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Apple originally released the Ipod in 2001 and it was designed to be another mp3 player to rival all the others. It proved to be hugely successful and easily out witted all its opponents. It was designed to be small and sleek compared to all the then bulky music players you had to carry around. Since the launch in 2001 Apple has sold millions of Ipods across the world and it is recognised as the ultimate in music players and is seen as somewhat of a fashion icon - there is no way you could mistake an Ipod for anything else. Apple has also released a variety of different Ipods and products to meet the needs of such a wide and diverse customer base. The range includes: Ipod Classic, the touch screen ipod Touch, the video-capable ipod Nano, the screenless ipod Shuffle and the iPhone. With there also being several older versions such as the Ipod mini.
In my family we have owned the majority of these different versions, and if we haven't personally owned one then a friend or someone has had one which I have been able to look at and use. The most recent addition to our collection has therefore been the new Ipod Shuffle and has proved to be a super small, lightweight and very simplistic music player. At first I felt it would be inferior to its sister products such as the Ipod video which has so much to offer including having videos and games. However I have been pleasantly surprised at this little gadget and it has so many advantages and it is certainly a great product even without a screen.
Screenless - good or bad?:
The most obvious difference with this Ipod shuffle to all the other versions of the Ipod is that this one has no screen. An ipod is often recognised by its trademark look with the large screen being the main part of it. So in some respects this ipod shuffle is somewhat different and moves away from the typical ipod style. It therefore also limits the functions you are able to perform such as it visually displaying the song, running time, album, and then all the other features such as games, pictures and even videos. Of course if you take into account all thee missing features it seems very much inferior to the other ipods. However it not having a screen is clearly much smaller and more compact and very simplistic. For those of you are not very technology-literate it is extremely simple to use by just turning on and listening to your music. It is great for those of you who are good with technology as well as is not the purpose of an ipod to enable you to listen to all your favourite music? With this gadget it is so simple and you can get on with other stuff while listening. There are no other distractions and do you really need all those luxury features such as games - they hardly seem to get used in my opinion.
This is by far the smallest version of the Ipod made by Apple and also the lightest only weighing 15 grams! It is very simplistic with a one colour scheme, then white at the top and the circle around the controls. The Ipod shuffle comes in a variety of different colours: Silver, Green, Blue, Pink, Orange, Mint, Turquoise, Red, and Lavender. The Ipod shuffle also acts as one large clip - as the back just pulls away and can be clipped anywhere. It is small and sleek and won't look out of place. It is great if you are planning on going for a run or to the gym as you can still listen to that great music while working out and not having to hold that Ipod but instead just clip it onto your shorts or top.
As I have already mentioned this is a very easy to use Ipod and has the minimal amount of controls with optimum usage. On the front there is the circular main control pad as seen on all Ipods with the play/pause button in the centre. On the actual circle you have skip forward or backwards and the volume up or down controls (+/-). You simply click with one finger and you can control anything. On the top of the Ipod you have the shuffle switch which can be used to either put your music on shuffle so that it will play your songs in a random order and give you loads of variety or have it as it is on itunes or your own custom playlist. This can be changed with the simple flick of the switch. The other button on top is the power button which clearly turns the ipod on or off - and you can also put it on hold so that you don't accidentally change songs while you are walking along and knock into something.
The ipod shuffle comes with a small docking station for easy charge. You simply slot the ipod into the docking station - a small white thing - standing up and plug the USB end into your computer and then it will simply charge up. This can be done when you are loading songs onto it from your computer for example. It doesn't take very long to charge and when the battery is full it will last for about 12 hours. There is also a little light on top of the ipod which will inform you of the charge level. When it is green then it has a lot of battery life, amber means you are running low, and read means stop - you have practically no battery life. This simple traffic light system is great for helping you know when you need to charge back up again.
Itunes will act as your key to managing and loading up your Ipod shuffle or any other Ipod version you may own. It will be installed when you connect you ipod to the computer or can be simply downloaded from the Apple website. Itunes is a great system by which you can manage everything that goes onto your ipod. You can put any CD you own into the disc drive on the computer and itunes will copy all the songs onto your won database and these can be put straight across onto your ipod. You can decide which songs to put on and which to delete as well s sorting out playlists and the order of your songs. There is also an itunes store where you buy loads of songs and albums from a massive list from modern pop to old classics at very reasonable prices of something around 75p a song and a couple of pounds for an album - depending on which artist or album. You can of course also download podcasts, films, games, pictures and even books from itunes - but these can't be used on the ipod shuffle. Itunes is a great customer service feature which is free to all ipod users and will not only help manage their ipod but will also give them any manufacturer support they need
As with any Iopd you purchase you get a free set of headphones. They are always in the same ipod white style and do look very stylish. They are labeled L and R so you know which plug goes in which ear. I personally find them very comfortable and easy to use with a good length of wire. They are also very strong and have never had them break. Of course replacement headphones can be bought from anywhere - I would suggest play.com or amazon.co.uk
The Ipod shuffle was originally released with a 1GB memory capacity but this newer version now comes with double the capacity of 2GB. I personally find this a much better size and can fit around 300 to 400 songs on. Of course if you only want about 150 to 200 songs then the smaller size version would be better but at only a small increase in price the 2GB version is definitely the right choice to make and will leave you listening to all those great songs for hours on end!
There are hundreds of different accessories you can purchase to enhance your little ipod shuffle. There are cool skins to protect it and a variety of cases and straps or armbands to hold it in. There is also a car charger and even a waterproof case for it! There are loads of nifty little things to get and all can be found online or in an Apple store.
£45.00 for the 2GB version from play.com
£32.00 for the 1GB version play.com
Of course for double the memory size it only costs an extra £12 so is definitely worth it.
The Ipod shuffle may not have all the extra features as other versions but is certainly a great little music player that serves its purpose. It looks cool, can be clipped on to your shorts while in the gym and comes in a variety of colours - what more could you want?