Wednesday, January 12, 2005

iPod shuffle: Experiences around the net

There are several people who got their hands on the latest member of the iPod family, the now much-talked about iPod shuffle, and were kind enough to share their first hand experiences and imprerssions with the world. So, I'd like to blog & quote somet of them.

First, it's James Duncan Davison, the author of the first Cocoa book I read, Learning Cocoa with Objective-C, in his weblog at

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first. Even after laying out $99 for it, I was a bit worried that the controls would be too simplistic. After all, there's no scroll wheel. And no trademark iPod display. But, you know what? It works. And it works well. Derrick says it best: The reason that it can work so well even though it's so simple is because iTunes does most of the heavy lifting.

Of course, having one on the first day of MacWorld has been fun too. I've been able to show everyone I see what it looks like and let them play with it. But, better yet, was when I got some time to myself with it. Rock on.

Then, Chuck Toporek, the author of several books on Mac OS X, wrote in the O'Reilly Developer Weblogs:

While I didn't have much of an opportunity to listen to the iPod shuffle during the day at Macworld, I've been listening to it now for the last four hours as I work and write blog entries. It's a great little iPod, and I'm totally smitten. It's all I hoped and dreamed for, and more.

Then, Christopher Breen of Playlist magazine, in his article:

The Shuffle’s navigation wheel is divided into quadrants, with a Play/Pause button in the center. Depress the button for 3 seconds to switch into Hold mode. The east and west quadrants of the nav wheel are the Previous/Next functions, while north/south is volume up/down. Press and hold a Previous or Next button to rewind or fast-forward, respectively. The Shuffle also includes an LED indicator that flashes green for ‘good’ and orange for ‘Do Not Disconnect’ or ‘Error.’ Change the iPod from Shuffle to sequential playlist button via a slider on the back of the unit. This slider also functions as power on/off; slide the switch all the way up to turn off the device. So cool.

Where it starts to get really interesting is in the integration with iTunes. Plugging in the iPod Shuffle and selecting it will give you a new pane: the Autofill pane. You choose the source of your music (album, artist, playlist, etc.), and let the iPod do the rest of the work. You can have it select songs randomly, replace all songs, and choose higher-rated songs more often. Yet another ingenious way to remix your own music collection, courtesy of Apple.

I will also look for the negative comments, of course. But what I found so far from the RSS feeds I'm subscribing to, are mostly, if not all, positive.