Our New iPod Shuffle Totally ROCKS!

Notes: Before we get anymore snarky comments, 2G means second-generation, 1 GB means one gigabyte. Also, we used our MacBook's iSight camera for these pictures. That's why they, uh, suck. You'll find purtier pictures here.

First off, for the 5 or 6 readers that care, we're 99.99 percent sure our new 2G iPod has a push-pull amplifier. This is very very sweet. We say 99.99 percent sure because we don't have an oscilloscope handy, but let's just say it sounds at least as good as the 1G shuffle, even at deafening volumes, and puts our otherwise-decent 2nd-gen iPod mini to shame. Compared to the 1G, audiophiles will also appreciate the added AIFF support.

What most people will care about is its size. Ohhhh, it's tiny. Our pictures below don't do it justice. You have to feel its sheer lightness and teeniness in your hand to realize how ridiculous it is that you can get 12 hours of rich playback from 240 songs in this teeny little paperclip thing. It's like having a 2-months-premature baby doing your calculus homework. Check out our pictures comparing the 2G shuffle to the 1G model (yeah, we lost the USB cap) and some common, er, household objects.






It is true that the 2G shuffle does not get the swanky new rubbery and coverless earbuds that ship with the new nanos. Apple's not being sneaky, you can see the obviously old earbuds on the shuffle's web site. Also, it's not to say that the headphones aren't a fresh design. Check out the picture below; clearly the new headphone plug is shorter and less rounded than the old one.


...not that we noticed that. Shut up. Anyway, they're otherwise identical to the old buds and still come with those silly black covers. Tim Cook must have over-ordered the old design and had to find something cheap to dump them on. Whatever, the earbuds sound great with the sweet push-pull amp.

Also in the package is the new shuffle dock:


Look at that upside-down logo. Remember the Pismo PowerBook? Ahh, good times. Anyway, previously you had to pay $30 for a shuffle dock. The new dock is equally tiny and has nicely weighted, rubberized bottom, just like your mom. The dock is necessary for connectivity as the 2G shuffle runs USB through its headphone jack, and only the dock has the special 4-pin headphone plug for USB, wheras the old shuffle had a built-in standard USB plug. This makes the 2G less useful as a USB flash drive, though you do get a $30 piece of plastic for free now. Call it a wash.

Speaking of USB, we had transfer rates of about 3 MB per second, about twice as fast as our 1G shuffle, and about on par with a new Nano. Check out iFixit's take-apart if you're curious about the innards. Note that the vast majority of the interior volume is taken by the battery.

While some nerds may decry how much space it takes up relative to the rest of the pod, we love the built-in clip. It feels surprisingly substantial, and will attach to just about anything. It's especially nice for a jeans pocket. No more feeling up your pockets for the skip button, now it just clips over unobtrusively.

There's no longer a separate battery indicator button, so it just displays battery status through the main indicator light whenever you turn it on. Actually, there are redundant indicator lights in both white panels. Works for us. We also dig the new separate aluminum switches for power and shuffling. While teeny, they're much less fiddly than the 1G's slidey switch.

Wrapping it up, If you'd overlooked the shuffle before as too primitive compared to a regular iPod, you'll do yourself a favor by giving it a second glance. At $79, it's the same price as a Radio Remote and the Camera Connector for your current 'Pod. Or, $20 LESS than the A/V kit. Or, instead of an iPod Hi-Fi, you could buy a shuffle and three more for your family, and have $30 left over. Any way you choose to rationalize it, it's a bargain.

Apple iPod Shuffle
(2G, 1GB model)
$79

Pros:
-Oh holy crap it's tiny
-Excellent sound quality
-Very useful clip
-Less-fiddly switches
-A cheap iPod? Whaaa?

Cons:
-No built-in USB connector
-Old-school earbuds

Overall Score: Aww yeeah, it totally ROCKS!!!

Happy Birthday iPod!

Yayyy! It's iPod's 5th birthday! That's like 21 in computer-years, man. We remember back in the day when the cheapest way you could get your iPod on was $399. Listening to New Order and The KGB while playing Breakout, word. The hair's getting soooo thin.

Now the most expensive iPod is $349 and they're hotter than a Tennessee steer in a heatwave at the Playboy Mansion. Sorry, Dan Rather, we tried.

