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Is Apple's Shuffle a Good Deal

Techstination feature for Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Is Apple's Shuffle a good deal? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. There's no LCD screen….no FM radio or voice recorder… features that some competitors offer. But Apple is betting its new flash memory based iPod Shuffle music players…will lure buyers who can't afford three or four hundred dollars for hard drive based iPods. A 512 megabyte Shuffle is priced at just 99 dollars…while a one gigabyte version is 50 dollars more. VP for iPod products Greg Joswiak argues the lack of an LCD display…is not a disadvantage. On many flash based players, he says, the small displays are too hard to read and even more difficult to navigate. With the Shuffle…

"Rather than you have to set up play lists ahead of time, rather than you have to think about what you want to hear, you simply put it on shuffle, your music comes to you, if you don't like that song go to the next one. The beauty is it's all your music, it's like your own personal radio station."

And the iTunes software can automatically change the songs that are stored on it…

"Customers of flash players tell us they end up having the same music stuck in their flash player all the time. It's like the CD changer in the trunk of your car that has the same CDs in it all the time. Why? Because it's a hassle to change it. We made it as simple as clicking one button auto-fill."

Did Apple get the formula right again? Time will tell. Rivals like Creative Labs and Rio are hoping to take market share away from Apple in the months to come. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.