“Since Apple Computer Inc. introduced the iPod in 2001, competitors have been scrambling to match the simplicity and style of the popular digital music player. But try as they might, the original just keeps getting better. The latest flavor, the diminutive iPod shuffle, proves that fewer bells and whistles can be just as good as more,” Ron Harris writes for The Associated Press. “And despite the absence of a display to tell you what’s playing, the shuffle’s ease of use is unrivaled. It’s also a solid performer with sounds that holds up against most other flash memory-based MP3 players you’ll find on store shelves.”

“There’s no docking cradle, no bulky battery pack, no AC adapter — there’s really not much here except the best portable music player for the money. Paired with Apple’s popular online music store — 250 million songs downloaded and counting as of Monday this iPod shuffle could be just the low-priced entry-level player those on the sidelines have been waiting for,” harris writes.

MacDailyNews Note: There is an iPod shuffle Dock available from Apple for US$29. More info here. Apple also offers a not-so-bulky iPod shuffle External Battery Pack which extends the battery life of your iPod shuffle for US$29. Two AAA batteries keep music playing up to 20 hours after the internal battery is drained. More info here. Apple also offers an iPod USB Power Adapter for US$29 for the iPod shuffle, so you can recharge from any power outlet. More info here.

Harris concludes, “Since there’s no LCD screen on the shuffle, there’s really no way to navigate to a particular track without memorizing the order and clicking through them. That might be a bummer for some who want quick access to a particular song. Otherwise, there’s little fault to find here. For those looking for simplicity and ultraportability, less can be more.”

Full article here.