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Apple's 3G iPod shuffle reviewed: a step too far? - Page 2

post #41 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

What good is lossless sound if the headphones don't reproduce it?

First of all, Lossless doesn't indicate the quality of the audio, only that the codec used has not reduced the quality when it was encoded. Your assertion that you can't tell the difference on the Shuffle between 128kbps audio and Lossless files from CDs while using good headphones is laughable. I can hear the difference between 128kbps and 256kbps AAC on my 2G shuffle.

The real plus of having Apple Lossless on the 3G Shuffle is that I can go back to having a single music library and not have to use manage separate libraries using lower bitrate lossy audio because the player cannot handle the load. The Shuffle has always (and still has) an option to convert to 128kbps. If I get tired of the duplicates I may just get the new Shuffle.

edit: It's technically one library, but I have duplicate song titles for the Shuffle.


Quote:
Are you talking this?
image: http://www.monstercable.com/images_d...phone_glam.jpg
Because surely you don't think grabbing a swinging cable while running is easier.

No, I'm talking about the in-line controller on the headphones that come with the Shuffle and iPhone.
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post #42 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by shunnabunich View Post

because that is the direction they're actively pursuing here. It already feels like morse code, they just haven't gone all the way yet. If anything, the reviewer was being just a little too apologetic, but thankfully nowhere near the distasteful depths of igroveling dan dilger stooped to in his recent article on the shuffle.

. -..- .- --. --. . .-. .- - . -- ..- -.-. .... ..--..

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post #43 of 129
. . .
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post #44 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

First of all, Lossless doesn't indicate the quality of the audio, only that the codec used has not reduced the quality when it was encoded. Your assertion that you can't tell the difference on the Shuffle between 128kbps audio and Lossless files from CDs while using good headphones is laughable. I can hear the difference between 128kbps and 256kbps AAC on my 2G shuffle.

But you won't be hearing lossless sound at it's optimum with those headphones. Why not listen to stereo via a tin can then ? You'll be able to hear a difference on that as well. My point is lossless deserves better if your going to have it. But these headphones have not an received audio review up to snuff to even deserve lossless.

Quote:
The real plus of having Apple Lossless on the 3G Shuffle is that I can go back to having a single music library and not have to use manage separate libraries using lower bitrate lossy audio because the player cannot handle the load. The Shuffle has always (and still has) an option to convert to 128kbps. If I get tired of the duplicates I may just get the new Shuffle.

Is it that hard to make a dedicated playlist called shuffle with just 256 kkbps in it?


Quote:
No, I'm talking about the in-line controller on the headphones that come with the Shuffle and iPhone.

And if your left handed? Anyway it doesn't matter because it's on a cord that jiggles.
post #45 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

. . .

Hey- how did you manage a blank page?
post #46 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Hey- how did you manage a blank page?

If you look at the code, it is light blue on light gray. And the periods are tiny, so they're hard to see.

testing
post #47 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If you look at the code, it is light blue on light gray. And the periods are tiny, so they're hard to see.

testing

Ooh, thanks for the trick for retraction.
post #48 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

But you won't be hearing lossless sound at it's optimum with those headphones.

The quality of the original audio that it was encoded with is moot point as I clearly stated that having multiple tracks of the same songs for different players is not pleasant for organization. If your statement that Lossless files copied from HQ audio will not shine on the Shuffle then that argument will hold for all iPods and pretty much every PMP available.

But I didn't copy my audio from HW audio sources, I copied them from CDs I owned as i wanted to have a master copy that did not remove any data from the files. I own better than average headphones and can't hear the difference between 256kbps AAC and Apple Lossless copied from CDs. Should I be copying all my audio over to 256kbps AAC because that is the now? Perhaps in the future I'll get a better player or better headphones or be given Calculon's ears by the Robot Devil. It's best to have a quality master copy and since I don't put all my music on my PMPs I can easily store the ~1Mbps files.

