iPod MinimalismPosted: February 22, 2011
Last September on my birthday, I received a silver iPod shuffle as a gift. This was by no means unprecedented. In September of 2006 I bought myself a color iPod as a gift to myself, and I received an iPod with video the following year for graduation. I got a free nano with my MacBook for college, and a touch a couple years ago. To put it lightly, I’ve had my share of iPods. What’s the best I ever got? Hands-down the shuffle.
Just about every reviewer has downplayed the shuffle as a “niche product.” But is it really so bad to fill a specific need? As any zoology major knows, the best way to succeed is to control a niche that nothing else attempts to fill. And that’s exactly what the shuffle does.
I use my iPod touch constantly to help with classes, to-do lists and games on the go (more on that later), but I’ve come to appreciate just how spectacularly bad the touch is at playing music. Sure, it has volume buttons, but I have to look at where I’m touching just to change the song. While the music is playing, I can’t use the touch to do anything else. iOS 4 still hasn’t gotten over its sluggish tendencies on my particular model.
The shuffle, on the other hand, isn’t designed to do any of the things the touch excels at. It can only play a few songs, without even a screen! And that’s just fine with me. There’s a very applicable rule here – the best devices for a certain task are always the ones that only do one simple thing. I forget the shuffle is even there at my belt, and the headphones are just long enough to reach it without constricting me or getting caught on things. When I walk to class, the last thing I want is a heavy feature-filled music player. When studying, something that browses Facebook or Twitter isn’t going to work as my music player. Quite simply, it does what I want from it with the minimum of fuss. Isn’t that what Apple products are famous for?