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Apple slashes iPod shuffle price, introduces 2GB model

post #1 of 75
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Apple on Tuesday slashed the price of its 1GB clip-on iPod shuffle music player from $79 to $49 and introduced a new 2GB model for just $69.

The diminutive device is just half a cubic inch in volume, weighs just half an ounce, features an aluminum design with a built-in clip and comes in five colors-silver, blue, green, purple and a (PRODUCT) RED special edition.

"At just $49, the iPod shuffle is the most affordable iPod ever," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. "The new 2GB model lets music lovers bring even more songs everywhere they go in the impossibly small iPod shuffle."

Apple's refresh of the shuffle comes amid analyst reports which place a large part of the blame for recent iPod demand softness on the aging shuffle line, which hadn't received a material update in nearly 18 months.

"While virtually 100 percent of the unit shortfall was in the low-end iPod Shuffle, allowing Apple to beat consensus iPod revenue despite the unit shortfall," Citigroup analyst Rich Gardner recently wrote in a research report covering Apple's fiscal first quarter results. "We believe the unit shortfall reflected the lack of a compelling update to the Shuffle product last Fall; the Shuffle simply was not the compelling 'stocking stuffer' this year that it was last year."



Pricing & Availability

The new 1GB iPod shuffle is available immediately for a suggested retail price of $49 through the Apple Store Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 2GB iPod shuffle will be available later this month for a suggested retail price of $69 through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. iPod shuffle requires a Mac with a USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later and iTunes 7.4; or a Windows PC with a USB 2.0 port and Windows Vista or Windows XP Home or Professional (Service Pack 2) or later and iTunes 7.4 or later.
post #2 of 75
Two gigs on a clip.
Or 49 bucks?
This is gonna kill that average iPod price, but it's great!
post #3 of 75
Hot Diggity! I've been waiting a long time for this.

Does this mean that Apple is going to consider dropping prices on other ipods?

Are we seeing the beginning of another wave of price slashes? Lower margins, maybe but I think it would be a nice response to the crapped-out economy.
post #4 of 75
Ah well... Was interested to see whether they update the case with the new trackpads.

I guess there is a better chance of that at a media event than a Tuesday morning update with a press release!
post #5 of 75
Still £49 on the UK apple store, no surprise there then
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post #6 of 75
iPhone everywhere!!! what about iPod nano price slashes?

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post #7 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfneuralnet View Post

Ah well... Was interested to see whether they update the case with the new trackpads.

I guess there is a better chance of that at a media event than a Tuesday morning update with a press release!

Ouch, my hand would have a hard time with such a tiny trackpad.

I'm sure Apple is having a difficult time in designing a 3G shuffle. How much smaller can they get and still have it be functional? A small screen showing the album name, artist, track name, and duration would be a good addition. Heck, there are media players that play movies that are as small as the shuffle.

I'd bet the lowering of the price and the slight improvement (more memory) indicate we'll see a major update to the line at year's end.
post #8 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Ouch, my hand would have a hard time with such a tiny trackpad.

If you look at the title of his post, I believe he was talking about the MBP trackpad.
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post #9 of 75
Wow! I've been thinking about buying a shuffle for a while. With this price cut the offer is tempting, but now I want to wait and see what the 2GB model looks like. Maybe next, they'll get rid of that ridiculous price difference between the white and black 2.2GHz MacBooks.
post #10 of 75
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post #11 of 75
I don't think product refresh is to blame for soft shuffle sales (if that's true). I think the Shuffle with the whole clip thing is brilliant and I love mine. If the 2GB version is just $69 more I'm sure that's all it is. Not really sure how much they could improve on this design except maybe some clever Apple way of displaying what song is being played. But I just don't think it's really necessary given how small the Nano is, ie if that's important to you, buy the Nano.
post #12 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by luna23255 View Post

I want to wait and see what the 2GB model looks like

Same form-factor, just more storage.
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post #13 of 75
Just picked up a refurbished 8GB iPhone at the online store for $349. Haven't seen these available for a long time.
post #14 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_daddy View Post

Just picked up a refurbished 8GB iPhone at the online store for $349. Haven't seen these available for a long time.

yep after long time they are available ... enjoy it

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post #15 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrasington View Post

Two gigs on a clip.
Or 49 bucks?
This is gonna kill that average iPod price, but it's great!

It will also increase the unit sales.

The 1GB 2nd generation iPod Shuffle was released September 12, 2006, for $79. It has remained that price for 525 days with only some color additions. That is much longer than any other product in Apple's (post-mid-90's) product line.

Personally, I love my Shuffle and have no need to upgrade to a 2GB version. It's much better than my Nano for the gym.
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post #16 of 75
Sweet!

