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Thought Out Ped USB
We've previously reviewed Thought Out's iPed, a stand for full-size iPod models that lets you connect your iPod to Apple's dock connector cable while holding your iPod upright. (The name of the iPed has recently been changed to "Ped" to avoid the wrath of Apple's legal department.) The company has now released a version for the iPod shuffle, the Ped USB. Like the previous version, the Ped USB is made of a single piece of alloy steel, shaped to match Apple's iMac G5 and aluminum Cinema Display stands. But unlike the original Ped, the Ped USB is gloss white to more closely match the iPod shuffle and includes a built-in female USB plug and cable (in essence, a USB extension cable). You connect the "male" end of the cable to your computer's USB port or hub and then whenever you need to sync/charge your iPod shuffle, you place it in the Ped USB.
Like its older sibling, the Ped USB is solid and sturdy, and its rubber base keeps it from sliding around your desk. However, I do have two minor complaints. The first is that the included USB cable is too short -- approximately 2.75 feet long -- for some computer setups; for example, my computer sits on the floor next to my desk and the Ped USB's cable would not reach the computer's USB port while still allowing me to place the stand where I wanted it on my desk. The second issue is aesthetic, rather than functional: At the location where the Ped's USB cable attaches to the stand, it's covered in a white "jacket"; unfortunately, this jacket isn't the same shade of white as the stand itself or an iPod shuffle, nor is the Ped's "beige" USB cable. This isn't a major issue, but some people might be bothered by the slight color mismatch.
That being said, the Ped USB is both more attractive and sturdier than Apple's iPod shuffle dock, and it costs $11 less. If you want a stand for your shuffle, but you don't need the longer cable of Apple's offering, the Ped USB is a recommended alternative.--Dan Frakes
Thought Out Ped USB
Stand with USB docking cable for iPod shuffle