Note: If you take a bunch of audio files of the exact same song in different lossy codecs and bitrates, then convert each one to lossless the size will be about the same regardless of the lossy quality or codec used. It will be about 1Mb per second of audio. For this reason it's not good to refer to the audio of a lossless track as being higher quality as it doesn't dictate the originating audio quality. It's only preserving the original audio but it's also not going to make your audio any higher quality than it was when encoded it. Why would anyone convert low quality audio to lossless? it surely wouldn't make any sense to, but the point is that seeing a lossless file doesn't not mean that it's high quality audio, only that the file has not lost audio data when it was encoded.

Quote:
Why not listen to stereo via a tin can then ? You'll be able to hear a difference on that as well. My point is lossless deserves better if your going to have it. But these headphones have not an received audio review up to snuff to even deserve lossless.

First of all, any credibility as a poster goes out the with hyperbolic statements equating the Shuffle with a tin can. Secondly, I guarantee that will hear the difference between Apple Loss and 128kbps, the level in which it will automatically convert audio, on the device. Finally, I've already made mention that I have in-ear phones for my iphone with in-line controls. Ones that sound good for $79, albeit low on bass.

Quote:
Is it that hard to make a dedicated playlist called shuffle with just 256 kkbps in it?

Hard? No, but I've explained twice now why I don't want to have multiple codecs and bitrates in my library.

Quote:
And if your left handed? Anyway it doesn't matter because it's on a cord that jiggles.

I'm right handed and wish the controls were on the left-hand side. it would be easier to grab that side with my right hand as I'd have to crock my hand in a little less (I just tested this). But the difference is very minimal and certainly easier than reaching across your body to your sleeve or going to your hip while jogging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Hey- how did you manage a blank page?

I didn't. I put in 3 dots seperated by spaces which is the 5 character minimum for this forum. I then changed the font colour to light blue so it mostly matchs the background.
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post #49 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Ooh, thanks for the trick for retraction.

You'll still have to go advance to uncheck Show your signature. I assume that vBulletin has a delete feature, I wonder why they don't use it.
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post #50 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Has the reviewer ever actually ran?
Nothing bounces or jiggles more than headphone wires. A player snapped to your waistband doesn't move at all and the 2G controls were entirely intuitive unlike this shuffle.

Yea, maybe at your waistband, but not anywhere else. Obviously, one's arms and legs are always moving when running. At least an earphone remote always floats in front of your shoulder. You can grab it without interrupting your movement (except for one hand of course).

Not that I really love this new design. 3/5 seems like a reasonable score. Maybe they should have kept the buttons, but made the remote headphones standard. Or, made two different versions available. I might pick one up anyway for working out - I only need something small, durable, able to do the occasional track skip, etc. I'm just afraid I might accidentally swallow this new version when exercising.
post #51 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

Or, made two different versions available.

As you wish...

2G Shuffle ::

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/hom...en?mco=MTE4MzA
3G Shuffle :: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/hom...le?mco=MTE2NTU
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post #52 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

It's a silly design. Now that even the controls have been taken off of the unit, and the unit is so small, Apple might has well have done an all-in-the-headphones design. One of those over-the-ear things, with the controls on one earpiece. Having this little Chicklet stick that you have to clip somewhere doesn't make much sense. Just get rid of the cords altogether, except for one going behind the head to connect the 2 earpieces.

I prefer my previous-generation Shuffle. The voice-over is cool, though, as is the multiple playlists. But the physical design of this new Shuffle is silly.

I bet the new shuffle is no more heavier than its headphone. Sometimes you need the weight and size to justify your presence. If extremely small, why not just go straight invisible. So this is not a step too far but a step not that far enough. But I don't think Apple would ever make a complicated headphone with all controls in it. It is just not Apple.
post #53 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by rasnet View Post

I am reminded of this strip from the webcomic Bob & George

How about the Mactini - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noe3kR8KqJc

sound familiar?
post #54 of 129
I think the new Shuffle is a step backwards. Adding more storage doesn't help when it's still difficult to navigate through the music. The bottom line is that you need a visual guide to navigate a lot of music tracks just like you need two physical buttons on a mouse to reliably interact with a computer. Apple's workarounds just don't cut it.

Putting the controls on the headphones is stupid because as someone mentioned, unless you're a woman without a bra on or a fat guy without a corset, the headphone cable jiggles around the most when jogging. The ipod itself is always fastened securely in a known position.

