In the iPhone OS 3.0 update, there were a lot of nice features added. Some of them are fairly major and useful, like cut-and-paste. Some of them are subtle and useful, like the 30-second rewind button when playing a podcast. But there’s one feature that sticks out to me as totally useless: “Shake to Shuffle”.
I guess there’s some tiny “cute-factor” to it. But in practical terms, it’s pretty darned useless. When you’re using your iPhone or iPod Touch to listen to music, you’re probably either: on the move (in your car, jogging, biking, mowing your lawn, etc.) or in a passive environment (working at a desk, connecting your iPhone to an external amplifier/speaker system, etc). Rarely are you going to be carrying your iPhone in hand, but still enough to avoid accidental shuffling.
And accidental shuffling is what makes this feature so useless. I didn’t realize that Apple had defaulted this feature “on”. So imagine my confusion when on a couple of occasions I was driving down the road and my iPhone skipped the the next track in the middle of a song. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but then somebody mentioned “shake to shuffle” on Twitter, and it suddenly occurred to me that I should check that setting. Doh!
Thanks, Apple. You re-invented the Sony Discman.