When the original shuffle launched, Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo claimed that the "whole industry will just laugh at it" thanks to its basic feature set. While executives at music companies may have had a few chuckles at the orginal shuffle behind closed doors, the power of the iPod brand combined with the simple design of the shuffle made it one of the most successful models in Apple's line-up. Now that the 2G iPod shuffle has hit the stores, Apple's competitors aren't laughing anymore, although the new shuffle isn't quite the technological revolution that Apple might claim it to be. iLounge and C|NET picked up on one particular problem that was previously the shuffle's forte: a distinct degradation in audio quality when compared with the first shuffle -- although it's worth noting that The Washington Post had no complaints in this area. Other niggles range from the inclusion of the "old style", ergonomically questionable earbuds to the stupid requirement that the user turns the shuffle off and on to check the battery life; all of which are insignificant when you factor in the new miniscule form factor, convenient clip, and improved price:capacity ratio. Unfortunately for Apple's competitors, at the moment the only significant distraction from the 2G shuffle's appeal is the new iPod nano range.

Read - C|NET
Read - iLounge
Read - The Washington Post

[Image: This is what 200 iPod shuffles look like]

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2G iPod shuffle review round-up