Even assuming they wanted to go with the in-line controls, why didn't they add a 3.5mm jack to the top of the control box so that you could use any headphones?

For the price the Shuffle is, they should have come up with something better. Even a single line OLED screen or a mini gesture pad like you get on the laptops where you click to play/stop. Swipe up/down for volume, left/right to change track, 2 finger swipe to change playlist etc. There wouldn't have to be a button really, as you could tap the side to start playing. 2-finger tap could read the current song out.

Also, having an audible battery indicator would be nice too. One of my relatives has the 2G model and they say it just dies. The light changes color but only after it's dead.
post #55 of 129
Frankly I hate reviews that have such a personal bent. Obviously people feel differently about this shuffle. Some people really like it (I do). Your job as a reviewer is write for a general audience, including people that might like the choices and tradeoffs apple made. Not justify your own strong opinions. I also hate it when reviews have an air of "objectivity" but they really aren't. Some people simply can't be objective - their own personal wants and desires just always carry the day. Seems like this writer is one of those. If you want to see how a real pro does it - always keeping his audience in mind - read Walt Mossberg. He's the best there is in my book, even if occasionally he gets it wrong (just occasionally mind you). He gave the new shuffle a good review by the way.
post #56 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

How about the Mactini - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noe3kR8KqJc

sound familiar?

very funny- added to my favs
post #57 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by mason2046 View Post

I bet the new shuffle is no more heavier than its headphone. Sometimes you need the weight and size to justify your presence. If extremely small, why not just go straight invisible. So this is not a step too far but a step not that far enough. But I don't think Apple would ever make a complicated headphone with all controls in it. It is just not Apple.

Actually it's too heavy, so off to the gym.
Wait, I'll need this new shuffle to tell me at the gym "one more Rep! Come on - you can do it!"
OMG-I'm in a Catch22: I want it; I don't want it. What should I do??
Too much coffee.
post #58 of 129
Seriously to those who complains about the new controls, have you guys ever used the iphone's in-line controls? I have and I love it, and I only have to skip once or twice during my trip to work everyday.

How many of you have the need to skip songs on a regular basis? If you dont like certain songs, dont put it in the playlist in the first place!

Oh and I must say most people (not pulling random numbers out of my arse like 99% shit) that I come across uses the apple ear phone, infact one of my friend wont even consider a 3rd party earphone when her store ones broke.
post #59 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think the new Shuffle is a step backwards. Adding more storage doesn't help when it's still difficult to navigate through the music. The bottom line is that you need a visual guide to navigate a lot of music tracks just like you need two physical buttons on a mouse to reliably interact with a computer. Apple's workarounds just don't cut it.

We are obviously going to disagree, but how on earth do you control which songs you listen too on the old 2G shuffle containing 400 songs? On the 3G shuffle navigation is easy (and easier when you are on the move than walking in front of cars while gazing at a list on the nano. Once manufacturers have an adaptor so you can plug it into your car it will be much safer than looking at visual playlists plus all new ipods since September 2008 will be able to use this feature). You might have 10 playlists of songs you might choose by mood, situation etc and its easy to swap between them with the audible prompts. Choose a song in a playlist? - just pause the song, double click for next song audible prompt, double click if thats not the one you want etc.

Of course to find 1 song in 400 is difficult if its not on a particular playlist but at least it is better than the old shuffle where the only real control you used are play/pause, shuffle and volume.
post #60 of 129
I think it was absolutely great that they removed that tacky wheel. You now controll the whole thing with three buttons, right? That's fine with me. What they should have done is to make the whole iPod a 3-button controller, with pressure sensitive areas similar to the mighty mouse. Top, bottom and middle, and designed it so that you could feel with your fingertips where you were squeezing the iPod while not looking at it. This way the whole thing could be operated without a peripheral, but still have the exact same functionality.
post #61 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeasar View Post

Seriously to those who complains about the new controls, have you guys ever used the iphone's in-line controls? I have and I love it, and I only have to skip once or twice during my trip to work everyday.

How many of you have the need to skip songs on a regular basis? If you dont like certain songs, dont put it in the playlist in the first place!

