iPod shuffle is an iPod digital audio player designed and marketed by Apple Computer. It was announced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 11, 2005, using the tagline “life is random.” Instead of storing data on a hard disk, it was the first iPod to use flash memory (the more recent iPod nano also uses this form of memory). It weighs 22 grams (0.78 ounces).
The reverse side of an iPod shuffle.The iPod shuffle is designed to be easily loaded with a selection of songs and to play them in random order. It was found that owners of existing iPods had often left the music selection to “shuffle”, and the new iPod shuffle was a way of implementing that in a much more cost-effective fashion. It relies on the use of an “autofill” feature in iTunes, which can select songs at random from a user’s music library (or from a specific playlist) and copy as many as will fit into iPod shuffle’s memory. It can hold up to 240 songs (1 GB model, based on Apple’s estimate, of four minutes per song and 128 kbit/s AAC encoding).
It lacks the trademark display, scroll wheel, playlist management features, games, address book, calendar, and notes capability of earlier iPods, and cannot be used with iSync. In addition, it is incapable of playing Apple Lossless and AIFF audio files, unlike other iPod models due to its lower processing power. Oddly, the iPod shuffle has a better bass sound quality than its larger iPod kin, according to one review. Also, unlike every other iPod, it cannot be used with on two separate iTunes libraries.
iTunes offers some new features for iPod shuffle. One is the ability to reduce the bit rate of songs to 128 kbit/s AAC. The conversion is done automatically, with the original file left untouched on the computer and the smaller (lower bit rate) file sent to the iPod shuffle. iTunes also allows an iPod shuffle playlist to be viewed and changed while the unit is not connected; the next time the unit is connected, it can then be updated with the changed playlist.
iPod shuffle with the cap removed to show the USB connector. The cap snaps onto the unit. iPod shuffle comes with a second cap on a lanyard which a user can wear around their neck.The front of the iPod shuffle has buttons for Play/Pause, Next Song/Fast Forward, Previous Song/Fast Reverse, and up and down volume adjustment. On the reverse, it has a battery level indicator light (activated by a button) and a three-position switch to turn the unit off or set it to play music in order or shuffled. It plugs directly into a computer’s USB port (either 1.1 or 2.0), through which it also recharges its battery, which has an expected life of around 12 hours between charges. The USB plug is hidden beneath a cap. The unit also comes with a lanyard that attaches to the iPod shuffle via an attached cap and this allows the user to wear the iPod shuffle around his or her neck.
iPod shuffle can also be used as a USB flash drive. iTunes allows a user to set how much of the drive will be allowed for storing files, and how much will be used for storing music.
iPod shuffle size
iPod shuffle skin (green) by Speck ProductsBoth Apple and third-party manufacturers offer a variety of accessories for the iPod shuffle. Apple offers such things as armband attachments (so it can be worn on one’s arm), a sport case that protects the iPod shuffle from the elements, and an iPod shuffle dock that allows easier connection to a computer, similar to the dock units available for the regular iPod and iPod mini. Third-party manufacturers offer such things as iPod shuffle decorative and protective sleeves, belt clips, AC and DC power plugs, earphones, and FM transmitters.
The main program that supports the iPod shuffle is iTunes, which is bundled with the product and can be updated from the Apple web site.
Users can download music from an online music store and use the iTunes software to upload it to the device.
The iPod shuffle was announced at the same time as the Mac mini. Like iPod shuffle, Mac mini is a scaled-down product which has been introduced at a lower price point. These two products together can be seen as a conscious effort on the part of Apple management to target a lower-end market and increase visibility in the mass-market. Previously, the success of Apple’s iPod and especially the iPod mini had been chipping away at the inexpensive flash player market, causing flash players at the beginning of 2005 to account for less than half the market share they did in 2004. However, the original and mini iPods were costly and the shuffle was intended to make the iPod accessible to the mainstream audience.
By April 2005, the end of Apple’s second fiscal quarter, the iPod shuffle had already proven itself to be a successful product for its manufacturer. Although Apple has chosen not to specify how many iPod shuffles were sold in the product’s first three months of existence, analysts at Piper Jaffray estimated that 1.8 million of the 5.3 million iPods sold in the second quarter were shuffles. NPD estimates that the iPod shuffle captured 43% of the flash-based music player market in February of 2005, after only its second month of existence.By March of 2005 the iPod shuffle’s market share had risen to 58%.
Chewing and eating
Due to its small size (8.38 × 2.49 × 0.84 cm or 3.3 × 0.98 × 0.33 inches), Apple’s web site declared iPod shuffle “smaller than a pack of gum and much more fun,” with the footnote on its American web site: “Do not eat iPod shuffle.” As of the September 29, 2005, the footnote has disappeared from the American website; it remains on several international sites, however.
The UK and Ireland site had a slightly reworded version: “Do not chew iPod shuffle,” while some other versions of the site, such as the Canadian, French and German versions, made no mention of this. These warnings have since been removed.
PC World was the first to report an issue with iPod shuffles inexplicably ceasing normal function, only to flash orange and green lights and become unmountable. However, there’s not yet been official acknowledgement of the problem from Apple.
Luxpro’s “Super Shuffle”.In March of 2005 at the CeBIT trade show, a Taiwanese company named Luxpro released Super Shuffle , which is cosmetically strikingly similar to iPod shuffle. Luxpro also released promo shots and commercials identical to Apple’s advertising campaign to promote their player, which includes a voice recorder and FM tuner and is slightly thicker. According to a few individual reports, Apple tried to prevent the Super Shuffle from being shown at the exhibit by forcing legal pressure on Luxpro. Since the CeBIT event several media sources have claimed that the demonstration of the Super Shuffle was a publicity stunt designed by Luxpro to “leverage the media attention created by Apple to their advantage.” Engadget claims that Luxpro never intended to manufacture the iPod shuffle knock-off at all, but rather hoped that the attention from the Super Shuffle and the inevitable legal challenge to it from Apple would help sell the company’s electronic circuitry for digital music players. Luxpro has since replaced its webpage on the Super Shuffle with a description of a new model, called the Super Tangent which is identical to the Super Shuffle except for a few cosmetic changes. Still, the Super Tangent created enough of a controversy that CNET Asia published a shootout between the iPod shuffle and its infamous copycat cousin.