I’ve had a love affair with music since I was a kid. I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a huge piece of my life. And because of that, I love running with music.
A long time ago, I picked up a tiny little iPod, the iPod Shuffle (2nd Generation) to carry music with me when I went cycling or traveling. I loved that little thing, and it still works very, very well to this day.
However, as I’ve started to do more running, I’ve discovered that you cannot control that model of Shuffle with the on-cable controls — no volume adjustments, next/previous track, etc. When I’m running, I’ll find that a particular track at a particular time doesn’t hit me quite right, and I wanna skip it. Sometimes, I’ll find a track that was so good with my pace that I wanna repeat it. While you can do that from the front of the Shuffle, you sorta have to fiddle with it on your waistband or pocket, and that’s a little distracting to me.
As I started to research, I got tangled up between the newer iPod Nano (I have an older one of those too!) and the newer Shuffle. The new Shuffle pays attention to those on-cable controls and is really teeny, but the new Nano had Bluetooth for headphones. I even bought some new Bluetooth running headphones to see if I could get them to fit my earholes and get used to them. No deal. You see, I love my Bose sport earbuds, despite being cabled. They fit my ears like they were custom made for them, and ultimately, that’s what made my decision easy. Shuffleland, here I came.
A few things of note. First off, the price now is about half what I paid for my first Shuffle. They both only sport 2GB of storage, but with an option in iTunes, you can “down convert” files to 128kb/s, putting more music in the small space. Even at 128kb/s, the audio quality is fine for my old ears when I’m out running or riding, and 2GB has always given me plenty of variety when I’m out putting trails behind me.
I’ve had this little thing for a couple of weeks now, and I really love it. It’s teency, even smaller than the previously diminutive Shuffle. This time, I even got it engraved at the factory. The only complaint I have about the engraving is that it is really, really small, and is more like a printed message, making it very hard to see. Still, I know it’s there, and that’s a good thing. 🙂
I was struck with the reduction in the size of the packaging. In the photo, you can see the difference in size between the little plastic coffins these two devices were shipped in. Apple’s gone to some lengths to minimize the amount of packaging in many of their products, and it really shows with the tiny little box for the new one. One casualty of that move — you only get one Apple sticker, instead of two.
The charging system has also gotten smaller. With the second generation device, there was a long cable and a little dock. The new Shuffle has a little pigtail cable that plugs directly into the headphone plug. I kinda like that, especially given that I’ll be traveling with this one to races around the country. In fairness, it is a little awkward to plug into the back of a Mac or iMac, but works great with my MacBook or a USB hub.
So, after a couple of weeks of putting it through its paces, I think I’ve decided this new little piece of gear is a keeper. Hopefully, it’ll last as long as my first Shuffle!