There are some flaws with argument the last line. For one, iTunes can "autofill" the Shuffle. The user might not be aware of what goes onto it at dock time, not without reading line by line what made it into the device. Another is that a song good for one mood might not be suitable for another.
post #62 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Wow Virgil, only 133 posts to go before you can change your tag to "Devoted Apple fanboy", "Drunk on the koolaid", "Infected by the RDF and I like it" or some such. Do you really think Apple can do no wrong at all?

Mr. H, you missed the closing quotes after "Infected by the RDF" and before "I like it"

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post #63 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Has the reviewer ever actually ran?
Nothing bounces or jiggles more than headphone wires. A player snapped to your waistband doesn't move at all and the 2G controls were entirely intuitive unlike this shuffle.

Please pardon the side bar folks. A Quick Language Police Question:
I am familiar with English 'dived' is now 'dove' in US. However, is English 'ever run' really 'ever ran' in US? Or is that just a mistake? I am new US Citizen trying to learn all the verb differences here. Thanks.
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post #64 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

How did you try it at the store- with ear bud headphones that hundreds have used?
When I went they showed it to me from a salesperson's pocket with the ugly USB dangledopper hanging off it.

Yes I used it with the earbuds that hundreds have used and it sounded great.
post #65 of 129
Why does everyone want to make the Shuffle a full-featured iPod? I just don't get it. The iPod Shuffle fits a narrow niche - a small, simple and light music player. It's perfect for going to the gym, on a run, working in the yard, walking the dog, etc. That's it. If you want more than that, go buy a Nano or above.

Personally, I use mine for working in the yard where the lack of buttons is actually welcome. It's not something I do for hours on end and a random shuffling of music is fine. Or sometimes I just sync the music I've most recently downloaded.

The biggest downside to me is that with the controls on the earbuds, lose them and the player is rendered almost completely worthless. There will indeed be a plethora of third-party options I'm sure though.
post #66 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Putting the controls on the headphones is stupid because as someone mentioned, unless you're a woman without a bra on or a fat guy without a corset, the headphone cable jiggles around the most when jogging. The ipod itself is always fastened securely in a known position.

As multiple someones also said that the assumptions that it's harder to navigate while moving are false. In reality it's easier to use controls on the wire than on the device if attached to your person. The only way that the controls would be easier to use on the device would be in the device was in your hand.

Quote:
I think the new Shuffle is a step backwards. Adding more storage doesn't help when it's still difficult to navigate through the music. The bottom line is that you need a visual guide to navigate a lot of music tracks just like you need two physical buttons on a mouse to reliably interact with a computer. Apple's workarounds just don't cut it.

Dude! They added VoiceOver so you could navigate the library better. A voice telling you what track you are on is more useful than a single line telling you the same data. You don't have to stop to look at a really small one line display. Ever try reading a small LCD when moving? And if it's attached to your person it completely defeats the point of this device.

Quote:
Also, having an audible battery indicator would be nice too. One of my relatives has the 2G model and they say it just dies. The light changes color but only after it's dead.

So much misinformation! The Shuffles have always used the indicator light to tell you the charge. Your relative should have spent 8 seconds googling. The new Shuffle also uses VoiceOver to inform you of the battery life.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1510
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post #67 of 129
I am disappointed by the new shuffle. There was no need to update the design of the player. All they needed to do was combine the shuffle, play in order, and off button together as in the new model. I use my 2nd Gen shuffle more than my other iPod's. The new design is ugly and I love minimalism but this iPod has gone to far. They should of made the cord controls optional.
post #68 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Has the reviewer ever actually ran?
Nothing bounces or jiggles more than headphone wires. A player snapped to your waistband doesn't move at all and the 2G controls were entirely intuitive unlike this shuffle.

