So why is the iPod shuffle better?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
I'm confused here, or maybe I'm just missing something. In his Keynote, Steve Jobs complains that the problem with the other flash based players is that they have a tiny display, no click wheel, and a horrible user interface. So what's the solution? Something with a display so tiny it doesn't exist and no click wheel. Didn't he just present the exact same thing he was complaining was the problem?? What am I missing here? What makes the shuffle so much better than the other flash based players other than it can play iTunes AAC? It holds 140 songs and then plays them in some random order? That's it? That's what is going to dominate in the flash market? How does that work?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    iTunes and its new Autofill feature.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    It is a bit silly.



    But I think you could interpret it like this: other players are trying to do something - navigate tracks - that they're too small to do well. So let's leave that type of navigation to the HDD iPods, and let the flash iPod stick to a more simplified approach.



    Sometimes getting rid of features improves a product, if those features make the product difficult to use. I'm not at all convinced that I personally could live without better navigation, but we'll see if people like it.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    pesipesi Posts: 424member
    it is called an iPod. and it works with the iTunes Music Store.



    that is why it's better.



    really.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Quote:

    Originally posted by pesi

    it is called an iPod. and it works with the iTunes Music Store.



    that is why it's better.



    really.




    Ok, valid point. Then why doesn't Steve say that the problem with all other flash players is that they don't work with the iTunes music store? Why point out two flaws in a player and then a minute later show off your product which has the exact same flaws??
  • Reply 5 of 11
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Baron von Smiley

    Ok, valid point. Then why doesn't Steve say that the problem with all other flash players is that they don't work with the iTunes music store? Why point out two flaws in a player and then a minute later show off your product which has the exact same flaws??



    He didn't say "no screen" is bad, he only said "tiny screens" were bad.



    3rd party MP3 players got smaller but so too did their screens, often too small to really be useful.



    So Apple went further. Removing the screen means not needing to scroll, hence no (scroll) wheel.



    Instead of a tiny, nearly useless display, they made a pro-active design choice, get rid of the display (save battery power), make the navigation simpler which allows ease of use for a huge audience, namely people exercising or otherwise physically too busy to look at the display and scroll to select songs.



    It of course plays songs in order too, but since shuffling on an iPod became a cultural phenomenon, they capitalized on it. Like it or not it's true - everyone was writing about the novel, serendipitous juxtapositioning that iPod's shuffle feature was allowing. (Sure other players have shuffle but not the market share. So shuffle = iPod in most people's minds, true or not.)



    Since iPod Shuffle cannot hold as much music as a traditional iPod, the iTunes auto-shuffle feature allows a varied mix of songs to be loaded. If you only loaded 3 artists and 4 albums, the mix isn't as dynamic. Hence the auto shuffle which draws from your computer's entire Library, not merely what the iPod Shuffle itself can hold.



    It is entirely valid for Steve Jobs to say the regular iPods are great, with good sized, bright screens, and that ipod Shuffle is great because you don't need to look at it while you use it.



    The 3rd party MP3 players he is dissing have smaller than-regular ipod screens. Like 1-3 lines. They suck, mostly. He's saying have a decent sized display or don't bother having one at all.



    The use-cases for each iPod are all different (with a lot of overlap, to their delight).
  • Reply 6 of 11
    I'm not sure if you're trying to miss the point or asking a genuine question but...



    The shuffle doesn't have a cramped tiny screen, it has no screen. And it doesn't have a barely functional scroll-wheel rip-off either, in fact it has no 'analog' controls at all. There's a subtle difference there that you're not seeing.



    And the reason it doesn't have a screen or a scrollwheel is because it doesn't need a screen or a scrollwheel and that is because it doesn't let you navigate through long lists of tracks/albums/artists.



    If you really want to complain about it, complain that it won't let you arrange your 250 favourite songs into a range of playlists to suit your every mood and listen to individual artists/albums/genres on a whim in shuffle or album shuffle mode, because that's what had to be removed to give low-end flash players the Apple touch.



    (Note that the iPod brand, white headphones, iTunes, AAC and iTMS also add something in roughly that order of importance, but that wasn't the original question)
  • Reply 7 of 11
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Baron von Smiley

    Ok, valid point. Then why doesn't Steve say that the problem with all other flash players is that they don't work with the iTunes music store? Why point out two flaws in a player and then a minute later show off your product which has the exact same flaws??



    No they are not the same.



    Having no display is different than having a crappy LCD screen.



    The shuffle lack of a LCD makes no pretense of navigating your music thus it does not become a crutch. As for the click wheel..well Stevie needed at least one more point :P



    The shuffle doesn't have to be better. It just has to be available for people that want to use iTunes. Pesi is correct then. The selling feature is having access to the worlds best download service. That shouldn't be a hard sell.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    KISS
  • Reply 9 of 11
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    I think Apple was quite intelligent with the Shuffle in that if you want a low cost music player to listen to a random assortment of music, and a lot of people do just want that, it is very hard to beat it.



    If you want more you can move to one of their HD players.



    Apple has really decided they want people exposed to their products.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    I think the shuffle has a good balance of features for it's price point.



    It isn't that having no screen is neccessarily better. Rather, that a small screen is of such low utility that money, battery-life, and device size are more desireable.



    At some point the optimal tradeoff may change as screens become considerably cheaper, thinner, and lower powered.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by stupider...likeafox

    (Note that the iPod brand, white headphones, iTunes, AAC and iTMS also add something in roughly that order of importance, but that wasn't the original question)



    Interestingly, I don't really care about any of those items. Even so I think iPod Shuffle is an interesting product. This is everything I can think of I would like to see in a music player:



    - PRICE - low

    - no cumbersome dock - standard connector, FW or USB2.0

    - no batteries that have to be replaced

    - good/great runtime

    - doubles as storage device that you plug in - no drivers

    - controls usable without looking

    - simple and rugged so will be okay in a jacket pocket

    - can transport lots of music, and seek to a few different points depending on mood/location

    - can record discussion via microphone (line in)

    - Bluetooth (for previous + headphones.. though I don't know if BT has sufficient bandwidth for good audio)



    iPod Shuffle fills perfectly the top half of this list till the "seek" feature which is not there. (Does it work on Windows as a disk without drivers, by the way?)

    iPod Mini adds the "seek" feature but the price is unacceptable for me (+-0 in total standing), and the recording feature is still not there either.

    Of these two, I think Shuffle is closer to the player I'd be ready to buy. I have, and have never had, a portable music player.
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