Six Ways of Wearing an Apple iPod shuffle

By Gerd Waloszek

To overview of UI Design Thoughts

At previous CHI conferences there was much ballyhoo around wearable computers, digital jewelry, and intelligent clothes (see, for example, CHI 2002 – Changing the World, Changing Ourselves). In the meantime, not too much has happened in that area, to put it mildly. For example, when I visited the Phillips Website that was dedicated to intelligent clothes, all stuff had gone...

Luckily, a company that is well-known for its innovative products stepped into the breach: Apple Computers Inc. presented the iPod. Even though the iPod is not a "real," that is universal, computer, it is a computer anyway – one that not only creates music from digital bits but also looks cool and therefore is a welcome body companion. While Apple is offering a complete line of different iPod models in the meantime, the tiny iPod shuffle comes closest to the concept of digital jewelry. But its users are confused. How should they wear this precious piece of digital jewelry? Apple itself proposes to clip the iPod shuffle to the neck line as shown in Figure 1 below:

iPod wearing style as recommended by Apple Computers Inc.

Figure 1: The wearing style as proposed by the Apple Website (German version) – a wider neck line would be preferable. (For copyright reasons, I re-enacted the original photo.)

In my opinion, Apple should, however, propose more wearing styles, to better accommodate the various needs and abilities of iPod users. To overcome this, probably temporary, shortcoming, I present six ways of wearing an Apple iPod shuffle in this article. Here they are (Figures 2-7):

iPod clipped on beard

My preferred wearing style – regrettably I had cut my beard just recently


iPod cipped on glasses

The ideal and unobtrusive wearing style for people with glasses


iPod clipped on cap

The ideal wearing style for people with a cap


iPod clipped on revered cap

Usually, I wear a cap this way in order to protect my neck from sun burn – not that ideal, actually...


iPod clipped on ear

Now coming closer to the jewelry idea: the iPod shuffle as an ear clip ...


iPod as finger ring decoration

... or as a finger ring decoration – somewhat clunky, and the cable is always in the way...

Figures 2-7: Proposed wearing styles for the Apple iPod shuffle

Incidental Remark

I was proud of NOT having an iPod up to now. I have to admit, however, that I had ordered an iPod Shuffle this spring, but I cancelled the order and decided to spend the money for something more useful... Now, someone else insisted on donating one to me. What a misfortune! Actually, I am still convinced that an Apple iPod is the fastest way of becoming bored of one's favorite music. Time will tell, whether I am right or wrong with this conviction regarding myself...

Final Comment

Of course, my proposed wearing styles are only the beginning. Many more styles should be easily discovered (for example, the iPod as a tie clip). What is your preferred wearing style for an iPod? Please let us know! For getting more feedback, we do not limit contributions to the iPod Shuffle, the iPod – any mp3 player will do, or even mp3 players. But the device must be sort of a computer (digicams and videocams excluded!)...



All photos taken with an iSight camera from an Apple MacBook Pro.


Originally Published: 08/13/2007 - Last Revision: 01/31/2009

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