The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: Pricetags Get Smaller at Apple: "The Apple spin, however, involves the iPodization of the flash player. And that begins with its looks: this tiny, sleek player resembles a couple of sticks of Juicy Fruit entombed in shiny white plastic. It weighs less than an ounce. It comes with a white lanyard to complement the famous white iPod earbuds. And it can also work as a tiny hard drive for transporting computer files.
Also like the larger iPods, this one syncs effortlessly with the free iTunes jukebox software for Mac or Windows. It plays songs you've bought from the iTunes Music Store but not from other commercial pop-music sites. (Of course, it also plays songs you've copied from your own CD collection and other non-copy-protected music.)
The terrific AutoFill button, new in iTunes, can intelligently stock the iPod Shuffle with a fresh set of 120 or 240 songs - favoring those you've rated highly, if you like - each time you connect it. The word 'Shuffle' in the name refers both to its ability to play its songs in random order and to the serendipity of finding a different set of songs on it each time you sally forth.
Another improvement over other flash players: the iPod Shuffle gets its power from a built-in rechargeable 12-hour battery, rather than a steady diet of AAA's. It recharges when it's plugged into a computer.
Will the radical Mini sink like the Apple's previous squarish marvel of miniaturization, the Macintosh Cube? Conversely, will so many people pounce on this tasty morsel that it cannibalizes sales of other Mac models?
That's for the market - and the marketers - to decide. One thing, though, is for sure. The iPod Shuffle and the Mac Mini are bold attempts to shatter the common wisdom that Apple makes gorgeous, expensive things. For the first time in its history, Apple has begun to make gorgeous, inexpensive things."