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Apple iPod Shuffle Product Review

Updated on February 29, 2020
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bright blue iPod shuffle, 1 gb, Gen2
bright blue iPod shuffle, 1 gb, Gen2
bright blue iPod shuffle, 1 gb, Gen2

Apple's iPod line is huge. Humungous. So it's no surprise that when the ‘economy' version - the Shuffle, came out, I wanted it immediately. Took me a bit, two years to be precise, but I waited it out and got the generation 2 model of the iPod Shuffle.

Like the rest of us, you're probably sick of seeing and hearing the talking ads on every other website about how to get a free ipod, free ipod nano, or silly things like that. So, rather than fall for the hype, read below and find out just why it's okay for you to want to actually spend money on one!

1st Generation

Have you seen those USB connectable memory drives? That's what the generation 1 iPod shuffle looked like. This iPod version was released in 2005, came in 512Mb storage capacity, or 1Gb. The 1Gb shuffle boasted a 240 song repertoire, which based on my song list is about 16 hours of music. Generation 1 came with two caps, one cap sporting a dangly lanyard so you could wear the Shuffle around your neck.

The problem with Generation 1 iPod Shuffles is that they were bland, only available in white. Another problem is that unlike it's cousins in the iPod line, the Shuffle has no on-screen display. But, come February 2006 the 1Gb shuffle only cost $99 USD (that's American dollars) so who can REALLY complain?

2nd Generation

Then came Gen2. This is the kind of iPod Shuffle that I have, in bright aqua. Wising up a bit, Apple released Gen2 in a slightly different shape, making it much smaller and giving it a dock. Incidentally, the dock's jack is the same size as a headphone jack, which makes it easy to swap out the two -- no adapter required. This iPod came with a free pair of headphones, the Shuffle itself, and a USB docking cord.

Where the Gen1 was boring, the Gen2 is bright, cheery, compact and still cheap. Available in 9 colors, including the RED line, Apple's ‘world's smallest mp3 player' retails for $49 USD, which is about 30 dollars cheaper than I got it for at Christmas. Boo!

Gen2 comes in 1Gb and 2Gb sizes, weighs just over half an ounce, and ONLY syncs up through iTunes. When you want to change songs on it, you have to clear your iPod Shuffle completely. It's a great little piece of technology, and seriously easy to use!

Gotta go, time to sync and bob my head to some tunes on my sweet iPod Shuffle. Later!

3rd Generation

The iPod shuffle 3rd generation is an improvement on the old shuffle generations in a new direction. Apple has made the shuffle even smaller, but gave it a bit more space. You can now host up to 1,000 songs on the 3rd Generation shuffle, and organize them in playlists. Another new feature of the 3rd generation iPod shuffle is it's voiceover technology. This feature tells you the name of the song you are listening to and can help you find the playlist you want to listen to in a clear manner.

This generation brings vibrant refreshes of color, too, and the volume/menu buttons and play button are located on the headphones instead of the device itself. This comes in handy when you are doing something like cooking or exercising, giving you the freedom to tuck the shuffle away wherever it needs to be. This also heralds a huge design change, in that the device is no longer square, but rectangular. The trade in having this generation is in the shape difference, as well as the breaking away of the dreaded "pocket skip" that the square iPod shuffle experiences when not locked.

Gen3 comes in 2Gb and 4Gb sizes, is smaller than your house key, and retails for $59 for the 2Gb version and $79 for the 4Gb version. If you order through the Apple store, they offer FREE engraving and FREE shipping, too!

4th Generation

It seems that Apple learned their lesson in regard to major design changes for their budget music player. The 4th generation of iPod shuffle returns to the square shape, becoming once again compact and revitalizing the market for the prior styles of accessories. But, like with all iPod products, there are some changes once again.

Along with the return to the old shape comes a whittling down of workable features. All buttons are once again featured on the device itself, though the all too common issue of playback announcement (called VoiceOver) via the center button nearest the headphone jack simply ceasing to function has returned. The 4th generation iPod shuffle only comes in one storage size: 2 Gb. This also means that for the frugal listener the price point is simple: $49, slightly cheaper than the prior models' price.

The 4th generation iPod shuffle comes in five colors, including a brilliant pink, the standard silver, and three more - royal blue, medium green, and pumpkin.


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