“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

iPod Shuffle – Can’t choose?

Ta Da! … Introducing the new, none-more-white, iPod Shuffle by Appleclick here

image Ok, dang is it small. Size of a trident pack according to the picture. I would also say it is quite affordable at 512mb for $100. But there is definitely something major missing. I mean, look at it. There is NO screen.

image Well, in September someone predicted the next generation iPod woudl have NO interface. And in January, just 4 months later, that prediction practically came true. There is volume, forward/back, play/pause and that’s about it. You can’t find a song, or an album. There are no play lists. It just gets loaded up from iTunes, scrambles it up and then plays the music in a shuffled mix.

What’s funny, is that is sorta what I do manually right now. I put music types into playlists and generally listen to them on shuffle, but I can’t imagine that the perception of limitation alone won’t be enough to scare people away from this contraption even if they would use it that way. It just seems to limiting. While I really wish the 1GB version was around when I was looking, I do think that w/o the screen I would have seriously had to pass.

In all fairness, it isn’t completely disorderly. You can do some pre-setup in iTunes, but once you get on the iPod Shuffle train, you can’t see where you are in context to the songs and you can’t move around between things. You can decide whether or not shuffle or in order is what you want. See, your playlist that you load from can be played in order, or it can be shuffled.

As an interaction designer though, I have to ask if this is really what makes sense. My answer goes to thinking about what I had before I had the iPod. I used an MP3 CD player, where I through 150+ songs onto a CD-R that I ripped every so often and either played straight through or on random. What you might call a screen, was 5 digits and counted the “album #” which was calculated based on the number of folders and then a track number for the number that song was in that folder. No song titles or album titles or artists–Dang! am I spoiled or what!

But isn’t that exactly it. We expect more from an iPod than a CD, no? I mean, is small enough? I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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