Wednesday, January 12, 2005

WSJ.com - The Mossberg Solution: Test-Driving the $99 iPod

WSJ.com - The Mossberg Solution: Test-Driving the $99 iPod: "I can understand the allure of shuffle play, and of carrying around just a subset of your music. I most frequently use my larger iPods on Shuffle mode. And, like most people, I play favorite songs more often than others, even though my whole music collection is loaded on my bigger iPod.
But, the lack of a screen on the Shuffle would bug me, personally. I really enjoy seeing the song information while I play music. It's one of the big advantages digital music players have over playing CDs. Of course, joggers and others who listen to music while they work out won't miss the screen, because they are rarely in a position to watch it, and the fact that the Shuffle is small and lacks a delicate hard disk will make exercising with it appealing.
There are a few design downsides to the iPod Shuffle. The lack of a screen means you can't use playlists of collected songs on it, because you have no way to select such a list. For many people, play lists are a key part of the iPod experience.
The Shuffle also lacks many of the extra features of the bigger iPods, such as various equalization settings for music playback, and the ability to display calendar and contact information.
And I found the three-way mode button on the back difficult to move. I was forced to press it so tightly that I often tripped the playback controls on the other side.
Still, this is a good product that will enlarge the iPod's appeal, especially with kids, people on low budgets, or people who work out. I imagine some existing iPod owners will also buy Shuffles as sort of add-on players. And the iPod juggernaut will roll on."
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