Apple's iPod shuffle sales have been brisk, and it's the sleeper hit of the holiday season. There are good reasons why this is happening, all of them having to do with features of the shuffle that can each be found elsewhere, but none all on one player.
Why all the commotion over the lowly, simple shuffle? Here are the top five reasons why you might choose it over the nano, or any other digital audio player, for that matter, especially if you're interested in active outdoor activities this winter:
1. It has a clip on it. This is better than a lanyard, because you can clip it wherever you want: on your shirt sleeve, on your lapel, on a pocket, on your earlobe, and even on the zipper flap of a jacket.
2. Its controls are not touch-sensitive like the nano. If you've been out on a walk in the cold weather, you'll know that the nano can't be controlled with a gloved hand. Not so with the shuffle, which can be easily manipulated with even the thickest gloves on. Great for cold weather outdoor activities.
3. It's tiny. It's hard to imagine just how small the shuffle is until you've held one in your hand. It's literally the size of a postage stamp. It's 1 5/8" wide and 1 1/16" tall and it's 3/8" thick including the clip. Sure, there's no screen, but if you have a playlist in a particular order, or a lineup of podcasts you want to hear on a long walk, who cares?
4. It's cheap. At $79, it lowers the barrier of entry to using the iPod complement of features, the best of which is the iTunes Music Store which has a tremendous selection of DRM music that's easily cracked, and the whole system works well with all of Apple's players.
5. It's not a Zune. If you're thinking of giving a digital audio player as a gift, few people ever get pissed off because they received an iPod. Its graceful unboxing experience alone is enough to warm the cockles of even the coldest Apple hater's heart.
Review: Apple iPod Shuffle (2nd Generation) [Consumer Electronics Net]