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iPod shuffle compatibility, other issues detailed

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005
News Categories: iPod shuffle

While Apple’s iPod shuffle is a relatively simple device with few opportunities for problems to occur, a few issues have popped up with the low-cost music player.

Some eMac and iMac G3 users have reported prolems in connecting the iPod shuffle to their computer. Because of the device’s width, the iPod shuffle cannot be connected to the USB port on the side of these systems. eMac and iMac G3 owners can connect the device to their Apple keyboard if they are running Mac OS X 10.3.6 or later, however, the iPod shuffle will not charge from the keyboard—only sync. Apple recommends that users purchase the iPod shuffle Dock or a USB extension cable if they want to be able to charge the device with the all-in-one Macs.

Apple said this issue could occur with “any computer, display, or USB hub with recessed or closely spaced USB ports,” including Apple’s 17-inch Studio Display 17 (ADC), certain Xserve configurations, and possibly a variety of PCs.

Apple has also detailed an issue in which the iPod shuffle may not play AAC music files that were not originally encoded with iTunes. “If you try to play a song on iPod shuffle that was encoded in AAC format (.M4A) by an application other than iTunes, iPod shuffle may not play it and skip to the next song,” Apple says. “To prevent this from happening, always use iTunes to encode songs to AAC for iPod shuffle play.” Songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store are not affected.

Meanwhile, MacFixIt reports that some readers have reported problems with loose buttons, overly sensitive buttons, and issues with synchronizing the iPod shuffle with multiple computers.

And according to iLoungers in our forum, the iPod shuffle’s lack of an internal clock—the first iPod to not have one—means that “last played” counts are not being updated when users sync the device back with iTunes.

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Comments

1

interestingly someone on macslash said that it affects files you encode with quicktime itself.  they don’t just mean 3rd party encoders.

when they say you have to use itunes, they mean itunes.

Posted by zonk3r in http://monkeysvsrobots.com/ on January 20, 2005 at 4:15 PM (PDT)

2

I’ll I have to say is that Apple better come up with a free solution to eMac/iMac users problems. And by the way, I am a huge Mac/iPod fan. This just ticks me off for some reason.

Posted by AaronM on January 20, 2005 at 4:43 PM (PDT)

3

I really hope this iTunes-only AAC doesn’t happen to future regular iPods. I took a lot of music from allofmp3.com, which encodes in AAC, so that would totally suck.

Fishes,
narco.

Posted by narco in Burbank on January 20, 2005 at 4:49 PM (PDT)

4

this is just another trap.. when you buy accessories for shuffles, they are not cheap anymore. just buy some cheap USB extension cord…

Posted by frankthetank on January 20, 2005 at 5:30 PM (PDT)

5

Anyone else notice they put little asterisks in the ads now showing you need to purchase separate accessories for certain models of computers, how can Apple overlook a major detail such as this, they know there are tons of older mac users out there, sorry to keep bringing it up but come on.

Posted by AaronM on January 20, 2005 at 5:56 PM (PDT)

6

The only way to avoid the issue would be to make the Shuffle really long, and no thicker than a USB plug normally is. I’m glad they chose the compromise they did. Yes, you’ll need a cable for some systems. Apple has warned about that since day one, and you don’t have to dig for it either.

This isn’t the first wider-than-just-a-plug USB device in the world.

(Still frustrating if you want to hook your Shuffle to your Xserve and have to go buy an extender cable! Delayed gratification is never welcome.)

Re last-played times: Apple should note the time you PREVIOUSLY synched the Shuffle, and any songs that have played at all at next connect should get that previous date/time as their last-played time. It’s closer than nothing.

Here you go:
http://apple.com/feedback

Re AAC files… what if they were made in QuickTime Pro? Or GarageBand?

Posted by Nagromme on January 20, 2005 at 6:09 PM (PDT)

7

My normal 2G and 4G ipod never seemed to sync the last played counts with iTunes anyway…

Posted by oplex on January 20, 2005 at 6:36 PM (PDT)

8

RE: Loose buttons.

Were there any construction problems with earlier iPod models?

