Adam Rice

My life and the world around me

iPod shuffle = yuppie gimme-cap

Practically overnight, the iPod shuffle has established itself as the upscale promotional giveaway. I know of three recent events where the shuffle was given away as a door prize–Gwen being the lucky recipient of one of these.

This is interesting on many levels. An underlying assumption is that any possible recipient will be able to use it and will value it (which is based on other assumptions about access to computers, technical competence, interest in music, etc). In other ways, though, the Shuffle itself is almost perfect as a door-prize: it makes no assumptions about the user’s tastes. It is faceless and white. Unassuming. Neither girly nor masculine, liberal nor conservative. It is blank, and becomes a mirror of the user’s tastes by being used. It is cheap enough for a promoter to buy a few out of petty cash, but nice enough to make the winner feel lucky to get it. And it really is nice–after using hers for all of five minutes, Gwen commented “I’ll bet their are twelve-step programs for iPod users.”

The iPod does make one assumption: that your ears are big enough to accommodate Apple’s earbuds, and as it turns out, Gwen’s aren’t.

3 Comments

  1. A client of said a customer had heard libraries in the US were lending audio books out on iPod Shuffles, and asked me to look into it. I handed it over to Justin, who is a teenager and so by definition always looking for pocket money.

    Apparently there is only one such library now, on Long Island. It makes good fiscal sense for them to lend out audio books on iPod Shuffles, given the latter’s price. Other libraries are considering following suit.

    If this became common practice, it would be another home run for Apple.

  2. Gary just got an iPod mini at a business event. Has been playing with it constantly for a couple of weeks now. Has bought gear to go with it. Wants to buy more.

    Gwen’s right. These things are apparently quite addictive. Perhaps the casing is specially coated with undetectable crack.

  3. Always behind in tech trend reporting, the NYTimes has a story on this today.

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