Whew, that was fun. I woke up this morning with my head somewhat cleared of yesterday's Steve-induced reality haze. The Shuffle is fun and the Mac Mini will be great to have in a few weeks, but mobility is really where the action is. Mac people don't get that yet. Did you see the replay of the keynote? You could have heard a pin drop when Jobs announced the Motorola phone with iTunes support. No one cared. I'm not sure if even Steve cared, as he didn't give any real verbal or visual cues at how amazing this was either. I'm sure Ed Zander was thrilled.
But once again I have to point out the numbers: 10 million *total* iPods seems great until you compare it to the at least 50+ million more-expensive Nokia phones sold in last quarter alone. And 512MB of RAM for $99 on my iPod Shuffle feels like a great deal compared to the other players out there, but my phone has more storage than that and it's with me all the time. If someone would just develop some mobile-oriented music software (or a plug in) like iTunes, it'd make the Shuffle look pretty useless in comparision. It's a big "if" I know, but it's not beyond imagination that some developer out there will do it.
"2005 will be the year of time-shifting": Everything from your music, to your television shows, to your presence itself will all be where you are at your demand. Services like Orb, Avvenu, Sling, TiVo To Go and others will provide amazing time-shifting services either through syncing or streaming and transform how people think of their content. The mobile phone is at the core of this transformation because of its versatility. Those phones that are more versatile and open will be the most to benefit from this movement. On the other hand, one-trick devices like iPods or phones that are over-targeted at a specific market segment will fade from memory pretty quickly as they become less applicable to how people want to use their personal media.
In other words, my Shuffle is probably going to have a pretty short shelf-life. Within 6 months I'm sure another mobile phone (or a piece of phone software) will do everything the Shuffle does and more and I'll happily switch to using that device instead. This isn't a question in my mind, it's just going to happen.
In the meantime though, it's always fun to watch where the marketing wizards in Cupertino have set the bar this year, and hey, my Shuffle is definitely kinda neat...