Well, I did it. I went and bought one.see?
Yup, I bought an iPod Shuffle. It's a one gig. I actually got it about 2 weeks ago.
When the Shuffle first came out, I didn't think a whole lot of it. It seemed like a niche product targeted to a niche that I didn't need. After all, I owned a 10 gig iPod - one of the original firewire only models - so why would I want one that was 1/10th the size?
Then I started walking in hopes of losing some weight. Not a whole lot of walking - around 45 minutes a day- but I didn't want to lug my fragile and bulky iPod with me, so I bought a Shuffle. It's tiny - I can barely feel it in my pocket, not like the larger iPod, and it fits easily into a gym bag, bookbag, pocket, ect.
I've found myself using it in all the places that I normally used the bigger iPod - car, around the house while I'm doing laundry or washing dishes, ect. The fact is, I usually listen to the same songs - new ones or old favorites- so I put them on the Shuffle. And contrary to what some people who don't bother reading think, you can play your playlists on the Shuffle - you don't have
to put it on Shuffle mode, and don't. Nor have I really felt the need for a screen - I'm putting songs I like on there, so they are ones I know and don't need to know the name of. And I'm not scrolling through 4000 songs like I am with my bigger 'pod.
In fact, I haven't used my original pod since I got the shuffle, and I'm considering eBaying it - although I may pull it out on my 4 hour drive to NJ this weekend for Easter.
The Shuffle has been everything I want. I can't say the same for the newest version of iTunes, 4.7.1, which I had to install on my Windows machine (which is my primary machine and the machine I sync my iPods with, since it has all my illicit MP3's on it's 360gb of hard drives. When I upgraded to 4.7.1, it destroyed my iTunes playlist. It rebuilt it, but I usually sort by date, and since all the songs were "added" to the rebuilt playlist on the same day, I can't do that anymore. I also usually drag songs to the iPod to iTunes from a My Computer window (I have dual monitors, so I keep iTunes on one monitor and an Explorer window open on the other). The Shuffle won't let me, even though my 2 year old iPod did. Apple's help tells me to go into the preferences dialog and make sure that manual mode is checked. When I go there, I don't see that option.
I can add songs by dragging them from the playlist to the Shuffle, but I like doing it the way I've done it in the past better. Also, transfers have been super-slow, although that may be my crappy $3-after-rebate aLi/IOGear USB 2.0 card. I bought a better, NEC-chipset card, but I haven't felt like disassembling my PC to install it of late.
So the verdict? Love the shuffle. iTunes needs work.