By Richard Menta 1/11/05
Give Apple credit for not naming their new flash digital music portable the iPod Flash. It's simple, but such naming has become too obvious. The iPod Shuffle, as their new unit is called, works better with marketing anyway by dismissing the importance of having a screen to display song titles.
As you may have guessed, the new unit does not have a display, a notion that has met with mixed reaction by some pundits already. But hey, who needs a screen anyway? You don't really want to know the next song coming up, you want to be surprised. You know all the tunes you put in anyway, yadda, yadda.
Whether you think a display screen is important or not is a personal decision, one that is no big deal if you simply don't care. The important thing is if the player overall satisfies. If it can accomplish that without a screen, so be it.
The iPod Shuffle is available on Amazon
The more interesting news on this new base iPod is the price of the unit, $99 for the 512MB unit and $149 for the 1GB unit. Those are very competitive prices. In fact they are lower than most of the competiton's prices for similar capacity units, a surprise since Apple usually commands premium prices for their players.
For example here are the prices of these equivalent new players from other manufacturers:
In every single case the iPod Shuffle is cheaper! Never expected that, not from Apple. The competition didn't expect it either. Pricing becomes the main draw for these units and with the iPod branding I have no doubt it will be another strong seller for Apple. As for the competition above, look for price cuts from most of them as the iPod certainly does not need an advantage there.
Creative Technologies recently announced big sales of their players including "phenomenal" sales of its Muvo line. That suggests that Creative did very well in the sub $200 market where Apple previously did not play in (until today their cheapest player was $250). Apple is playing in it now and they are selling for less.
Personally, I'll take an extra few hundred MBs of space over a display any day. So would most people I expect.
A few more stats on the iPod shuffle. It weighs 0.78 ounces and is encased in a thin 3.3 x 0.33 x 0.98-inch white body. The battery gets 12 hours of life per charge. The unit is in stock at Apple stores now as well as being online.
We have an iPod Shuffle on the way and will have a review on it soon.
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