Minimum OS: iPod shuffle OS 1.0
Maximum OS: iPod shuffle OS 1.1.5
Introduced: January 2005
Terminated: September 2006
CPU: SigmaTel D-Major STMP3550
CPU Speed: 75 MHz
Onboard RAM: ?
Maximum RAM: ?
Flash Drive: 512 MB/1.0 GB
Audio Out: stereo 16 bit mini
Dimensions: 3.3" H x .98" W x .33" D
Weight: 0.05 lbs.
Announced in January 2005 at MWSF, the iPod shuffle represented Apple's first entry into the fractured market of low-end flash-based digital music players. Apple had long publicly maintained that flash-based players were "throw away" devices, due to the small number of songs that they could store. With the release of the iPod shuffle, Apple finally turned its attention to the low-end market, the only digital music market it had yet to dominate.
The iPod shuffle was no larger than a keychain flash drive, and could be used as such in addition to playing mp3 and mp4 music files. It weighed less than an ounce, and was the size of a pack of gum. The most innovative (or most backward, depending on who you ask) design decision Apple made for the iPod shuffle was not to include any sort of display. Instead, the iPod shuffle had only play/pause, next, previous and volume up/down buttons. It also had a three position switch on the back, which allowed users to play their songs in order, shuffle songs, or turn the player off.
Apple's reasoning was that a display on a device as small as the iPod shuffle would be nearly useless. In addition, Apple marketed the device not as a replacement for existing iPods but as an accessory, a smaller device to play a subset of one's music on-the-go. Market research had shown that many users listened to their iPods on shuffle almost all the time, so Apple honed the shuffle concept into a single, efficient design. It was hoped that the iPod shuffle would bring people looking for cheaper digital music devices into the iPod family, and that they might subsequently buy hard disk-based iPods or even low-end Macs as a result.
The iPod shuffle shipped in two sizes. the 512 MB model sold for $99, while the 1 GB model sold for $149. In June 2005, the price of the 1 GB model was cut to $129. In February 2006 the prices were cut to $69 and $99, respectively. Both models were discontinued in September 2006, with the release of the iPod shuffle (Second Generation).