I'm going to pick up a 1GB model for the gym as well. I don't need a 2GB shuffle because quite honestly once you get too large not having playlists sucks.
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post #17 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Sweet!

I'm going to pick up a 1GB model for the gym as well. I don't need a 2GB shuffle because quite honestly once you get too large not having playlists sucks.

240 songs (assuming you use 128kbps) is 14 hours of music at 3.5 minutes per song. Double the bitrate to 256kbps and you have 7 hours of audio. Even I were running the boston the marathon with cinder blocks dragging behind me a 1GB Shuffle would be plenty. Even using Apple Lossless that is over 1.5 hours of audio.

Unless we get Bluetooth capable sunglasses with integrated, in-lens displays, higher capacities in this device is going to become a hard sell.
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post #18 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

Hot Diggity! I've been waiting a long time for this.

Does this mean that Apple is going to consider dropping prices on other ipods?

Are we seeing the beginning of another wave of price slashes? Lower margins, maybe but I think it would be a nice response to the crapped-out economy.

I don't know that it is really lower margins. Cost of chips has been steadily dropping, but apple hasn't lowered prices or bumped capacity for a long time. This probably just brings a margin way bigger than most apple product more into line with their average.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

Still £49 on the UK apple store, no surprise there then

Macworld.co.uk is saying £32 and £45. Might want to wait to get all the facts before whining next time.
post #19 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

I don't know that it is really lower margins. Cost of chips has been steadily dropping, but apple hasn't lowered prices or bumped capacity for a long time. This probably just brings a margin way bigger than most apple product more into line with their average.

It's certainly a lower margin that yesterday, but you have a point, it may still be a higher margin than when the $79 2G 1GB Shuffle first appeared in Fall 2006. Especially since the only case change has been to its colour.
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post #20 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

I don't know that it is really lower margins. Cost of chips has been steadily dropping, but apple hasn't lowered prices or bumped capacity for a long time. This probably just brings a margin way bigger than most apple product more into line with their average.



Macworld.co.uk is saying £32 and £45. Might want to wait to get all the facts before whining next time.

The facts are what it says on the Apple Store, not what a fan site says . The UK store was down as well but back up with the same £49. I've just spoken to a rep there and they have said they have no information on a price-drop... again...

I'm still waiting for ANY price drop on the Apple TV... you got the reduction & the Take-2 upgrade across the pond but we're still looking at the same £199 for the unit as we were last year.

Says a lot about the reps when they couldn't even tell me if the UK units have the new Take-2 software... anyone happen to know?
post #21 of 75
Not that's more like it- the way Apple usually updates a product line- introduce the refresh at the same price as the original while reducing the original. Too bad the iTouch was not handled the same way. Flash prices are going down and the Itouch is 6 months old but the prices were not changed to reflect this.
post #22 of 75
No video on the new shuffle???

post #23 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jemster View Post

The facts are what it says on the Apple Store, not what a fan site says .

That's not a fan site, that's a mac news site. It's evening in the UK right now, how much you want to bet the price is updated by tomorrow morning at the latest there?
post #24 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post

iPhone everywhere!!! what about iPod nano price slashes?

Let's not overdo it, now.

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post #25 of 75
This is pretty frickin' sweet. Nice, aggressive move by Apple.

Though I do have to wonder about the details... did Apple, say, downgrade the headphones at all to meet the new price point? Any shenanigans in other areas? Just have to make sure, though I think this is probably entirely on the up and up.

If that checks out, then the only question for me is, do I want Sage, Purple, Silver, or Product Red? Cannot abide the powder blue, it's just too "chick" even for a secure guy like me.



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post #26 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

240 songs (assuming you use 128kbps) is 14 hours of music at 3.5 minutes per song. Double the bitrate to 256kbps and you have 7 hours of audio. Even I were running the boston the marathon with cinder blocks dragging behind me a 1GB Shuffle would be plenty. Even using Apple Lossless that is over 1.5 hours of audio.

My interest in getting one would be to have some general storage and music in one device. I'm finding more and more that a USB stick is handy to have with me. If it could double as a music player, that'd be very nice. The big downside with the shuffle is the lack of USB plug; I'm not keen on having to carry a USB adaptor - kind of defeats the purpose.

I tend to rip all my music to Apple Lossless from CDs. 128k MP3s are just too lo-fi for me; I wish Apple would add a way to automatically convert from one to the other when syncing; I'd like my library to be Apple Lossless and then tell iTunes to sync to 256k AAC.

- Jasen.
post #27 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

My interest in getting one would be to have some general storage and music in one device. I'm finding more and more that a USB stick is handy to have with me. If it could double as a music player, that'd be very nice. The big downside with the shuffle is the lack of USB plug; I'm not keen on having to carry a USB adaptor - kind of defeats the purpose.

