Apples new 2nd-generation iPod shuffle “ships in the same clear plastic case as the second-generation iPod Nano, so expect to have to download iTunes from Apple’s website if you don’t have it already. Hidden behind the player are a pair of Apple’s old-style iPod earphones – oddly, not the new set the debuted with the 2G Nano – foam covers, the customary quick-start guide and – for the first time in ages – a bundled dock,” Tony Smith writes for Reg Hardware.
Smith writes, “This is no philanthropy on Apple’s part, a bid to save the Shuffle 2G buyer a further $19 on an accessory, but something of a necessity. The Shuffle slots sideways into the dock, locking onto a 3.5mm earphone jack integrated into the cradle. The dock doubles up as a USB cable, as you’d expect, but this time the player’s earphone socket connections are used for data transfer and to feed the battery.”
Smith writes, “Given the size of the Shuffle, it’s a clever solution. That said, I miss the integrated USB port – look, ma, no wires – of its predecessor. Still, I’d have preferred Apple to build a mini USB port into the player as these are always going to be more readily available than USB-to-3.5mm cables and/or docks… I don’t want to have to take the dock with me when I travel, and with the old Shuffle I didn’t even need to take a cable.”
“Having two separate switches is a big improvement over the old Shuffle’s single, three-way slider switch. My Shuffle is almost always used for sequential playback, but it was a little to easy to push the slider too far and accidentally start shuffling. The new Shuffle’s switches are raised above the casing not flush with it as was the case with the old shuffle,” Smith writes.
“Another refinement: the belt clip. This will snap onto clothing flaps and pockets, bags and other kit with ease, making the Shuffle feel like little more than a remote control unit for a larger iPod. The clip’s neither too stiff nor too loose – just right, in fact,” Smith writes. “Which pretty much covers its functionality too: play or pause, volume up or down, track skip and play mode. Once again, less is more, just let the music come to you, in order or at random.”
Smith writes, “The simplicity of the original is augmented with an even smaller case that feels like the remote control of a larger player. It’s let down only by the need for a dock – and a unique dock at that. The Shuffle’s not for everyone – plenty of people will prefer to select their songs on a screen – but it remains a great grab-and-go gadget for music on the move.”
Much more in the full review, including some nice close-up photos, here.
Steve Jobs gives Apple employees new 2G iPod shuffles – November 03, 2006
First 2G iPod shuffle unpacking photos – November 01, 2006
Apple’s new 2G iPod shuffle available worldwide this Friday – October 31, 2006
Apple now shipping 2G iPod shuffle orders – October 30, 2006
AP: Apple’s new iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle ‘clearly worth the wait’ – October 19, 2006
Apple unveils new iPod shuffle: world’s smallest digital music player – September 12, 2006