Shuffle's on to dress up baby iPod

The $99 iPod Shuffle targets a wide demographic--and add-on makers are seeing big opportunity.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read
The shuffle to accessorize Apple Computer's smallest iPod is on.

Add-on maker XtremeMac on Friday debuted more than a dozen accessories for the iPod Shuffle, ranging from auto accessories like a car charger and an FM transmitter to aesthetic enhancements such as Bumperz--colored silicon bands that go around the flash music player.

After seeing Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduce the iPod Shuffle at Macworld in January, XtremeMac CEO Gary Bart saw a hit in the making and quickly headed off to China to ready a slew of add-ons.

"The development of such an extensive line of new iPod Shuffle accessories just six weeks after its launch at Macworld shows our determination and commitment to being the iPod accessory leader," Bart said in a statement.

Among other XtremeMac products are clips and hooks to hold the Shuffle, and SportWrap, a moisture-resistant armband. The accessories, which range in price from $13 to $50, will all be available in March, the company said.

Another accessory maker has seized on an opportunity created earlier this week, when Apple announced that it will no longer include a FireWire cord with its iPod Mini and iPod Photo devices. Griffin Technology announced plans Thursday for the Dock400--a new, 4-foot FireWire cord that will sell for $18, a buck less than Apple charges for its cord.

The iPod accessory market is already red-hot, as retailers that don't even carry the player rush to stock add-ons to cash in on the craze. Bart noted that the Shuffle represents an even broader opportunity, as the player--which sells for as little as $99--appeals to the masses.

"The iPod Shuffle has extended the reach of the iPod into nearly every demographic," Bart said.

But while some are looking to add on to the iPod, others are ready to take it apart. Market research firm IDC published a report this week on its experience taking apart the player. The disassembly confirmed what had been widely speculated--that the player is powered by a controller chip from semiconductor maker SigmaTel.