A few weeks ago I bought an iPod Shuffle, the new clip-on model. It had only just arrived in the shop.
I bought it because the new iTunes 7 podcast features finally make it possible to keep track of your progress in multiple podcasts whilst keeping everything synced up between iTunes and the iPod. I didn’t stop to think that maybe this feature wouldn’t work properly with the Shuffle.
Now traditionally I dislike iTunes and iPods, even though i have 2 Macs and 2 iPods. As I usually say, they ‘aren’t all they are cracked up to be’ but the competition is usually worse. But the new iTunes features sucked me in… I gave the podcast features a go with my 30GB Video iPod and liked them. The Video iPod is just too big to have in my pocket all the time, so I had been carrying a Creative MuVo.
Anyway, the Shuffle sucks for Podcasts. Apparently Apple have decided that no-one will use it for that.
There is no way to sync podcasts to the shuffle, as there is on the Nano and iPod Video; you have to manually copy them accross. It does keep track of your place, and it does sync your position back to iTunes, so there is some functionality there. But the minute you hit the back button on the Shuffle, it immediately skips back to the start of the podcast, thus forgetting where you were. Now since you only have the forward and back buttons for navigation, that makes it useless for choosing between podcasts.
Now it would be easy for Apple to make the iPod shuffle sync podcasts the same way that the Nano does. There is no reason the Shuffle cannot be made smart enough to allow navigation between podcasts without losing your place.
It is a just a terrible shame that Apple have prevented the Shuffle from being used for Podcasts.
I returned the Shuffle for a refund. Half an hour with a Shuffle was half an hour wasted.
(You may also be interested in my article from last week, where I discuss Podcasts (and the pleasure and pain of syncing with iTunes). After I returned the Shuffle I bought an 8GB Nano instead).