Huh? The iPod Shuffle stiffles podcasting?

Huh? The iPod Shuffle stiffles podcasting? That podcasters would whine about the iPod Shuffle is amazing to me. I feel relatively certain that Apple did not have the podcast listener marketplace in mind when it decided to bring the product to market. I feel relatively certain that the 20,000 iPod Shuffles purchased in the first few hours were not being snapped up by eager podcast listeners.

Here’s what I said on the topic in a comment on Doc Searl’s IT Garage blog:

I’m not getting this, Doc. It was just a little over three months ago (on September 28) when you said the term “podcast” only brought up 24 results on Google. Three months. Are we now ready to declare that podcasting adheres to a specific format and therefore Apple screwed up with a product it surely had in development since before September 28 and, frankly, is targeted at a vastly larger market than podcast listeners. (You didn’t say this, but others are.)

Let’s hope not. As much as I appreciate what pioneering podcasters have done, I don’t think the highest, best use of the concept is what is being done three months into all of this. And are we already at the point where specifications for the perfect podcasting player can be declared? Three months. And does anyone really think that a feature set is what is needed to compete with the iTunes platform? You say they should be open like Amazon.com. But it tooks years for Amazon to embrace the notion that facilitating transactions rather than retailing was their real opportunity. I couldn’t agree with you more, by the way. I wish iTunes were open and hope they’ll listen to you. By the way, I think the iTunes folks are very devoted students of Amazon.com and have commented on that at length.

The iPod Shuffle sold 20,000 units in its first few hours. I doubt 20 of those purchases were by people who wanted to find the perfect device for listening to podcasting (although, I do know of one). I predict there will be dozens of special-usage iPods (or iPod-enabled devices by third parties – like the Motorola iPod enabled phone -in the coming months — swimming goggles with a waterproof iPod-enable flash memory device attached is on my wish list.)

Bottom line for me: Like Ed Rice, I think any device that gets more MP3 players in the hands of millions of people is going to be the big dog that wags podcasting’s long tail. And, if I were Apple and had to choose between creating a product for a market consisting of Adam Currey listeners or one consisting of millions of joggers and 12 year olds, well, I know the one I’d create first.