The New iPod Shuffle: I'm Sorry, but What's the Point?
Edit: I thought long and hard on whether I should post this or not, as I know anything perceived as negative of Apple will receive a lot of flack. And it has. However, let me set the record straight. I have full respect for the Apple Design team and by no means belittling any of their amazing effort. In fact I have recognized that they are almost 100% responsible for making business leaders recognize the power of design. So let me clarify, what I’m doing here is asking “Why?” and the reason for their strategy behind it all. I therefore would like to have a constructive discussion here and will not hesitate to delete comments that do not have any value add to this discussion.
I had a little shiver of anticipation when I heard from a colleague that Apple had released a new iPod Shuffle. What did the boys from Cupertino think up next?
When Apple’s homepage finished loading up, my immediate response was “What the hell is that?”
Also suitably confused I asked myself “Why”?
Why would there be a need for a super thin half a Mahjong tile that could talk back to you? Ok, so Apple decided to build a product around a great user interface that works with a technology that converts text to voice. Great! But tell me, what is the point of this product?
Later that day a friend SMSed me.
“What do u think of the new Shuffle?” He asked.
“Hmm…I’m starting to think what is the point of it all?” I SMSed back.
Beep. “The Apple brand is about great ideas and a company that innovates at all costs by pushes the boundaries. However such ideas with does not necessary make the Shuffle a better product.”
“Innovation for innovation’s sake?” I thought.
Beep. Another message came in. “But you are right, what is the point of having this product? When the rest of my iPods still work fine?”
Exactly the point of this post.
It has now come to a point where making a product smaller becomes a pointless exercise. How much smaller can you make it before the product becomes unusable?
Is having a device operating on pure remote control efficient? Don’t you think that this great technology could have been easily included in the next iPhone / iPod update? Then, is there even a reason for this product’s existence?
I think there will be a number of struggles ahead for Apple. With such frequent product updates, many of which are incremental, is there a point to even upgrade your already thin iPod Nano to the next new one?
Interestingly, it also looks like the world has finally caught up with Apple. With every product reiteration, Apple’s innovative application of technology in an easy to use framework does not seem to get them that far ahead of the crowd these days. With competitors getting better in creating equally compelling products, Apple’s impact just seems less and less exciting to me.