First-Generation iPod Shuffle Turns 14 Today

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the unveiling of the first-generation iPod shuffle, presented by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs on stage at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. On January 11, 2005, Apple debuted the first-of-its-kind iPod shuffle, which completely lacked a display, weighed 0.78 ounces, and held up to 240 songs (on the 1GB model) that would be played randomly.

At the Expo, Jobs called the iPod shuffle "smaller and lighter than a pack of gum," and touted the device's low-end 512MB model, which ran for $99 in the United States and could hold up to 120 songs (the 1GB version cost $149). "With most flash-memory music players users must use tiny displays and complicated controls to find their music; with iPod shuffle you just relax and it serves up new combinations of your music every time you listen," Jobs said.

Like previous iPods, iPod shuffle connected to a user's iTunes account to sync downloaded music onto the media player. The iPod shuffle also supported AutoFill, which automatically selected the perfect number of songs to fill out the iPod shuffle from iTunes. Besides randomly playing music on shuffle, users could also flip a switch on the back of the device to play music in order.

The iPod shuffle also doubled as a portable USB flash drive that users could store personal files on to exchange between computers. In the original press release, Apple mentioned that the iPod shuffle was the latest member of the iPod family, which at the time included the fourth generation iPod, iPod mini, iPod U2 Special Edition, and iPod photo.

Apple highlighted the iPod shuffle's portability in its first ads

Apple also sold accessories at the launch of the iPod shuffle, like an armband that turned the device into an athletic accessory, a sport case that came with a neck strap, a dock, and a USB power adapter. There was even a battery pack that extended the iPod shuffle's life from 12 hours to 20 additional hours. Every iPod shuffle came with an included lanyard so users could wear the small device around their neck.

iPod shuffle was a notable release for the iPod lineup because of its huge departure from the typical iPod feature set. Besides a display, it lacked a scroll wheel, ability to manage playlists, and typical iPod features like games, address book contacts, calendar, alarm, and other software mainstays of the iPods before the shuffle.

The only buttons on the front of the iPod shuffle were for Play/Pause, Next Song/Fast Forward, Previous Song/Reverse, and volume rockers. The back held a battery level indicator light, and the three-way switch that turned the device off or alternated between randomly playing music or playing it in order. The bottom of the iPod shuffle had a removable cap where the USB plug was hidden.

iPod shuffle wikimedia commons

Every iPod shuffle generation by Matthieu Riegler via Wikimedia Commons

Apple eventually updated the iPod shuffle throughout numerous generations. The second generation debuted on September 12, 2006, coming in at half the size of the original model and with a built-in belt clip.

The third generation iPod shuffle launched on March 11, 2009, which returned to the long, rectangular design of the original device but introduced a brushed aluminum frame and VoiceOver features. This model completely lacked playback and volume controls on the device itself, and resigned these controls to the included EarBuds.

third generation ipod shuffle lineup

iPod shuffle third generation

The fourth generation of iPod shuffle came out on September 1, 2010, again returning to a previous design by mimicking the square body of the second generation, while offering a bevy of colors for customers to choose from. This was ultimately the last generation of iPod shuffle to release from Apple, and the line is now dead.

ipod shuffle 2015 lineup

iPod shuffle fourth generation

As of July 27, 2017, Apple discontinued the iPod shuffle family by removing it from the company website and online store. At that time, the iPod shuffle had been on the market for twelve and a half years. Apple also discontinued the iPod nano on the same day, leaving the iPod touch as the only remaining device in the iPod lineup.

Top Rated Comments

brofkand Avatar
45 months ago
The last gen was the best gen. Wish they still made them. They're still useful.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac 128 Avatar
45 months ago
How long before we get an iPhone Shuffle?
We already have it. It’s called the Apple Watch
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
45 months ago
Somehow, I've managed to accumulate the first three generations of Shuffle over the years. This is how I've thought of them:

* First gen – Most iconic and could plug directly into your computer.
* Second gen – Best form factor (area to left of navigation for your finger to open clip).
* Third gen – Confusing as hell, but at least it had song information, I guess?
* Fourth gen – Smallest design, buttons integrated again, plus song info. Bonza.

I always wished they made some combination of the first and fourth generations with an internal speaker too. The idea of being able to play music directly from an SD-card-sized device that needs no cables to plug into your computer still seems cool.

Low-res mockup of advertisement of said iPod that I made in 2009:



Attachment Image
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
danny842003 Avatar
45 months ago
Since nobody wanted to buy them anymore after 12 years on the market, does this mean it was just a fad?
Or have smartphones and smaller smart watches replaced it (with streaming subscription music)?
The smarthphone just killed the market. For the majority of people having one device that could do the job made them redundant. This happened before streaming services even took off.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Plutonius Avatar
45 months ago
I still have one somewhere.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Calpike Avatar
45 months ago
I still use my first-gen Shuffle every day at the gym.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...