Washington Post: Apple’s new iPod shuffle is ‘the iPod for the rest of us’

“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.

7 Comments

  1. I think that the comment about the Shuffle not coming in a blister pack is interesting and should not be ignored.

    Apple definitely understands the consumer’s perception of a products quality comes from a lot of little cues, including packaging. If you think about it, all of the other small mp3 players ARE packed in plastic blister packs and hung on crappy display racks, like the ones by the registers in every store. They all look the same, and the blister packs don’t convey anything about the quality of the product, since EVERYTHING is packed in blister packs these days, including all the crappy products.

    Apple’s packaging, by contrast, clearly demonstrates their attention to detail, and it also send the message that they care about how their product is deliverd to the customer. The others just want to get it on the shelf as cheaply as possible.

  2. The shuffle is genious. Every kid that wanted an iPod for Christmas and didn’t get it because their parents didn’t want to drop $250 on something they probably view as a toy has a real chance at getting a shuffle. It syncs with iTunes and like the author states, shares the elegance of it’s big brothers. Pure genious.

  3. One thing that seems would be a good idea from a consumer point of view would be a shuffle where the bottom half breaks away and you have multiple libraries on additional memory sticks that plug into the shuffle. What if you could have additonal 512 sticks with different playlists on them for about $30-40 ea. Would this cannibalize their upper end iPod line?

  4. The most important thing and what adds the most value is that it works with iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. That alone is worth 30 dollars over any other player.

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