In Short

Three years into the iPod's run Apple decided small was beautiful. The result was the iPod mini, a smaller version that proved to be enormously popular. So it was natural that the following year, in 2005, Apple would release an even smaller iPod, the iPod shuffle.

The iPod shuffle was introduced in January 2005 at Macworld Expo. Apple's smallest iPod was also the first to use flash memory for storage. The first iPod shuffle weighed less than a pack of gum and looked the part, too — a displayless music player encased in a white polycarbonate shell that looked like a thumbdrive, with a USB port hidden under a cap on one end. The iPod shuffle would be revised four times in the intervening years to its current configuration, which was introduced in September, 2010.

The iPod shuffle remains the lightest and smallest iPod in Apple's line, measuring a scant 1.14 x 1.24 x 0.34 inches and weight less than half an ounce. The device easily clips onto your shirt for easy portability. With its tiny size and light weight, it won't weigh you down when you're exercising or out and about.

Inside is 2 GB of storage — enough space for several hundred songs. The battery, which recharges through the stereo headphone minijack, is good for about 15 hours of play between charges.

Though the iPod shuffle lacks a display, like other iPods, it sports a dedicated VoiceOver button that tells you what song title is playing, the artist's name and the battery status. And it does more than just shuffle — VoiceOver helps you manage playlists, too.

With no built-in Wi-Fi the shuffle requires a tethered USB connection to a host Mac or PC running iTunes in order to download new music.

Apple makes the iPod shuffle in colors to match almost any outfit. It's available in blue, green, yellow, pink, purple, space gray, silver and — if you order from the Apple Store exclusively — red.

If you're just looking for a no-nonsense iPod that will give you enough room to get through your workout or your work day, the iPod shuffle fits the bill. At at $49, that's the smallest bill you'll get for a genuine Apple iPod.