2004 was a frequent-flier year for me with just over 70,000 airmiles earned the hard way in Economy (no 1.5x or 2x accumulation rate), but who cares...I love to travel and my 30GB iPod goes on every trip (p.s. Etymotic's ER-6 and ER-4 acoustically sealed in-ear-phones work wonders in loud cabins). Hence I wasn't really interested in the new iPod shuffle until two days ago while browsing the local Apple Store. I was stunned by the sound quality. In fact, sound quality through my PowerBook has more "weight" across the frequency spectrum than my iPod. I consider the iPod to have a more "analytical" sound while the PowerBook has a "warmer" sound. If you're an audiophile or a hater of audiophiles you'll know what I mean by these terms. However, sound quality through the iPod shuffle was superior to both. It has more weight than my iPod and less blooming than the PowerBook. It is uncannily clear in the critical midrange and treble frequencies. I thought about it for a moment and wondered whether the complete absence of moving parts (and lack of mechanical and mechanically-induced noise) was a factor. Anyway, the technical reasons weren't so important; the sound quality mattered most, so I placed an order for the 1GB model. Here, however, is a brief comment from PC Magazine. Note the statement in bold. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1763754,00.asp If you have an iPod shuffle, how would you compare its sound quality with that coming form a 3G/4G iPod or your laptop or desktop?