“Before two weeks ago, I would not have guessed that a 3 1/2-inch-long stick of white plastic that plays music could be much of a conversation piece. But then Apple introduced the iPod Shuffle, and it’s been drawing oohs and aahs since,” Rob Pegoraro writes for The Washington Post. “Think of this tiny device (just 1 1/2 ounces with its headphones and lanyard) as the iPod for the rest of us. Where Apple’s bigger music players sell for $249 to $599, its two Shuffle models go for just $99 and $149. The cheaper model offers 512 megabytes of storage, the pricier one a gigabyte’s worth — 120 and 240 songs, respectively, by Apple’s estimates.”
“The iPod Shuffle’s prices aren’t just cheap, they undercut those of every major competitor. At Amazon.com, opting for a non-Apple player with the same capacity as the $99 Shuffle will cost at least $20 more; at Best Buy, the not-Apple tax runs to $80 — or $30 more than Apple’s one-gig model. And unlike most competitors, the Shuffle isn’t sold in a ‘blister-pack’ that will maim you when you try to open it,” Pegoraro writes. “…Other gadgets aren’t iPods. They don’t have the iPod’s style or elegance, they can’t sync to Apple’s justly popular iTunes software and they can’t play songs downloaded from Apple’s market-leading iTunes Music Store. The iPod Shuffle can.”
Pegoraro writes, “What I can’t quite figure out is which iPod is best. If you don’t listen to music for extended periods, the iPod Shuffle is the easy choice. But if you want to carry a much bigger chunk of your library, select songs on the go or carry around your address book and calendar, get the $249 iPod Mini. Then again, the remaining iPods, at $299 and up, can hold an entire music collection (not to mention pictures, in the case of the $499 and $599 iPod Photo). I suppose Apple would prefer we collected them all.”
Full article here.