The ipodder-dev and podcasters mailing lists have been lit up with people complaining about how the new iPod Shuffle is lousy for listening to podcasts.
Even InternetNews had an article to that effect, with Doc Searls and Adam Curry expressing their disdain for the new device. Well, the absolutely first thing I thought when I looked at the new device was “Wow, that looks perfect for podcasting.” I think my reaction is more in line with Eric Rice’s.
Not long ago, I had to make an emergency car ride of several hours. I own no iPod, and the only portable music device I have is an iRiver SlimX MP3 CD player. I didn’t have time to plan ahead and burn a CD of the podcasts I wanted to listen to. I did have my laptop with me, so I ended up setting it in the passenger seat and creating the playlist of what I wanted to hear on the drive. If I had an iPod shuffle, this would have been exactly what I would have synced to the device. I wouldn’t be storing anything on it, just putting on the things I want to listen to now, in roughly the order I want to listen to them. That sounds to me like the perfect situation, and being optimized for not needing the display actually helps out in the driving situation. Call me contrarian, but the empiricist in me says you can’t claim this doesn’t work for listening to podcasts until you’ve tried it. In my thought experiment, it does exactly the trick.