...

- Jasen.

that's exactly why i jumped on the old shuffle when apple dumped them in their refurb section: no cable, 1gig was enough for a usb stick. oddly enough i've never plugged any earphones into it, but it's nice to have the option.
post #28 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

My interest in getting one would be to have some general storage and music in one device. I'm finding more and more that a USB stick is handy to have with me. If it could double as a music player, that'd be very nice. The big downside with the shuffle is the lack of USB plug; I'm not keen on having to carry a USB adaptor - kind of defeats the purpose.

I tend to rip all my music to Apple Lossless from CDs. 128k MP3s are just too lo-fi for me; I wish Apple would add a way to automatically convert from one to the other when syncing; I'd like my library to be Apple Lossless and then tell iTunes to sync to 256k AAC.

I think the syncing via the stereo connector is quite ingenious. It reduces the number of ports and uses a very small one for the transfer. But it does make it a good USB drive.

As for the automatic conversion, that is already an option for the Shuffle. iTunes will convert your audio to 128kbps AAC for the Shuffle. While this is a nice touch, it would be nice to have an option to change the bitrate.

Since I too import my audio as Apple Lossless, my solution was to create a dynamic Gym playlist and then to re-encode the tracks I wanted at 256kbps. Since they were all grouped together under the dynamic Recently Added playlist, I then added a Gym comment to the tracks and only sync that playlist. I still have 40% capacity remaining.
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post #29 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrasington View Post

This is gonna kill that average iPod price...

Yes, and it is the opposite direction I would have expected Apple to go.

I would have thought their move would have been to add a limited (text-only) screen to the Shuffle, rather than drop the price. Adding features instead of price drops is Apple's usual play.
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post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Yes, and it is the opposite direction I would have expected Apple to go.

I would have thought their move would have been to add a limited (text-only) screen to the Shuffle, rather than drop the price. Adding features instead of price drops is Apple's usual play.

1) Where do you add the screen?

2) How do you explain the inclusion of the device to begin with?

Apple seems to go with simpler, devices over more complex ones. While everyone was trying make an "iPod killer" by adding more and more features Apple came out with an unorthodox device that eschewed all the bells and whistles of the typical player.

The thing Apple could add to the Shuffle would be Bluetooth that would send audio and track info to the attached speakers and in-lens display attached to sport glasses/shades.
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post #31 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

I would have thought their move would have been to add a limited (text-only) screen to the Shuffle, rather than drop the price. Adding features instead of price drops is Apple's usual play.


I'm not sure why people want a screen. If I want a screen, I use my Nano or my Touch. I love the Shuffle for working out. That's the great thing about it.

My only wish is that it would have been a 4GB or even larger, so that I could have all of my music AND use it as a backup device for my important stuff.
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post #32 of 75
I now use my 1GB Shuffle (Dec '06) pretty much all the time when running. It's great for that.

Re audiophile quality - There is a low-level background hiss in that model, even with Apple's own earbuds, is less problematic than I thought it would be initially. The hiss can only be heard on quiet sections, and when I am not breathing too hard/loudly ;-)

So for me two improvements I'd love to see in a Shuffle update are:
1.) A one or two line display for Artist and Title (there is room next to the control ring for that), that would help in those situations where I have either changed the mix recently, or when I sometimes use it to drive a stereo at another location, and am searching for track info.
2.) Better audio quality - specifically, get rid of the background hiss noise.
The extra memory does not seems as essential to me, though is a plus if you go for higher bitrate tracks.
(JMO - Just My Opinion)
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post #33 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's certainly a lower margin that yesterday, but you have a point, it may still be a higher margin than when the $79 2G 1GB Shuffle first appeared in Fall 2006. Especially since the only case change has been to its colour.

The margin may, or may not be higher, but it's starting from a much lower price point, so overall profits from the sale will still be lower.

That's fine though.

What I'm hoping to see is more memory in the other players, and not by the end of the year either. If Apple can combine that with slightly lower pricing, that would be good, as some other players now have both more memory, and lower pricing.

I'm sure that those other manufacturers have lower margins, as they sell far less players, and some have those sales spread out between many more models.

Someone gave a friend of mine, who is older, and not good with computers at all (he is somewhat afraid to use e-mail, for example, and has a PC his wife bought), a cheap Samsung player as a birthday present.

He asked me what kind of music came on it. I explained that he would have to install the software, and join a web music store to buy music, and he froze!
post #34 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

He asked me what kind of music came on it. I explained that he would have to install the software, and join a web music store to buy music, and he froze!



