I have to take the Apple-will-become-a-headset-with-remote-standard thing back. They are being morons: in order for a headset with the new super remote control to work with the iPod Shuffle, it has to include a special Apple-supplied hardware chip according to iLounge. That's right, Apple is now designing music players that turn the open headphones market into a Manufacturer Approved Peripheral market, going the same way as phones with their non-standard music jacks. It's just another version of Nokia's PopPort.
The review also says it is simply a bad music player because the remote control makes it complicated to use. The sending-little-beeps-over-the-line sounds remarkably like that CD player with remote I used in 1993, except that had dedicated forward and backwaqrd controls that made those beeps, it didn't make me hit a button 3 times to go skip a track and hit it twice to go back.
I think I need to hoard a stash of 2nd Gen Shuffles.
Edit: Apple has weighed in: there is a proprietary chip in the remote that manufacturers have to license to be part of the Made For iPod program / certification, but there is no encryption on it and can be easily cloned. I still think it sucks because it hinders the adoption of this scheme as a universal plug for headsets that go from phone to iPod to stereo etc.