Apple’s new second generation (or 2G) iPod shuffle began shipping to customers earlier this week, and is available in stores today. The aluminum 2G shuffle is about half the size of its predecessor and features a built-in clip and 1 GB of flash memory. One trade-off for the smaller size is that Apple has dropped the standard USB jack on the new model in favor of a special USB cable/dock that connects to the shuffle via a 1/8″ mini jack. Unfortunately this means that it’s no longer as convenient to use the shuffle as portable USB drive.
Early reports from 2G shuffle owners have been generally positive, with many commenting that it is smaller and lighter than they had expected. In addition, the shuffle seems to have retained the excellent sound quality of the first-generation models. On the negative side, several people have commented that the built-in clip doesn’t hold as strong as they had hoped, noting that it could easily slip off of clothing when running or exercising. Another complaint is that the 2G shuffle ships with the old-style Apple earbuds, and not the new ones that are shipping with the iPod nanos and video iPods (the old earbuds are clearly pictured with the new shuffle on Apple’s site, so I’m not quite sure I understand all of the the backlash about this). Lastly, some are disappointed the the shuffle isn’t compatible with the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. This is understandable as the size and weight of the shuffle makes it a perfect companion, but since it doesn’t feature a standard dock connector there’s no way to plug in the Nike+iPod receiver.
The most amazing thing about the new iPod shuffle is how Apple is able to refresh a product in such a way that it makes the old generation seem completely outdated. I already own a fist-generation 1GB shuffle, and I love it. And despite the fact that the new shuffle doesn’t have any new feature I need, I still feel strangely compelled to buy one. Damn you Steve Jobs… I want my life back!
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