CNET's official, rated review of the third-generation Apple iPod Shuffle is up and ready for your perusal. I never thought it would be tough to review an MP3 player without any buttons on it, but the experience wasn't as cut and dry as you'd expect. In some ways, Apple's new Shuffle may just be the most intriguing MP3 player I review all year, even if its design paradoxically bores me to tears. You have to admire the sleight of hand Apple pulled off by adding song ID and playlist navigation to the Shuffle, while at the same time removing its tried and true navigation pad. I'm not crazy about the result, but the concept is fascinating.
The CNET review covers the nitty-gritty, but I'm here to offer a few of my own personal observations after spending a day with Apple's new Shuffle. Here's a list of ways the Shuffle surprised me.
Vanishing act. Over the course of just one day, I must have lost the Shuffle at least four times--just sitting at my desk. Nicole Lee can vouch for this. She heard all my screams from the other side of the cubicle. Now, I expected this thing would be easy to lose, but the surprising part is that the Shuffle's tiny size was only part of the problem.
The Shuffle's resemblance to a USB stick probably threw me the most. Since I typically have at least two or three thumb drives scattered on my desk at any given time, the addition of a nondescript black or silver $80 Shuffle is easy to dismiss.
Jasmine would actually wear it. If you've ever seen a First Look video from my MP3 cohort Jasmine France, you can get a sense of how much this girl likes fashion. I wouldn't have thought in a million years that she'd go for the new Shuffle's muted, stoic design, but it turned out to be her favorite feature. I guess there's something to be said for wearable tech that just blends in, and doesn't draw attention to itself. What's not surprising: I still don't understand women. … Read more