Reader Michael writes to let us know that the latest iPod shuffle, an mp3 player whose small size makes it an attractive exercise companion, tends to break when used as an exercise companion.
I bought the latest iPod Shuffle from an Apple Store two days ago to use while I run. 15 minutes into my first run with it the Shuffle completely stopped working. I took it to the store and a courteous salesman used a scope, similar to ones used by doctors to check your ears, to look inside the earphone jack to see if there was water damage. Sure enough the white dot at the bottom had turned pink like an awful pregnancy test. I was told there’s nothing to be done about water damage no return, no exchange. He suggested putting the device in the sun for a few hours. I asked if he had heard of any problems with the new Shuffle and he said he hadn’t. I then went home and looked at Amazon.com and there are 54 one star reviews for the device most of which complain about how the thing gets damaged and breaks due to moisture from sweat many times very soon after purchase. There’s also a substantial thread about this on Apple.com’s forum. Like most people I bought the shuffle to clip to my shorts to have a small mp3 player not weigh me down. Too bad the thing can’t handle sweat. I wonder if the designers for the Shuffle every exercise outside the test lab.
Sure enough, the Amazon page is rife with complaints about iPod Shuffles breaking during workouts because of sweat. We understand that electronics and moisture usually don’t go together, but for a company that is known for its design savvy, Apple probably should have reconciled the Shuffle’s moisture sensitivity with its obvious appeal to people who want to listen to music while exercising.