Bill Day writes about Apple’s newest iPod:
The Shuffle epitomizes Freeman Dysons comment that A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. The Shuffle is a flash based MP3 player, sans bells and whistles of any sort, with a clean and simple design. It is very small and light and has pretty good battery life too. It derives much of its simplicity (and no doubt quite a bit of its battery performance) from the extraordinarily streamlined interface. Namely, the lack of an interface, or rather more precisely the lack of a graphical interface.
Everybody else in the MP3 player business is poo pooing Shuffles screenlessness. But no screen = no LCD battery drain + a very simple control pad. Without a screen the Shuffle is smaller and can undercut the price of other leading similarly sized flash based players.
Apples realized that many people who use their iPod (mega?) or some other hard drive based player right up to and including a laptop or desktop may want another device, very cheap and very simple, for times when a bigger more capable solution isnt required or appropriate. Price and weight+size, for a given memory capacity, become key.
Chris Andersen adds: “In provacateur mode, I described it as a ‘value subtract’ product, arguing that the lack of a display would limit its success.”