When the screenless iPod shuffle was originally introduced in 2005 as an all-plastic $99 iPod, it was simultaneously designed to kill demand for cheap iPod rivals and satisfy a highly price-conscious segment of the music player market. It succeeded, and though Apple has kept the feature set pretty much the same for a decade, it has dropped the price. Today, the fourth-generation iPod shuffle sells for only $49, and is available in eight colors including an Apple Store-exclusive Red.
The iPod shuffle design was last updated in 2010, merging the features of its prior two predecessors. It’s currently made from aluminum with a rear clip and circular controller, but much smaller than the second-generation model that introduced the basic design; it also has VoiceOver support for reading menu choices and song information, taken from the third-generation shuffle.
This model is the best iPod shuffle that’s ever been made, though its 2GB storage capacity is deliberately limited to make the $149 iPod nano more appealing to serious listeners. Still, the shuffle is so easy to clip on and close enough to an iPod nano armband in price that it’s an easy alternative for workouts and runs.
Apple last refreshed the iPod shuffle with new colors to match the seventh-generation iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod touch in late 2012. Apart from swapping the slate black model for space gray in late 2013, nothing has changed in the shuffle since then.