The new iPod Thimble!
The new shuffle now features the ability to talk to you as well, which is a clever/necessary/gimmicky (take your pick) way to offset the fact it has pretty much no interface. I’d be interested to see how well this works, or if it’s just annoying. The new shuffle now comes in silver or black aluminum.
From what it appears, you must use the earbuds that come with it, because the controls are on the earbud cord itself. I’m not sure what I think of this. Lots of people have a very personal relationship with their earbuds, and I think it’s key to allow people to use earbuds of their own choosing. I’ve got to give credit to Apple, though – when they do something so bold as to force you to use their own earbuds exclusively, they at least give you a compelling reason why you should. It doesn't hurt that forcing the use of the iconic white earbuds is a marketing coup for Apple as well.
There is an ironic thing about the direction Apple is going with some of their UI, though...they are eliminating buttons, but adding all sorts of clicking schemes to offset the lack of buttons. Short click, long click, double click, click and keep holding...is that really better than just having a couple more buttons? It’s funny to me, because the reason Jobs & Company always said they wanted the one button mouse is because two buttons confused the user...they never knew when to use which button. Well, at least in that case they could see the options...if you don’t read the manual (and who does), I’m sure lots of people will not even realize what various types of clicks this new controller has, because they will assume it has only one button, when in reality, it has multiple buttons, depending on how you click it.
I thought this new iPod thimble was pretty cool, and then, when I told my wife “Hey, Apple announced a new iPod Shuffle like the one you have, except this one is even smaller.” She responded immediately with a simple “Why?”
I still haven’t come up with an answer to her...