If you’ve been following Apple’s second-generation iPod shuffle since last year, and don’t need all the details found in our updated, comprehensive review, here’s a quick summary of five key things you’ll want to know about today’s colorful update to the shuffle family.
(5) Color – What’s the story? The most obvious change to the November, 2006 second-generation iPod shuffle is its body coloration. Apple has added four new colors – pink, blue, green, and orange – to the prior silver shuffle. All five are still made from aluminum, just like the multi-colored iPod nano, and the pink, blue, and green shuffles are color-matched to the nano’s vibrant tones. The new orange color is equally striking, and very close in color to an actual Sunkist we had sitting around.
Notably, iTunes 7.0.2 does not yet recognize the different shuffle colors, but that will likely change in a future update.
(4) Has anything else changed to make this shuffle a better value? Yes, there are other small changes, noted below, but they don’t radically change the shuffle’s value equation. The colored shuffles sell for the silver version’s prior $79 price, and still come with one set of earphones, one Dock, thin manuals, Apple stickers, and an LED-decoding card, nothing else. These shuffles all have the same 1 Gigabyte (240-song) storage capacity as before.
(3) So what’s new, then – the Earphones? Last year’s silver shuffles shipped with Apple’s old, somewhat uncomfortable, and bass-weak earbuds, even though the shuffle came out after two new iPod/iPod nano models that had lighter, better earbuds.
Today, all of the shuffles come with Apple’s latest earphones, which are also sold separately for $29 as Apple iPod Earphones (iLounge rating: B+).
(2) How do I tell old and new metal shuffles apart? If you’re buying a green, pink, blue, or orange iPod shuffle, you’re guaranteed to find the new earphones inside. But if you’re buying a silver iPod shuffle, look for a package with gray print alongside the shuffle, rather than green print. The gray print indicates that new earphones are inside; the green print indicates that you’re getting the older ones.
(1) What about the sound quality, or other changes? The latest iPod shuffles sound the same as the ones shipped last year, which is to say a step below other iPods – particularly in base level of noise – when used with high-quality earphones.