I’m not sure why Apple product releases always get top billing. Okay, actually, I know why. It’s because a lot of people own them. And they’re really gleamy. But they’re tied to iTunes, which, in my opinion, is a terrible program. But that’s neither here nor there, I suppose.
In any event, Apple has released a new Shuffle, which is a wee little device, less than two inches tall, and just over a quarter-inch thick. The Shuffle has always been criticized for not displaying the track names for you to consult, so, I suppose to counter those criticisms, Apple has included something called VoiceOver, which will say the name of the song. I suppose that helps a little. Storage has been bumped to 4 gigabytes, which is nice and roomy, and it costs about $80. That’s a decent price, too. The controls to the device, however, are stuck on the cord for the headphones. This means that you’re locked into Apple’s headphones, which apparently aren’t terrible, or potential third-party manufacturers, and that if they fail, or you break them or lose them, replacement costs are going to be higher.
For my money, though, I think the Sansa Clip is a far superior product, if you’re not tied to iTunes. It, too, costs about $80 for the 4 gigabyte model, but you get an OLED screen that allows you to see what’s playing, an FM tuner, a voice recorder, and an adjustable equalizer. It’ll also play mp3s, oggs, flacs, wmas, and Audible files, and while it plays nice with Windows Media Player, it’s not necessary; you can drag and drop files to your heart’s content. It also has a clip on the back that lets you just clip it on.
Full disclosure, I own a Sansa Clip, but I’m not a shill for SanDisk.