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New iPod Shuffle: Simple, or Simply Confusing?

Yesterday’s somewhat surprising announcement of a new iPod Shuffle brought about some discussion on Apple’s philosophy of simplicity in its design.

The third generation iPod Shuffle does away with on-device controls, instead offloading them onto an inline unit on the earphone cord. While some may see this as just transplanting size from one device to another, there’s no denying Apple’s clear mission on paring down its products to its most simple forms.

Of course, the iPod Shuffle isn’t a complicated device and wouldn’t require an elaborate input system, but the first and second generation versions came with dedicated buttons for playing, pausing and skipping tracks in either direction. With new iPod Shuffle, those functions have all been condensed into a single button.

Engadget pointed towards an Apple support document that tells how one is supposed to replicate all the functions of a multi-button control scheme on a single button. Click on the image below for the full view