I talked to my brother, Scott Aiello, today who told me he put his name on the list for one of the $99 iPod Shuffles at the local Best Buy near his house. He later learned that the store has no idea when he will receive his iPod Shuffle, so he'll probably order it from Amazon.com or The Apple Store instead.
I asked him why he wants the smaller iPod Shuffle and not the $149 1-Gigabyte model? He said that he thought 120 songs was enough for him, especially when he's working out.
This reinforced my original thought about the iPod Shuffle: it's going to be hot with athletes for use in training and during warmups for events. Now that the iPod product line has flash-memory based units, you are going to see even more of them in use before professional, high school, and college sports events.
Back in July, I wrote about using an iPod while cycling and pointed out that Lance Armstrong was seen listening to his iPod while on training rides in the television mini-series The Lance Chronicles. I have to say that the iPod Shuffle is probably a more appropriate player for cycling than an iPod or an iPod mini, chiefly because it would be much less likely to be damaged if it happened to be dropped on the road.
I have a playlist of rock music from the 80s and 90s that I listen to when I exercise. It currently has 99 songs and runs for 6 hours and 48 minutes, end-to-end. This playlist fits on either model of the iPod Shuffle, and I'd be happy to have an iPod Shuffle to play it. Seven to eight hours of music should be enough for even Lance Armstrong's most intense training rides.
If you go to a National Football League game, you will see a lot of players using iPods during the warmup period that takes place an hour or so before kickoff. I'm sure iPods play a role in batting practice at Major League Baseball games as well. iPods and iPod minis are probably harder to keep attached to you in these cases than the iPod Shuffle would be.
There's another scenario where I see iPod Shuffles being used-- in warmups for figure skating short and long programs. If you've ever been to one of these events and seen the warmup, a group of figure skaters enters the ice for a short period of time and simultaneously run through parts of their programs. Most of the time, the skaters have to practice by counting the beats to their music in their head. Now skaters can carry their music with them, listen to clips from it while warming up, and not have bulky or heavy devices attached to themselves.
I'm sure we will see more athletes try to use music players before events now that the iPod Shuffle has reached the market than ever before. If you can think of more places where athletes might use a music players now where they haven't before, let me know.