The Media Crunch
Taking a Bite of Entertainment….Daily

Skip the new iPod Shuffle

Just under a week ago, Apple silently released the third generation iPod shuffle. Packing 4GB with no face buttons and a $99 pricetag, it had people talking. People who want an iPod for the name will quickly snap it up without realizing why this is the worst iPod ever released. Here’s why.

Although slimmer in size then the prior model (as usual for Apple products) it is taller and buttonless. Because of the thin size, it’s taken a battery life hit from the last one. Tests determined the 12 hour run time of the the 2G was actually 16 hours. Apple rates this one at 10 hours, a battery life that hasn’t been seen in an iPod since the very first one announced in 2001. In contrast, the iPod Nano has 24 hours of battery and the iPod touch and Classic get 36. What this means is that the more you charge it, the older it gets. Because of these shorter times you’ll need to charge it more, rendering it obsolete quicker. Remember you can’t replace the battery.

If that wasn’t bad enough, there are no buttons at all on the device. They have been moved to the earbud cord. If you listen to your music too loudly and they become static, if you lose them, sit down and crush them or break them in any way you will have to pay Apple $45 for another pair. Why? Because you can’t control the device anymore. To add insult to injury, Apple has installed a new form of DRM (Digital Rights Management) that won’t allow you to use your own set of headphones without paying them $25 for an adapter. Yes, you need to buy an adapter to use other earbuds on this new iPod. If you don’t like Apple’s, too bad.

Then there is the issue of price. At $99, especially in the way the economy is, it is far too much for the storage it offers. By comparison, you can buy a 4GB USB stick for $15. Similar competitors, like the Sansa clip or Creative Zen Stone pack 4GB of storage, built in FM radio, a small LCD screen and 15 hour battery life all for under $60. In fact the iPod Nano’s main competitor, the Zune can be bought for $99 and Apple’s own 8GB Nano is $150. This device costs Apple a maximum of $14 to manufactur. It’s pure profit for them.

They have been advertising a new voice feature which will read you your playlists on the device. They say this is a new technology when it has been used for people with disabilities in prior Nanos. In addition to that, the controls are greatly confusing with it turning into a Morse code of sort. It now takes three clicks just to switch a song. For a company that prides itself on ease of use, they’ve certainly gone in a different direction.

Whether it be because Steve Jobs hasn’t had the control he possessed before or Apple’s lost their mind, this product can absolutely not be recommended to anyone for purchase. Apple does not need to sell many of these to make a huge profit, but with the way money is you would be a fool to put your hard earned cash down on this when there are a bevy of competing products in the same market range for nearly half the price. The only thing identifying this as an iPod is the Apple logo on the back. If that makes you feel better about getting an overexpensive poor tech product then more power to you.

Written By: Kyle Bulai (on a Macbook)

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