’s a typical marketing bullshit excuse.

In Short: Calling the Third Generation iPod Shuffle a piece of shit would be an insult – to shit, because shit can at least be used to fertilize our fields. It has “fail” written all over it, and I really wonder if Apple will kill other iPods by introducing this crap as well, or if the 3rd Gen Shuffle is just a test balloon for shit.

4 thoughts to “The third Generation iPod Shuffle – how to turn a perfectly good product into a piece of shit”

  1. I have thought about the slogan ‘first ipod to talk’ because my Nano had been able to do just that ages ago (although I did turn that off as it was a pain) . I would abloutely hate to have that as the only means for the shuffle. Same goes with the multi click combo to find songs, what a pain.

    I even have problems with touch screens as I like to just feel the button/wheel on the nano and can navigate that way without looking just like you do with the older shuffle.
    I like a screen but my biggest problem with the older shuffle is that the Nike add on didn’t work with it – otherwise it would have been a perfect jogging player.

    What you say is exactly my feelings on apple, even docks have to have that chip or they won’t function correctly now. Apple locks everyone in so much but the fans don’t seem to care. At least I know there is not just me that thinks like me.
    Cheers.

    Actually, regarding my 4th gen nano, I have turned all the new features off so now its just like my 1st gen nano (I still prefer the 1st gen nano as it feels nicer in the hand.)

  2. I just got given an ipod shuffle 2Gb for xmas and it really is a piece of shit – I just destroyed it by pulling the metal clip back as far as it can go – the back of the case is in fact plastic. It tore and all the innards came out. Mass produced rubbish. I didn’t sell it because it gave me more satisfaction to know that there is one less ipod on the planet. I even broke the gay headphones which are a piece of bespoke shite as well, leaving me in peace to listen to my non apple lossless collection in Winamp with my decent quality headphones. Fuck Apple!

  3. Yup. I just got the new Ipod shuffle and I hate it. I’m hoping it’s not too late to take it back. So annoyed that I can’t use my own headphones anymore and the touch pad is really annoying to use. Definitely wouldn’t recommend buying it. I think I’ve had it with Apple.

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