Envisioned BlackBox, got iShuffle

Almost exactly two years ago, I was predicting that Apple would do a palmtop computer in 2005. Sadly, I was wrong–and here I am in 2005 with an iPod Shuffle in my pocket. It’s a bare bones mp3 player, nothing more, almost less. But, aside from not being a fully featured 3G handset+PDA+media station, it does what it’s supposed to do very well. There are only three annoying things about it:

  • Updates through iTunes–an application that I otherwise love–are sluggish. I know that updating other iPods isn’t sluggish at all, so probably it has to do with the fact that the shuffle uses a flash memory. But it’s annoying nevertheless since it keeps you from updating it. Apple should figure out a way to multi-thread things.
  • The headphones that come with it have a plug that sticks straight out about 10-15 mm–that’s way to much, and I’m wondering how they can have missed out on this. It’s bound to break the connector sooner or later (I was already close). Luckily I can use my beloved HD-25 with it (with a custom made plug).
  • There is no way of fixing the headphone cord to the lanyard the way you can with e.g. the Jens of Sweden players, which is also unbelievable. With Apple being against cords, I can’t see why they messed this up.

iPod Shuffle etc.

That said, it’s still a neat piece of hardware. Now it’s up to Apple to save 2005 by releasing a subnotebook. I imagine a plain 12” book, no CD/DVD, half the weight of the current 12”. All the other players have one, and Apple would be stupid to ignore such a large segment of businesspeople and students, who would want a device like this from it. Hell, even I, a mac user for 20 years, have cravings for the Vaio 505 extreme