Never have I been so disappointed in an Apple product and I haven’t even had the chance to see it in person. For close to a decade, I have been using Macs and related products, and I’ve been very enthusiastic about them. I have owned a G4 tower and Blueberry monitor (beautiful display, but too heavy), an iBook, a MacBook, two iPods, a first generation Shuffle, a second generation Nano, and an iPhone. This latest version of the Shuffle, however, fails to impress me.
The Shuffle and overall surprise of (the lack of) features was a hot topic of discussion on Twitter, which led to some very funny jokes. My blog friend ThePete ripped the latest incarnation of the Shuffle apart in a post, and he’s also self-styled “Mac Head.” Then MacWorld delivered blow with their review, where they comment on the Apple’s war on buttons. It doesn’t bode well for Apple when a product isn’t well received by their core market. If we’re not into it, then how else can they expect the rest of the buying product to be on board?
Here is what’s wrong with the new Shuffle:
- No buttons or controls (beyond the on/shuffle switch) .
- It gets better. The controls are on one of the headset cords. This makes the user completely dependent on Apple for their headphones, and we all know how good they are. This leaves out the option of having a better listening experience with Bose or any other headset that costs more than the Shuffle.
- The little control cylinder on the headset cord isn’t visually friendly. At least the previous Shuffle’s controls used universal symbols for “Play,” “Back,” and “Forward.” Double click to go forwards and triple click to go backwards. Quelle est le fuck?
- Appearance-wise, the Shuffle is boring. It’s a tiny little slab of metal and that’s it. If that isn’t bad enough, the only two colors are grey and gun metal/black. The controls in the previous model added to some visual interest and helped define it. The new shuffle looks like a piece of pewter chewing gum, which doesn’t seem that appetizing.
If you thought I was exaggerating about the headset, here are the instructions visually laid out. Easy to follow, but not very practical.
One new feature that would have been useful on previous Shuffle models is the “VoiceOver,” which gives an audio ID of the song. That way, you know the artist, song name, album, etc. The only catch is that cylinder on the headset cord must be pressed in order to activate it.
Like its immediate predecssor, the Shuffle has a clip so that it can be worn on any garment. The previous model had several fashionable colors, making it the ultimate clip-on accessory. Gray and gun metal/black? Not the most exciting colors to accent any garment.
This incarnation of the Shuffle – not sexy at all. I’m not in a hurry to buy this one.
In all fairness:
Today, I went to the Apple Store in Fashion Valley to see if they had any new Shuffles on display. I wanted to do a little empirical research to see what they were like. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to check them out and all I had was all the promotional information on Apple’s website. The store, however, did have last year’s model available: