I have – possibly had – a first generation iPod shuffle. The second I’ve owned in fact; the audio quality is superb, far far in advance of the second gen, and the third gen had the headphone design issue (volume control in the headphone cable – I have my own ER-4Ps).
However, it’s getting a bit flakey – reluctant to start – and I think it might just this morning have died.
I had to go up into town today, pick up shirts, so I thought I’d stop by the Apple Store to try my headphones in the fourth generation unit.
That was my first mistake. A shop, in the high street.
So I head on up into town, hop out, walk in.
This is the first time I’ve been in an Apple Store.
Speaking as a software engineer, I think there’s a big design flaw; the interior of the store is a range of desks, nice wooden desks, with product on. They’re surrounded by people, so they’re hard to see at a distance, and they have a little low sign on them in the middle, about 20cm high, which you can only read if you’re close enough to already be able to see the product on that table.
So if you’re looking for something in particular, you have to scout the whole store, which I did, but iPod shuffles are small, so I couldn’t find them.
I asked a guy. “Over there, by that woman, she can help you.”
I go over there.
“Do you have one I can listen to?”, I ask.
“Yes, here, on the top.”
I unpacked my headphones, plug them in and turn the unit on. Or rather I moved the little switch which ought to turn the unit on. Nothing. I play with it for a while – volume controls, on and off again, the usual. Nothing.
There’s one unit on there which you can lift and heft. There’s another six or seven which are glued onto the stand. I try a couple of them. Also nothing.
“It’s not working.”
To this, she comes out with some jive-crack insanity; “yes, it’s probably because the other units are on demo mode and so there’s too many.”
(She means the iPod nanos which are next to it and turned on and obviously so, as they have a screen which it lit up and in demo mode. They are absolutely and in every way unconnected and unrelated to the shuffles).
What’s actually happened, I would say, is that the units are all out of power. This isn’t the case for the nanos, because they have a screen and a demo mode and so it’s clear when they’re dead. The shuffles have no display of any kind, and so they’re dead.
I will now paraphrase the rest of the unspoken conversation.
“So, you expect me to buy this personal music player – without having listened to it first.”
The basic problem of course is that she just doesn’t care. She is discouraged from caring. If she raised the issue, she’d have to do the work to fix it and get nothing for having done so. This problem of course is inherent in modern company design and so endemic throughout industry.