A player snapped to your waistband doesn't move at all?.. hahahahahahahahaha

A player snapped to your waistband move with your waist. (i know, this one is tough... it's like sitting in a moving car and thinking you are stationary.. no, you are moving at the same speed as the car)... anyway, if you photographed yourself running with a player snapped to your waistband, you would see that it moves while you are running (up and down that is). I've ran with headphones before... this is not advanced physics.. nothing happened.. i didn't melt, get annonyed or anything. only when apple does not do something that people start claiming it is hard (like apple idiotic explanation for not doing cut and paste in an iphone before)..
post #69 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_F View Post

We are obviously going to disagree, but how on earth do you control which songs you listen too on the old 2G shuffle containing 400 songs?

What I was saying is that increasing the storage makes this issue worse. The 3G improves some aspects but not enough IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_F View Post

On the 3G shuffle navigation is easy (and easier when you are on the move than walking in front of cars while gazing at a list on the nano.

You get voiceover on the nano too but it's about speed. If I have even 10 playlists, I don't want to hit a button then wait to hear the description, hit a button, hear the next description. A visual list that you can scan is so much quicker - it's like random access vs linear.

It's not only selecting a playlist by title but being able to quickly see what is in the playlist. I can select a playlist visually. You also don't gaze at the list constantly, you just select and leave it once you have the selection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_F View Post

Once manufacturers have an adaptor so you can plug it into your car it will be much safer than looking at visual playlists

The current nano can be used in a car without an adaptor. Engadget pointed this out but manufacturers pay a license fee to Apple and they'll pass it onto the consumer so shuffle plus adaptor might cost the same or more than a nano, which you can use anywhere without having to remember the adaptor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipism

The Shuffles have always used the indicator light to tell you the charge.

What my relative probably meant was that she only noticed the light had changed after the ipod stopped playing. An audible warning fixes this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipism

In reality it's easier to use controls on the wire than on the device if attached to your person.

Not for people climbing or cycling, playing tennis, golf etc where you might put the wire over your back to keep it from getting in your way. Also in winter time, you can't keep your hands in your pocket and change tracks.
post #70 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The current nano can be used in a car without an adaptor. Engadget pointed this out but manufacturers pay a license fee to Apple and they'll pass it onto the consumer so shuffle plus adaptor might cost the same or more than a nano, which you can use anywhere without having to remember the adaptor.

You don't need to get your 3.5mm headphone jack attachments certified by Apple to work with any of the new iPod, just don't expect Apple to sell it in their stores or on their website if you don't.
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post #71 of 129
This is the worst review I've read here. It reads like a MacOS Rumors review. My lord...how many pages?
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post #72 of 129
Talk about over-analysis.

It's a Shuffle. Aimed at the exercise crowd. Controls are on the earphone wires.

'nuff said.
post #73 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post

i would say less than 1% of all shuffle owners in the world use different headsets and less than 1% actually use it for more than randomly listen to music.

I just love how people randomly make up their own statistics.
post #74 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

I just love how people randomly make up their own statistics.

Oberpongo started his statement with "I would say..." which clearly makes it an opinion.
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post #75 of 129
I'm shocked no one has brought this up yet. It seems clear to me apple should have taken this concept one step further and offered voice command. While your busy running or lifting weights just speak into the built in microphone on the ear buds. Move the track forward speak "Next" or move it backwards by speaking "Previous". Additional commands could be "Pause", "Play", "Stop", and "Next Playlist". I think you get the idea. It's simple, clean, and requires absolutely no fumbling with the physical controls. Perfect for those of use for go to the gym. Or for those of us who are working on something dirty like car engine work and don't want to touch our ipod with grease. Or we're skiing down the mountain and have our hands full holding the ski poles.
post #76 of 129
Well I'm not going to take your comments too seriously, as it seems the world is topsy-turvy today in that you actually agree with "tekstud" below as you mention yourself. Also I won't bother with the usual form which is if a poster mentions the word "fan-boy" in any capacity, they usually aren't worth talking or listening to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

... Super cheap? Er no, this new shuffle costs £59. ...

To this I would only say there is cheap and there is junk. You can find calculators stuck in the end of pens but one shouldn't compare them to a calculator that one might purchase as opposed to something one might receive in a blister pack with a free pair of socks and some mouthwash at the local Tesco's.

