A while back I mentioned that I was getting the iPod Remote Control. This little device is essential if you have an iPod and you either (a) work out or (b) listen to it in your car. It is a small module less than an inch square with a clip on the back. The control layout is volume up/down on the top (rocker switch), previous and next track switches in the middle, and play/pause on the bottom. A small slider on the side allows locking out the remote so you don’t press buttons accidentally. The top of the device accepts a standard miniplug for headphones or another device (like a cassette adapter).
In the car, I clip the remote to my shirt (what do you call the strip of fabric into which the buttons go? there must be a word for that [Update: Esta says it’s called a placket. Thanks, Vocabulary Fairy!]). If I need to change a tune it’s a one hand, no eyes required operation, much safer than trying to do it on the iPod. In the gym, as long as there’s a flat surface nearby, I don’t even need a belt clip for the iPod; the remote clips to my t-shirt and away I go.
Some bonuses: if you have the original iPod with the ear-stretching earbuds, the remote comes with the new, less painful earbuds. And pressing play while the iPod is off immediately turns it on and starts it playing. Using the iPod, two button pushes are required, one to wake it up and one to start it playing, and there is a perceptible amount of lag time, which seems absent when using the remote.
In a related note, I missed the announcement of the Burton Amp, which holds an iPod and integrates a remote control into the sleeve. Good for snowboarding, I suppose…