Posted by SPThom on January 20, 2005 at 6:47 PM (PDT)

9

Apple had better fix the bug in iTunes that doesn’t allow you to import tracks at anything other than 128Kbps if they expect me to buy a shuffle.  I have to use RealPlayer 10.5 for ripping CDs.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on January 20, 2005 at 10:28 PM (PDT)

10

Galley,
Why don’t you look around a bit, huh? Maybe in “Preferences”? In this case, the bug is not in the program, but in the user.

Posted by Questioner in New York on January 20, 2005 at 10:49 PM (PDT)

11

The PLAY COUNT is an issue. I don’t really use it.. but i just as well may in the future. I mean, i haven’t used Smart Playlists and the Star Rating System in the beginning - but now i sure do!

For the iPod Shuffle, having the PLAY COUNT feature work properly would be yet another way to create Smart Playlists to your liking.

Posted by theanimaster in Bangkok on January 21, 2005 at 12:00 AM (PDT)

12

Oh bummer. Galley… please tell me you didn’t overlook that feature in the preferences?

Tsk. tsk. tsk. Shame on you.

Posted by theanimaster in Bangkok on January 21, 2005 at 12:02 AM (PDT)

13

Must be a case of RealPeople. Freedom of choice. yeah, yeah.

Posted by theanimaster in Bangkok on January 21, 2005 at 12:03 AM (PDT)

14

RE: iTunes AAC only

They say the Shuffle “may” not play other AAC files.  My purely non-expert hunch is that they can’t account for all the possible variance in the AAC algorithm in such a small device.  It sounds like other AAC files *might* play, but there’s no guarantee.

Posted by SPThom on January 21, 2005 at 12:46 AM (PDT)

15

So how much will the dock or a USB cord add to the cost?

Say $20. $120 for an MP3 player with no screen? Oh, I need to buy the armband too… Sheesh. At least don’t skimp with the pack ins.

Posted by syciprider on January 21, 2005 at 1:12 AM (PDT)

16

Though this is a pretty normal Whiners Club thread, the use of ‘better’ is cracking me up.  ‘Apple had better this’ and ‘Apple had better that.’  And, if Apple doesn’t, what are you going to do?  I suspect Apple made certain decisions to keep the cost down on the Shuffle and to make the design utilitarian and attractive.  It obviously did not warranty the device to work with every computer without modification or play every kind of music file.  Apple is on solid ground.

As for needing an USB extender cable, most of us already have them. 

Larry, you seem almost as anhedonic as the disaffected youths who people your threads.  Surely, you could post an entry that isn’t a gripe fest if you tried.

Posted by Podesta in Portland, OR on January 21, 2005 at 1:44 AM (PDT)

17

Apple has also detailed an issue in which the iPod shuffle may not play AAC music files that were not originally encoded with iTunes. “If you try to play a song on iPod shuffle that was encoded in AAC format (.M4A) by an application other than iTunes, iPod shuffle may not play it and skip to the next song,” Apple says. “To prevent this from happening, always use iTunes to encode songs to AAC for iPod shuffle play.” Songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store are not affected.
Based on lots of posts here on the iPodlounge Forums, I’d say this problem isn’t just with the iPod shuffle. It seems to happen to “full-size” iPods as well.

Posted by AndyH in Berwyn, PA on January 21, 2005 at 5:07 AM (PDT)

18

A USB extender cord is about $8 at Radio Shack.

And here is a hint for Windows users….. if the Shuffle is not enabled for disk mode, your USB connection may not stay active and charge-up the Shuffle, even though you still have it plugged in and see it displayed in iTunes.  If the battery light is not flashing when you have it plugged into the USB port, it is not getting power.

Posted by miketex on January 21, 2005 at 5:26 AM (PDT)

19

That is certainly unfortunate about the Last Played not being recorded.  All of my main playlist are smart playlists that are based on when they were last played.  This would screw it up. 

Posted by Gatsby003 in New York on January 21, 2005 at 5:51 AM (PDT)

20

Apple told us about all this stuff day one (well, not the buttons stuff, but i have not experianced that). If you have an eMac or iMac G3 you should not have bought the shuffle without the dock.They told you it would not work. Hell, you should really have just saved your money and got a new computer. Its about time.

Posted by nfmalick on January 21, 2005 at 5:53 AM (PDT)

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