You might as well call the second-generation Apple iPod Shuffle "the iPod Microscopic." Still screenless, the silver anodized-aluminium iPod Shuffle is, according to Steve Jobs, the smallest MP3 player in the world. While we can't confirm this claim just yet, we can say that this "wearable" player continues the Shuffle tradition of blind control while listening to music. While we aren't huge fans of a screenless MP3 player, this model will definitely appeal to those who like their players small, cheap (1GB, $79), and easy to use.
The new iPod Shuffle, which features gapless playback, measures 1.62 by 1.07 by 0.41 inches and weighs just 0.55 ounces. It is extremely durable and scratch resistant and the power and "shuffle" switches are tiny but easy to use. However, it does not have an integrated USB interface, as the previous one did. Instead, you'll have to use the tiny bundled USB dock.
The Shuffle has a built-in clip, so naturally it will be worn, often as a fashion item. It will have a rated 12 hours of battery life, which is actually still disappointing. At this price point, there is stiff competition from the likes of Sony, Samsung, and SanDisk, all of whom have players with screens and more features. However, Apple's style and simplicity will make the new Shuffle an excellent stocking stuffer. It will be available in October.
Pros: Super compact and wearable; simple tactile control; gapless audio playback; nice price.
Cons: No display; no integrated USB; rated battery life is subpar, especially for an audio only device.