New Gear – Apple iPod Shuffle

Ever since the redesign of the iPod Shuffle in September 2006 from a remote-control-looking, lanyard-hanging plastic design to the smooth metal clip-on design, I’ve had a tough time resisting them. Functional and small, they seemed perfect for walking, hiking and cycling, and much less prone to damage if I happened to be involved in something that damaged me. 🙂

However, I’d been resisting the little player. My primary iPod is a fifth gen 80GB iPod, and I love the thing dearly. I’m not a big fan of the plastic front, but still, I rely on the thing to flavor my day, and make my walks and rides much more enjoyable. However, I’ve been concerned about damaging it during a fall or spill on my bike. I mean, the thing does have a hard drive in it, after all!

And that’s where the allure of the Shuffle lies. A little device, very survivable, and light to boot. But…. 1GB? Typically, I don’t know what I want to listen to at any given moment, which is why the 5G iPod is great for me. I can carry my whole library with me, and decide on-the-fly what music strikes my fancy. Some mornings are Pink Floyd mornings; some are Tiffany, ya know? Fer sure. 🙂

Last week, Apple dropped the price on the Shuffle from $79 to $49, which suddenly broke the paralyzing logjam for me, and I was all hot to get one. A D-note priced Shuffle was hard to avoid, and I had myself in a rationalized lather, ready to pull the trigger on one. It’s then that one of my grilling buddies pointed out that a 2GB version was in the wings, and only $20 more to double the space. OK, so that’s a no brainer.

Well, a little more rationalization, and Becky and I wound up in the Apple Store yesterday, with me deciding to save myself $20 and the torment of waiting for the new 2GB device. Now, the Apple Store at West County Mall has reconfigured itself, so there is no real place to checkout, or queue up to buy something that an Appleminion has to go to the storeroom to retrieve. You just have to look interested in buying something, create the scent of immediate purchase, and suddenly someone will show up to assist you. We did that, and presto! Someone appeared to retrieve a Shuffle from the back of the store.

I told our waitperson that I wanted a Product RED Shuffle. While there may be better ways to help the Product RED cause, I was gonna buy the Shuffle anyway, so why not do a little social good while putting money in Steve Jobs coat. At this point our salesperson pointed out that there was a 2GB model also available. Whhhaaaaaatt? She then proceeds to tell us that she saw them in the back of the store, and conveniently, the only ones she saw were the Product RED versions. I think I hesitated about a nanosecond, and told her to proceed with the 2GB product. I rang out, and merrily rode home, inwardly chuckling at all the rationalization chits I wasted on this purchase.

I hadn’t heard that the 2GB product was supposed to be available yet, and sure ’nuff, as I look on the Apple Store site this morning, there’s no mention of it. Do I have a product pre-release? Maybe. I do know I’m enjoying it.

So, with 2GB of storage on the Shuffle, I can put about 24 hours of music on the device, and I’m randomly selecting music from my highest rated music in iTunes. What I’m finding is that I’m enjoying the freedom from figuring out what I wanna listen to during my random listening times — exercise, work, etc. I don’t believe that the Shuffle will replace my 5G iPod, but I’m finding that this little thing is much convenient than I would’ve ever given it credit for.