Apple is the only company I know that can consistently get buzz from crippled (yet stylish) products. Need an example? Take the iPod Shuffle (please… ba-dum-tish). Looking to capture the low-end media player market, Apple introduced the flash-based Shuffle without a display.
Like Apple’s one-button mouse, using the Shuffle is simple. Want to know what song is playing? Just listen. Want to know what song will be playing next? Wait and listen. Want to select a different song? Push the buttons and listen. It’s the MP3 player equivalent of the weather rock.
Rather than be embarrassed, Apple is increasing the lack of control and calling it a feature. Apple brags that iTunes can randomly load songs from your library onto your Shuffle. After all, why be surprised merely by the order of songs when you can also be surprised by what songs are on your Shuffle?
With the Shuffle’s 240-song capacity, random music programming could make sense for a generation that’s been trained to thumb its way from one crappy reality show to the next six-pack ab-exerciser infomercial. Don’t like the song Shuffle chose for you? Click!
So, do I hate iPods? No, as I wrote earlier, I received a 20-GB iPod for Christmas and still love it. I’ve been cruising the iPod sites looking for ways to integrate the iPod even more into my life. Necessary additions seem to be some way to connect to my home and car sound systems. I’m not concerned whether I should have waited for Apple’s next insanely-great product. Should I ever have Shuffle-envy, Mark Husson has lobotomy instructions.