The new iPod Shuffle from Apple looks intriguing, to say the least, and it will be interesting to see if people find the voice-enabled device useful, or gimmicky. One aspect of the new shuffle that’s apparently being overlooked is the fact that it uses proprietary Apple headphones. In other words, because the actual device itself has no buttons (Steve Jobs must be smiling about this), using non-Apple headphones on the new Shuffle will either a) not work or b) be completely impractical.
From a consumer point of view, this flat out sucks. Not everyone is a fan of Apple’s headphones, and they’re especially bothersome to people who exercise frequently – which is ironically the precise demographic of consumers who are typically attracted to the shuffle to begin with. I’m not quite sure what Apple can do to help the situation because, again, the shuffle itself has no buttons. Unless third party manufacturers all of a sudden start producing shuffle compatible headphones, users will be stuck with Apple’s standard issue white headbuds, like it or not.