My new iPod Shuffle arrived, but I didn't had time to open it up and play with it until today. In a word: it's brilliant!
Don't get me wrong, I love my original iPod (and really love the 40 gigabytes of storage) but, as small as it is, the thing can still be a little cumbersome to travel with. Usually what I end up doing is selecting a playlist, putting it on shuffle, and then dropping it in my pocket. But then you have a heavy pocket and must be careful that you don't let it fall out when you bend over, as that could be an expensive mistake.
iPod Shuffle, on the other hand, is so light-weight as to be almost unnoticeable. It comes with a lanyard that makes walking around with it safe, comfortable, and effortless.
Some people will undoubtedly bitch about the lack of a display but, since I only use the display to select a playlist on my iPod original, I don't really care (besides, that would just add size and weight). The gigabyte of memory only has room for a single playlist anyway, so I already know what I'm getting when I turn it on. Selecting a new playlist is as easy as plugging your iPod Shuffle back into your computer and dragging a different one over. There's also a cool "auto-fill" feature which will randomly grab selections from your library until the memory is full. This is a great way to re-discover songs you may have forgotten or don't play very often.
There is one downside, however: Apple decided to use a USB 2.0 connector instead of FireWire (which is what they used on all previous iPods). This wouldn't bother me except that Apple only recently began supporting USB 2.0, so not a single machine I own has it. This sucks ass, because transferring a gigabyte over USB 1.0 is slow. Really slow. Oh well, it does give the unit enough time to recharge.
Anyway, I am totally loving the iPod Shuffle. Especially since the iTunes Music Store just released Erasure's excellent new album Nightbird and Billy Idol's new pre-release single called Scream. Apple rules.
UPDATE: Now that's cool... I just noticed the shuffle/cycle settings are dynamic! All my playlists are in order by artist, so if I am listening on the "shuffle" setting, come across a song from The Cure, then decide I want to hear more from The Cure, all I have to do is switch to the "cycle" setting and play their remaining songs in order. Then I can go back to "shuffle" again with a flick of a switch! It's the attention to little details like this that makes me such an Apple whore.