And sorry about our un-postingness. We've gotten held up in our actual day jobs and come home ready to plop down with the remote and a bottle of Febreeze, with no energy left to post. Y'all are welcome to leave silly stuff in the comments for other readers to enjoy. Do our work for us. We'll send you an e-fruitbasket. Thanks!

We did it for the street cred

No, we're not dead. Sorry. We were out of town for the weekend and forgot to leave the boys at the pool...oops, sorry wrong expression. Anyway, we'll be back under the saddle soon. Earnings are coming on Wednesday. Hopefully Apple shipped at least 6.3 million MacBooks. Booya! In the meantime we're so totally pumped about the whole Studio 60/Gilmore Girls crossover thing we can't think straight. If we can crank out a post by then, chalk it up to the diphenhydramine.

P.S. We want a red shuffle!

Google Buys YouTube, Apple Next

Unless you've been living under a, uh, Classic II, you've probably heard that Google is buying YouTube. The hosting company for this site coming together with our favorite source for pirated Daily Show reruns. So hopelessly romantic!

Anywho, this announcement coincided with the only-slightly-smaller launch of the Official Google Mac Blog. OGMB, which sounds like the love child of a stodgy government agency and those guys who did the song from Pretty In Pink, is the second Mac-related blog to claim status of officiality, the first being our friends TUAW, The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Say it like a kung fu dude: tu-awwwww! Yeah, that's what they need, some ninjas on TUAW to make those Pimp My Mac Mini segments more badass. Yeah and then Chuck Norris will smash some PCs just by lookin' at 'em! WTF!!!

Sorry, we were watching Studio 60 tonight and got mad hyper. Anywayyy, OGMB launches with a totally-not-boring corporate post about how Google *hearts* Dashboard, and how Google Calendar actually works with Safari, and--whoa slice--Google Earth has a Mac version! Step aside, Omni Group, we have ourselves a real fanboy! Still, they're going for legitimacy with links to Gruber, MacCentral, and, well I'll be crappin', it's TUAW!

It got us thinking, hey now, Google might actually be getting serious about gittin' it on with Apple after all. See, Google's worth about 130 billion in stock, and what's Apple? A limp, flaccid 63 billion. And Google's got a piggy bank with lots of non-imaginary money too. Thinking what we're thinking? Yup, Google's buying Apple next! Woop woop! I mean, Eric Schmidt has already gone all Yosemite Sam in Apple's boardroom, having kicked Fred Anderson out after dissing his chick car. Plus, Google's already integrated into the Safari search bar, it's not like it would be hard to integrate it into everything else. Then Google will port Mac OS X to Ajax and O'Grady will finally have Mac OS X "Lite" see the light of day.

Now they just have to buy Microsoft and we'll be set.

From Around The Mac Nerd Web...

Since this past Thursday, we've been trolling the Mac nerd web trying to find interesting stories to get silly over and make fun of. There hasn't been much to pique our interest, at least not on a, like, MacBook Pros catching newborn kittens on fire kind of scale, but we found these three stories which have just enough of a taste of tha sillz.

T-Mobile *Hearts* Apple
According to a report from ABC News, (thanks MacRumors,) T-Mobile CEO Robert Dotson (doesn't he write for Parade?) had nothing but praise for Apple at a recent press conference. Dotson was eager to talk about their "aligned" visions and his appreciation for Leopard. This clearly means T-Mobile got shut out of the iPhone program and wants to brown-nose its way in on the action. Or, it means Dotson has a huge crush on Steve and will stop at nothing, not even seducing Schiller, to get to his man.

The Knack Sues Apple, Sharona Pissed
According to a report from eWeek, (thanks TUAW,) The Knack, that band from the late '70s that did the song that Janet Reno liked to dance to, is suing everyone and their mom, including Apple, for distributing the song "It's Tricky" by Run-DMC. The song samples The Knack's "My Sharona" and despite Campbell v. Acuff-Rose flying in the face of their suit's rationale, The Knack are intent on making pirate booty purveyors Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Real, Napster, and of course Run-DMC pay for the sampling of their song 20 years ago. Time to buy some Knack stock!

5th Birthday approaching, iPod confronts its mortality
iPod's big 5th birthday is coming up on the 23rd, and already it's running its fingers through its thinning earbuds. Why it seems like just yesterday we were putting up posters in our dorm with a picture of a goofy woman from the '50s with an Apple logo on her apron and the caption "iMom: 1000 favors in your pocket." Aww shucks, now we're feeling old. Anyway, the article is here, (thanks Slashdot.)