I bought my father a 2G Shuffle as a gift, but I pre-installed all his favorite music before giving it to him. We're talking Neil Diamond, Kris, Kristofferson, Beach Boys and other contemporary artists from the 70's.
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post #35 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

This is pretty frickin' sweet. Nice, aggressive move by Apple.

Though I do have to wonder about the details... did Apple, say, downgrade the headphones at all to meet the new price point? Any shenanigans in other areas? Just have to make sure, though I think this is probably entirely on the up and up.

If that checks out, then the only question for me is, do I want Sage, Purple, Silver, or Product Red? Cannot abide the powder blue, it's just too "chick" even for a secure guy like me.


.


Apple sells 50 million headphones a year with their players, they probably cost 50 cents apiece. As it is, they aren't very good.

It's kind of sad, you know. When the iPod first came out, earphones for players were so damned poor, that the Apple supplied phones were considered to be better than most all others.

But, as usual, that spurred the other companies on, and while Apple's phones got no better, the others did, to the point that Apple's are now considered to be about the worst phones.

I never can understand why Apple does that. It happens with their monitors as well.
post #36 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post



I bought my father a 2G Shuffle as a gift, but I pre-installed all his favorite music before giving it to him. We're talking Neil Diamond, Kris, Kristofferson, Beach Boys and other contemporary artists from the 70's.

Hmm! I seem to remember them.
post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

My interest in getting one would be to have some general storage and music in one device. I'm finding more and more that a USB stick is handy to have with me. If it could double as a music player, that'd be very nice. The big downside with the shuffle is the lack of USB plug; I'm not keen on having to carry a USB adaptor - kind of defeats the purpose.

I tend to rip all my music to Apple Lossless from CDs. 128k MP3s are just too lo-fi for me; I wish Apple would add a way to automatically convert from one to the other when syncing; I'd like my library to be Apple Lossless and then tell iTunes to sync to 256k AAC.

- Jasen.

Yeah, it's a shame iTunes doesn't have exactly this option. I sure would have been using it for the past year with my shuffle. Hm... I wonder if Jasen ever checked the options to see if this is possible...
post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Apple sells 50 million headphones a year with their players, they probably cost 50 cents apiece. As it is, they aren't very good.

It's kind of sad, you know. When the iPod first came out, earphones for players were so damned poor, that the Apple supplied phones were considered to be better than most all others.

But, as usual, that spurred the other companies on, and while Apple's phones got no better, the others did, to the point that Apple's are now considered to be about the worst phones.

I never can understand why Apple does that. It happens with their monitors as well.


The included iPod headphones are honestly not that bad, and I doubt that they're as cheap as 50 cents to make. I think Bob 'Dr. Mac' Levitus had a review where he gave Apple headphones some grudging props.

I have a pair of Shure E3Cs, which are very popular among audiophile headphones, and while they whup absolute ass on the iPod 'phones in regards to detail and clarity, the iPod 'phones have better bass and just make you want to 'groove' more somehow.

I'd much rather listen to jazz or classical on the Shures, but for working out, rock, rap, metal, etc I'd go with the stock 'phones. Though perhaps that says more about the Shure's lousy bass performance, and the crappy quality of a lot of popular music recordings. \

I think if you want to hear some truly lousy 'phones, you go with some of the el cheapo 'Sony Extended Bass' numbers or its clones. There is some really muddy, imbalanced sound to be had out there, and of course if you play tracks that are already over-bass'ed, it gets even worse.

My candidate for an Oscar in this area of craptacular-ness has to be a certain kind of home loudspeaker, though... you know, the kind you can get for really cheap, yet have 15" woofers.


.
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post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post



I bought my father a 2G Shuffle as a gift, but I pre-installed all his favorite music before giving it to him. We're talking Neil Diamond, Kris, Kristofferson, Beach Boys and other contemporary artists from the 70's.


Some old stuff is still pretty good. The Beach Boys seem to hold up well over time, for example.

But Kiss was never that good to begin with, and Neil Diamond is an, ahem, 'acquired taste'.

The weird part? I saw an episode of Family Guy recently that had Barry Manilow in it... and he wasn't being mocked. It seems that Barry Manilow is so uncool that he's actually cool.


.
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post #40 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Some old stuff is still pretty good. The Beach Boys seem to hold up well over time, for example.

But Kiss was never that good to begin with, and Neil Diamond is an, ahem, 'acquired taste'.

The weird part? I saw an episode of Family Guy recently that had Barry Manilow in it... and he wasn't being mocked. It seems that Barry Manilow is so uncool that he's actually cool.

I like Beach Boys when I was younger. Neil Diamond is still good to listen to. As for Kris, I much prefer him as an actor. All these artists were in their prime on or before I was in diapers so perhaps my feeling would have been different if it wasn't being pumped through my parent's 8-track and cassette players while I was growing up.
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