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I recently bought myself the latest iPod shuffle as part of a desire to get fit again. I find myself making excuses to avoid the gym and for a time one of them was not having an iPod.
I had a look to see what was available and the relative costs and decided the shuffle was the most cost effective option for me (see my review for more detail). With the shuffle comes a USB wire which helps you to connect your iPod to your music, so I thought I would share my experience of it.
In my experience (which is limited to an iPod nano and an iPhone) the wires you tend to get are a decent length, with one end being a wide and flat connector which goes into the item and then the other end is a USB connector which goes into your computer/plug. The shuffle wire is ever so slightly different because of the design of the smallest iPod shuffle yet.
The shuffle is a tiny little square and so is not wide enough to fit a port the size you find in the larger iPods and iPhones. Therefore the part that connects to the shuffle fits into what is the headphone port. The other end is a the usual USB connector which is a standard size.
The wire is coated in a malleable white plastic and each of the connectors is covered in a hard white plastic. The metal parts are a silver colour and the only other decorative aspects are the USB sign on it which is in-keeping with the classic apple style of grey. The look is pretty distinctive as being an apple branded item, even without the actual apple symbol on the item. This type of design has become so synonymous with the company that it is easily recognisable to the brand. The look is also clean and stylish and perfectly complements my cute little shuffle.
So far no issues, which means my real problem is just coming: the size. The length of the wire is roughly 5cm long which is really, really tiny. The shuffle doesn't need charging all that regularly but when it does the length of this wire makes it pretty inconvenient to charge. I suppose you have a desktop then it would simply sit on the desk or hang from the main part of the computer. I have a laptop and this means that the iPod precariously hangs off the side of the computer. I also have a plug adaptor that I got with my iPhone. If I choose to charge my shuffle this way then it sits on the floor where the plug is and frankly is fairly exposed to me, or someone else, treading on it. I can definitely see this happening at some point in the future.
I can completely understand the logic behind this wire, the shuffle is compact and so is this. It is also a free addition that you get with the iPod so it seems a little ungrateful to complain. But, because of the new design of the shuffle I have no option but to charge it with this wire only. It has yet to become a real irritation but I can definitely see it going that way, especially with things like travel.
Ultimately I suppose the wire was free and therefore I can't really complain too much about it. I just think the design is pretty impractical and tarnishes slightly what is other a really great product. I obviously will continue to use it as I have no other option, and need to charge the iPod and sync my music via my computer - but I feel like there might have been a better design option apple could have gone with.
Overall, the length is probably going to test my patience...and maybe lead to the death of my iPod.
Apple's iPod Shuffle USB Cable is the only way to sync and charge your iPod Shuffle as it uses the headphone jack rather than a 30-pin dock connector.
It's a very good idea all in all as it saves a lot of space on the device and for any charging docks, however as it's such an unusual design it means third-party accessories aren't as common as with Apple's other products.
The cable itself is similar to Apple's other cables for syncing devices to iTunes. The cable is quite thin so is prone to tangles every now and again but overall is very good. They've used the design for the new headphones making the jack port out of hardened plastic. This makes it much more durable and less prone to breakages. The cable as a whole seems much stronger and isn't showing any signs of damage unlike my frayed iPhone cable.
For anyone interested, just out of curiosity I tried to see if it would work with and iPhone, iPod Touch and Nano, but alas, it did not sync. Not really a weakness but it was worth a try.
The only main negative I can give to the Shuffle's cable is the fact that by using the headphone jack as it's connection for syncing and charging it means that universal Apple dock's and external speakers for iPods can't be used which is a shame. That said most do have an audio in port so by getting an audio out-audio out cable you can connect it to other docks/speakers.
All in all the iPod Shuffle USB cable is a great idea to help keep down the size of the device and the high quality cable means it should last a lot longer than Apple's other cables. Can't really "recommend" it, but if you have a Shuffle it's a must have.