Journal: News & Comment

Friday, April 01, 2005
# 1:23:00 PM:

A couple of neat iPod shuffle notes

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The iPod shuffle doesn't seem to be a substantial enough device to write much about, but that hasn't stopped me. So here are a couple of other tidbits:

  • If you accidentally pull your headphones out of the audio jack while playing songs (say by snagging the cord on your knee while putting on a shoe, as I have done), the iPod shuffle automatically pauses. Yet another clever design touch that should be standard on any MP3 or CD player, but isn't.

  • Nikkei Electronics reports that, in dissecting an iPod shuffle, "Apple's care is obvious in the appearance of the components, and innovations to improve how the unit feels when you use it. The firm didn't hesitate to use expensive components when required." They highlight in particular how sturdily built the case is, how tightly the components fit into it, and how well engineered two key parts—the audio jack and the clip that keeps the cap on—are. Make sure to click on the photo to zoom in.

  • The iPod shuffle apparently has significantly better sound quality than pretty much any other MP3 player out there, including the bigger iPods. Although Apple won't confirm it—presumably because they don't want to point out that the more expensive models don't sound quite as good—that seems to be because the shuffle uses a push-pull output amplifier circuit design, rather than the single-ended approach taken by other players (and, at much greater expense, some high-end tube audio amps).

Okay, that's three, which is more than a couple. As for the last one specifically, while I'm no audiophile, I have noticed that the iPod shuffle sounds remarkably good—and also, unfortunately, reveals the flaws of poorly-encoded MP3 files.


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