Mars

In the great tradition begun by Jeff, I’d just like to say, “Say hello to my little friend.” Every Apple employee was given a free 1 GB iPod shuffle yesterday. w00ts are in order.

Pic of my iPod shuffle

I think everyone who gets an iPod shuffle has to introduce it with a blurry (optionally cellphone camera-produced) shot of their left hand holding the unopened box. That would be great. Thanks.

I named my first iPod “Apollo” after the god of music, since mine holds all the music I’ve ever owned, and then some. This iPod is named “Mars” after the god of war, because I think it’s the most aggressive little product we’ve ever released. I love this little thing. It’s actually really refreshing to not know what’s coming next, or sometimes, to not even know what’s playing right now and have to really listen to it instead of allowing the iPod’s screen give you an easy answer.

When I’m wearing it on its lanyard I tend to keep it under my outer shirt and over my t-shirt because I don’t like the tangle of white cords showing. It looks messy. But it’s still really easy to operate because I can feel the button placement through my sweatshirt (or whatever I’m wearing). So when I pause or skip a track, it looks like I’m pressing an invisible button on my sternum. Maybe some day Apple will make a shuffle that has direct integration with biological life-forms. Sweet. Until then, lanyards are OK.

6 Comments

  1. eddie
    Posted February 4, 2005 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    That “I ate i Pod Shuffle” is great! There are some great allusions. What I loved best was making direct links to the references. I never even thought of using that aspect of the internet for poetry before. That’s be perfect if there’s something that most people might not know; you could just make a link to a site that explained to what you referring. Wonderful!

  2. Neal
    Posted February 4, 2005 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I’m confused as to how this thing works. You just put some songs on there from iTunes, and it only shuffles through them all? Frankly, I don’t really get it. I’d like to have all my music, and the iPod shuffles too.

  3. Posted February 4, 2005 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Eddie, I agree, the poem rocks. I found it and added the link several hours after I originally posted this entry, but it’s so good I hope everyone reads it.

    Neal, the iPod shuffle’s functionality is a subset of the regular iPod’s functionality, so you’re not going to be able to do something with iPod shuffle that you can’t do with regular iPod (except maybe comfortably wear it around your neck on that lanyard, or some such thing).

    The entire concept behind iPod shuffle is to make a digital music player for people who want the cheapest, smallest, best deal out there. The real reason it’s lacking a screen is probably twofold. 1) Screens make the machine cost too much, and 2) A tiny screen for a tiny player would be difficult to read and use. You’d have to be constantly leaning in and squinting just to read it.

    Beyond that, once you have a screen you have the concept of “navigation” because on the regular iPod you can navigate to any particular song you want, and play that one at any time very easily. If picking an exact song you must listen to right now is something you insist on from your digital music player, the iPod shuffle is not what you want. Get a bigger iPod for that.

    Here’s the thing, though. Depending on how you think about it, the iPod shuffle’s lack of screen can be considered to be a feature of a larger idea. (In walks the marketing department. 🙂 If the iPod shuffle has no screen, then you don’t know what’s going to come next, or perhaps even what you’re even listening to right now, even though it’s from your own library. A lot of people enjoy listening to their music on shuffle (I know I do) so why not have the shuffling be the central idea? You don’t know what’s coming next. Life is random. Give chance a chance. Etc. 240 songs is enough for most people to listen to in one day (that’s about 16 hours of music on the 1 GB version!) so they’re giving people the option of allowing iTunes to grab a random sample of your library (or any playlist you choose) and just throw it on there, much like “Party Shuffle” in iTunes. If you want, you can customize exactly what’s on your shuffle. But you don’t have to.

    Is the idea clearer now?

  4. Posted February 4, 2005 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Oh, I should add that with the iPod shuffle, you still have the option of playing straight through a playlist without shuffling, or playing in shuffle mode. So it doesn’t force you to shuffle. It just encourages it. 🙂 You could meticulously arrange the music on the device in an exact order and listen to it in that order, and it would be perfectly capable of that.

  5. Posted February 5, 2005 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I love the Nutella and Lime part. Heh heh.

  6. Posted February 7, 2005 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Yes! The pic trend is catching on! Seriously though, this thing kicks butt. My other iPod just spins tracks for my morning shower. Shuffle is the greatest feature I never knew I loved until I tried it. Honestly, it is like having my own personal theme music that no one else can hear.