Our Cat Would Quickly Render The New iPod Shuffle Pointless

March 11, 2009

Apple announced a new, “incredible” iPod Shuffle today. It’s smaller than ever before (a house key is larger), comes in grey and black metal, and has a new feature called “VoiceOver” that reads track and playlist names, making it easier to navigate through music without a screen. It’s 4GB of storage for $79.

But you know all that already – and why does the headline mention our cat? Well, Apple moved the Shuffle’s controls to the provided headphone cord. This may not seem like a big deal until one thinks about it further and realizes any pair of headphones not designed for the Shuffle has now been rendered useless.

Personally, this a deal-breaker. One of our cats has an annoying habit of chewing on plastic, in particular, headphone cables. My iPhone cable was destroyed within days of purchase.

I haven’t felt a need to replace it since it’s not integral to the functioning of the iPhone, and I can make do with any pair of earphones – we seem to have about four or five – well, only two, since the cat destroyed a few of those – from several years of iPod purchases (2 shuffles, a Nano, 2 minis, and an iPod video).

Then there’s my wife, who doesn’t like the fit of the provided Apple earphones. I guess she’s just out of luck.

Lastly, it seems replacement earphones are $29. That’s a very pricey cat snack. I can’t stomach spending more than $5 for an HDMI cable; are you kidding me?

The expensive, device-specific headphones combined with the increased price of $79 are nothing a calm, robotic voice can smooth over. I’m hitting skip on this one.


  1. jcieplinski says:

    I don't have a cat, and I probably have no use for a Shuffle, anyway, but I'm still scratching my head over the new “controls on the headphone cord” decision.

    Apple's earbuds are absolutely useless to me. I have no idea if they sound good or not, because they don't stay in place long enough for me to find out. And that's when I'm standing still. When I walk, they fall out almost immediately.

    More importantly, even if that weren't the case, they wouldn't fit or sound nearly as good as the $750 custom-molded Sensaphonics earphones that I use every day with my iPod.

    All morning, I heard people making the argument that third parties were sure to make other earbuds that would have controls that were compatible sooner or later, so it was no big deal. But what about those of us who already HAVE the perfect earphones and don't want to trade them for something inferior just to be able to pause and change volume?

    Word on the street is that Apple will make an adapter cable that will include the controls, but that will cost extra, of course. Moreover, it will be a kludgy hack for a problem that doesn't need to exist. Didn't Apple learn anything from the original iPhone's unorthodox headphone port?

    Here's a really bonehead simple idea: Take the three buttons on the headphone cord and PUT THEM ON THE SHUFFLE ITSELF. Problem solved.

  2. webomatica says:

    Truth be told as I was writing this post, I was wondering if you would chime in with a well-thought out counter argument, but in this case you agree with me.

    I see you fall into the same category as my wife in that the included iPod earphones just don't fit in her ears, plus you ponied up for some very expensive custom earphones – yeah that would be annoying to not have them work with the new iPod shuffle.

    I really don't know what Apple can do at this point except make that rumored adapter cable or the ear buds cheaper. Say $10 – $20.