My Shuffle Doesn’t Need Protecting

by Gregory Ng Apr 13, 2005

There are iPod purists out there who feel their iPod should exist unprotected from the elements. They argue using protective cases hide the beauty of the design of the iPod. I agree and I disagree. My iPod is beautiful. But it has been protected since the day I bought it. I’m perfectly happy with catching glimpses of my still pristine iPod as I open the cover from my iPod Armor to start it up every morning.

Protect your iPod? Yes, there is logic to it. Protect your iPod Shuffle? No, this doesn’t make sense.

Recently I received a sample of the SkinTight for iPod Shuffle from Speck. Normally review samples that cross my desk are met with great excitement and anticipation. This was not one of those cases. I originally set out to provide an objective review of this product, so generously sent to me by Speck Products. A few years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing another product from Speck, the iSport, and I wanted it to do the same for their latest offering. But iPodlounge already wrote a comprehensive review of this product on their site and frankly, there isn’t anything exciting to say. So I have ended up with a subjective view on the entire category of Shuffle protective cases.

I ask the question: Why? Why do you need a protective case for something that is plastic, light, and comes with a carrying device (the included lanyard)? For other iPods, the metal backing can get scratched. The screen can get scratched. You can lose your grip on it and drop it — risking damage to the hard drive. None of that is relevant to the Shuffle. I don’t care if it is made of rubber, plastic, neoprene, or aluminum. The Shuffle simply does not need protecting.

I can’t blame Speck  for coming out with this product. They have made a name for themselves as “Protection for Mobile Devices.” The Shuffle is, after all, a mobile device and hey let’s face it, if they didn’t do it, someone else would do it. But I can blame them for charging $19.95 and in effect taking advantage of the hype. This product is maybe worth $5.

Check out a more technical review of the Skin Tight and other Shuffle cases at iPodlounge. But let it be known I strongly disagree with their B+ score for this case. With the black model I received, I couldn’t see the green status light through the rubber and the lanyard does not attach to the Shuffle when the skin is put on. Sounds like a C score at best. But in my opinion, it shouldn’t have been made (let alone sold) anyways.


  • I concur. I have an old Mini Cooper—just out of the restoration shop—and bought a Shuffle to listen to music in the car. Not only does protection seem superfluous, but I realized that listening to an MP3 player without a display is like listening to…um…well, radio. I don’t miss seeing song titles, because plain ol’ FM doesn’t do that either.

    AdamB had this to say on Apr 18, 2005 Posts: 4
  • i totally understand where you guys are coming from but there is always an exception to the obvious. i use my shuffle as i walk the lakefront walking path that is virtually next to lake pontchartrain in la. many days the wind is strong enough to push the waves over the seawall and splash me and my shuffle!  so i will be buying a silicone cover as soon as they ship! ditto about the display… i couldn’t care less! just like fm radio but i get to pick the tunes!

    Dutt had this to say on May 04, 2005 Posts: 1
  • People who buy shuffles run with them, drop them, lose them and then find them (with battery life ready to go).  My roommate actually washed his and dried it in the drier.  He walked into my room wondering if he should try and turn it on?  Worked like a charm!  The shuffle is simple and tough!  No need for a cover that probably weighs more than the shuffle!

    falcon had this to say on May 14, 2005 Posts: 1
  • Oh, of course, this completely misses the point. iPod cases have nothing to do with logic.

    iPod shuffle “skins” exist for the same reason 900 billion iPod cases exist: personalization. Sliding your iPod into a case you’ve chosen largely for aesthetic value (you’ll tell yourself you did a careful feature comparison like a good geek shopper, but you’re fooling yourself; you bought that Coach leather case for your mini because it looked good); protecting your iPod is a secondary consideration at best, and always has been.

    Cases will be marketed as providing all sorts of necessary protection, and perhaps most of them actually do provide some measure of the same, but that’s not why people buy them, when you get right down to it. If protecting the iPod is the iPod Case raison d’etre, somebody needs to come up with a better explanation for the iGuy.

    Babble_ had this to say on May 28, 2005 Posts: 1
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