Steve Jobs dream – iPod without buttons

Apple today updated its online store with a new Shuffle, the third generation of the matchbook sized iPod.

We will of course pause to allow readers to salivate over it (or not).


With that out of the way, the obvious change is, no buttons. None. The Apple community has long suspected that Jobs hates buttons, but with this 3rd generation Shuffle our suspicions were validated. The thing has only a headphone jack, and the power/shuffle switch. The controls are left to the earphones, and soon Apple will release a small adapter with 3 buttons on it allowing users to connect any headphones they wish to the device.

The second most significant change, the device has 4GB storage now. There doesn’t seem to be any other model, it’s just the 4GB Shuffle and the price is $79. However in the past, Apple has eventually dropped the price of the higher Shuffle model and introduced a larger capacity model at the original price point, so perhaps the 4GB model will end up being $49 and Apple will introduce an 8GB model some time in the near future.

Apple has also added VoiceOver to the device, similar to the 4th generation iPod Nano. Apples online store page has audio examples of what the device sounds like when reading you playlist and song names.

So what do readers think? Is Apple crazy or do users really want an iPod that only comes out of your pocket to charge and sync?

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  • Alex

    I like the idea of the new shuffle. However I am one of those users whose ears are not suitable for earbuds. With the controls for the Shuffle on the earbuds I am excluded from using the new Shuffle as is anyone who can not or does not wish to use the iconic white earbuds 🙁
    And buying an adapter for $25 for a $75 unit is going to be ridiculous

  • SomeOne

    Using the older earphone foams has helped me get those earbuds to fit better.

    And, note that several 3rd parties have announced support for the in-line remote via their own products:

  • Leroy J.

    Two thumbs down!

    This is the beginning of Apples downfall.

    simpletext voices are horrible.

  • Doug Hall

    What do you mean, no buttons? The headphone has three buttons. Okay, they may not look like buttons, but you have to press them for it to work. What would you call them?

    I think this iPod Shuffle is a terrible design. Having buttons in the cord of such a small device is like having a remote control for a remote control. Replacing these flimsy, proprietary headphones will require at least half the original investment. So, should we just throw it away and buy a new one?

    Furthermore, the everlasting quest to make things smaller is becoming absurd. I’m reminded of Will Ferrell answering a flip phone the size of his pinky finger. Hey, Apple, get a clue. Keep them the same size, but make them CHEAPER! But, if you’re going to make it small, make it fit inside my ears, and telepathically controlled.

  • steve

    The headphones have buttons but that’s it, the device has none.