Wednesday, February 09, 2005

iPod shuffle

Got my last Macworld order today [haven't ordered Mac mini yet, but will later .. after I had thoroughly think and rethink what can I do with it], the iPod shuffle.

I'm not gonna review it in-depth here; you can always find the yet-another-review everywhere on the web.

All I have to say with this little iPod is, it just what I expected it to be: Just Work. All I have to do is, like all other iPods i have (3Gen and mini), plug it in. The autofill function will pick songs from library and fill it up for me. But since I have many classical songs that I'm sure I won't like listening to on the road, I choose to have it pick songs from my top rate playlist. Now it is smaller than the capacity of the iPod shuffle, so everything is there.

The little neat thing is: I can easily specify how much of the space I would like to keep some data.

This is one of the main reason I bought the shuffle. I want something that feel less fragile than the iPod mini (which is quite tough actually) and can act as the USB memory stick that I can use on both Mac and Windows (and Linux). While I'm working, I won't need the screen anyway .. and having the screen will just suck the battery. Also, having only 5-stars songs on the shuffle, I am ensured that I will like whatever song that shuffle will randomize for me.

I always use my iPod mini this way anyway; have it shuffling the songs in my top rate playlist.

The function of the shuffle seems a bit weird to me currently. It will take a little to get used to the 'new' hold-scheme that I have to press a play/pause button for 3 seconds instead of sliding the 'hold' slider. Also, having a nicer way to indicate the amount of remaining battery would be nicer. Now I can't distinguish 80% and 100% any more. But since I will likely have it fully charged before going out anyway, this is minor problem.

To summarize my thought up: Apple is a big fan of Zen minimalism. Things they designed are pretty simple, straightforward, easy to use and figure out, no-nonsense/not-needed parts/components, especially the interface. This is something that right now in computer industry is unique to Apple. This iPod shuffle is no different. It is a lean-and-mean portable music player. Nothing else. Just Works. (Almost) no interaction required. And it is pretty small. Put it in my shirt pocket, and then I can forget about it.

Talking a bit about the 'no-screen' and 'shuffle only' that had worried some people. Psychologically, people can be very selective when they are given choices. But when choice isn't available, people will just ignore it. Especially for the 'sideline' thing, like listening to music while doing 'main' thing like working/traveling/sight-seeing/sleeping/reading.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, try leaving iTunes on in the partly shuffle mode, make it choose songs from your top rated list. Or, try this with iPod or iPod mini.