Where I live, most people are dead cheap and a large portion of them never buy iPods for that reason alone. What they buy are usually hundred dollar players in the same general price range as shuffles that are tiny little things with a tiny LCD screen or no screen made out of plastic. This is what I see most people using on the train every day and the new shuffle fits right in that category IMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

... Easier to use? What kind of twisted logic did you use to come to that conclusion? How is clicking a button three times to skip backward (and remembering that it's three times rather than two times, one time, two and half times whilst hopping) easier than clicking once a button marked with a "skip backward" symbol?

Here I said easier because I have used them and to me, they are easier. That was like, an "opinion."

The article itself also goes on about how they are "handier" easier to get at etc. so one could also argue that they are easier in that they are more accessible. The difference between these controls and the previous generation controls is really almost negligible anyway. People making a big hoo-ha over it have likely never used it.

On the old one it's a single click to go back (on one button) and a single click on a second button to go forward. On the new one it's a double click on one button and a triple click on the same button. If you cannot master this, consult any five year old child and they can show you how it works.

In the end all they have done is change a five button control to a three button one and move it to the speaker wires. All of you that are so hot against this move are simply wrong. People already buy the shuffle in large numbers and Apple does tons of research into these things before making changes like this to it's product lines.

The odds that they discovered that moving the controls to the wires would piss people off and then went ahead anyway because of some ideological slant against buttons (which is essentially what most are arguing here), are slim to none. This thing will be really really popular and will prove all of you as wrong as you generally are when you think you know better than a group of award winning designers running one of the most successful companies in recent memory.
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post #77 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjoshuaj View Post

I'm shocked no one has brought this up yet. It seems clear to me apple should have taken this concept one step further and offered voice command. While your busy running or lifting weights just speak into the built in microphone on the ear buds. Move the track forward speak "Next" or move it backwards by speaking "Previous". Additional commands could be "Pause", "Play", "Stop", and "Next Playlist". I think you get the idea. It's simple, clean, and requires absolutely no fumbling with the physical controls. Perfect for those of use for go to the gym. Or for those of us who are working on something dirty like car engine work and don't want to touch our ipod with grease. Or we're skiing down the mountain and have our hands full holding the ski poles.

Relaying a voice of a track and artist and conveying a voice command are very different beasts. The VoiceOver is actually done by your PC prior to copying the files on the Shuffle. It creates a small audio file of the track and artist metadata. I doubt the Shuffle is sophisticated enough to process such information. If this were to come out I would imagine that will happen in the iPhone and Touch first.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #78 of 129
For the average user the Shuffle is just fine - in fact, better than fine, since the controls are now much more convenient to get to.

People who post regularly on AI are most certainly not average users. Or course, our opinions count, but we're not exactly representative of the average user.
post #79 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

it's a better product all around but if you don't like it the old one is still available?

Lot's of people do not share that view, including myself. That there is remaining stock of the old model is of little comfort. When that stock is exhausted, there will just be the hugely flawed new one, or other manufacturers products. Now there's an idea.
post #80 of 129
People still don't get it.

Shuffle is no longer positioned as "cheap iPod". Instead, it is an "exercise iPod" now.

G1 iPod was the cheap iPod for kids. G2 iPod was already moving toward as the secondary iPod for exercising. G3 is solely focused as exercise iPod. Keep in mind, the G1 iPod Shuffle 1GB costs $149, same as the lowest priced Nano right now.

Everything about the new Shuffle design is about keeping it invisible. You don't change songs when exercising. You don't care about audio/earphone/headphone quality when exercising. Instead, you want it as light as possible. You may want different style of music depending on the type of exercising, so it adds the ability to change playlist.

If you want better audio quality (cheap headphone replacement), better media management etc, get Nano or Touch. Shuffle is not designed for that. Actually, I should say "Shuffled is designed PURPOSELY NOT FOR that".

Edit: why does Apple move the controls to the earphone? Because that's the best place when you exercise. No matter where you put the iPod, the controls are easily accessible no matter what activities you are doing. For people who are exercising, the best placement is to place the iPod in the pants pocket, and run the wires inside the T-shirt. With the old Shuffle, you have to reach inside your pants pocket to change anything. The new controls are much better.

Edit: I will predict the next generation shuffle will have weather proofing.
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