The iPod Shuffle is the iPod least like its companions. The Shuffle's always been designed primarily for exercisers who need a very small, very light iPod with few features but enough storage to keep a workout going. As a result, the Shuffle is tiny (shorter than a stick of gum), light (.44 ounces), and doesn't have any superfluous features. Still, it's a solid iPod for its target uses.
The Shuffle has also inspired competitors in the ultra-portable MP3 player space, though competitors tend to offer lower prices and small screens.
iPod Shuffle Models
The iPod Shuffle debuted in January 2005 and has been updated roughly every year and a bit since. The models are:
1st Generation - Offered buttons on its face and a built-in USB port in its bottom.
2nd Generation - The Shuffle got smaller and squatter with this model, which came in multiple colors.
3rd Generation - A radical reinvention of the Shuffle. This model does away with buttons on the iPod, instead offering controls on the headphone cord.
4th Generation - A return to the form of the 2nd Generation nano. It's very similar to that earlier model.
Over the years, iPod Shuffle models have sported a number of different kinds of hardware. The most recent models have included the following hardware features:
Memory - The iPod Shuffle uses solid state Flash memory to store music.
Headphone controls - The 3rd generation Shuffle had no controls on the body of the device itself and instead was controlled by a small remote on the headphone cord. The 4th generation model add buttons back, but still also responds to the remote control.
Otherwise, the Shuffle has been unique for not including many things standard on other iPods, like a screen and a dock connector.
Buying an iPod Shuffle
- Is the iPod Shuffle, or another iPod, right for you?
- How can you find a cheap iPod Shuffle (other than buying used)?
- Of course, iPod Shuffles are pretty low-cost as it is.
- What accessories should you buy with an iPod Shuffle?
- Are you interested in the AppleCare extended warranty?
To help you in your buying decision, check out these reviews:
- 4th generation iPod Shuffle
- 3rd generation iPod Shuffle
- Video review of 3rd Generation Shuffle
- iPod accessory reviews
Setup and Use
Once you've gotten your new iPod Shuffle, you'll need to set it up. The set up process is pretty easy and quick, and once you've completed it, you can get to the good stuff, like:
- Adding your own music
- Buying music at iTunes (or other online music stores)
- Creating playlists for the Shuffle
- All of which may lead you to wonder if shuffle mode is truly random.
If you bought an iPod Shuffle to upgrade from another iPod or MP3 player, there may be music on your old device that you want to transfer to your computer before setting up your Shuffle. There are a few ways to do this, but the easiest is probably by using third-party software.
Controlling the 3rd Generation iPod Shuffle
Because the Shuffle lacks a screen or buttons, it's not like other iPods - and is controlled in other ways, too. The headphone-based controls require learning a number of new things:
- How to Control the Third-Generation Shuffle
- Using third-party headphones
- Understanding the battery-charging process
iPod Shuffle Help
The iPod Shuffle is a pretty simple device to use, for the most part. You may run into a few instances in which you need troubleshooting tips, such as:
- How to restart an iPod Shuffle
- How to update an iPod Shuffle's software
- How to restore the Shuffle to factory settings
If those don't help, you may want to check out your iPod Shuffle's manual for other tips.
Later in its life, you may start to notice some degradation of the Shuffle's battery life. When that time comes, you’ll need to decide whether to buy a new MP3 player or look into battery replacement services.
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