Apple's new iPod Shuffle is tiny, cool. Smaller than a key, the Shuffle has been given a new voice... literally. It can talk to you.
Just when you thought the rest of the tech world was poised to catch up with Apple, they pull us back in.
Have you seen the new iPod Shuffle? Sure, it's still basically a gateway device to other iPods, the iPhone, and the Macs themselves, but I have to give it credit .. it's even smaller, and the voice recognition, while a little corny, is going to help a bunch of music fans. A thousand songs, 10 hours of battery life, and half the size of its previous incarnate? Apple, it turns out, is kind of a Moore's Law unto itself.
I also noticed the rumor board today .. full of speculation about an Apple Netbook. Or a larger iPod Touch/iPhone model. Either way, it's further evidence that on our future trips to the coffee shop, we'll be carrying a lot less weight. I don't even blink anymore when I see someone sitting down in a cafe, pulling out their iPhone, and going to work. We may be going blind, but boy, is it convenient to get work done without pluggin in, and without carrying even a laptop with us.
As for the competition .. word also out today that Microsoft is setting up its version of an app store. With 70 percent of the proceeds going to the app developers. Sound familiar? Apple says it's seen some 500 million apps downloaded to its platforms already .. can Microsoft possibly hope to compete with that?
One final note .. since the stock market tanked at the end of September '08, most stocks have continued to tumble. Microsoft, for instance, is down close to 30 percent, even since then. Apple shares? Actually up, about 3 percent. There is confidence in Apple's ability to continue to innovate. The same can be said for very few other tech companies.