Apple’s 1GB iPod shuffle, long maintained by the company to be a popular and important member of the iPod family because of its low price point, today is dropping to $49 from its previous price of $79. Considered long overdue by those who have compared the shuffle to newer, similar, and less expensive alternatives such as the Zen Stone from companies such as Creative, the price drop simultaneously establishes the lowest-ever entry price point for the iPod family, and re-affirms Apple’s interest—at least temporarily—in keeping the shuffle around rather than discontinuing it in favor of a cheaper iPod nano. The 1GB iPod shuffle continues to be available in five colors, each primarily aluminum with plastic accents, and feature a rear integrated shirt clip. Competitors such as the Zen Stone use all-plastic bodies, but also start at prices as low as $35.
Updated: Apple has also announced the release of a 2GB iPod shuffle for $69. “The new 2GB model lets music lovers bring even more songs everywhere they go in the impossibly small iPod shuffle,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. Apple’s online store has not yet added the 2GB model, which will be available by month’s end, or indicated the color(s) it will be available in; the company’s press release implies that the 2GB model’s colors will be the same.