Apple Inc. just released 4 different color versions of their diminutive 1-gig, US$79 screen-less 2nd gen digital music player, the iPod shuffle. There’s pink, green, blue and orange, like the nano, but no apparent changes in features other than the colors though.

I’m a bit caught off-guard with the timing of this release. Maybe it’s to keep us from going stir-crazy waiting for the iPhone? Would’ve expected something like this during the rumored Feb. 20 Apple Special Event. Then again, Apple sometimes does things out of turn, to catch us by surprise. It’s like getting a gift just because.

I’ve no doubt there will be Macolytes who’d collect all of the colors (I’m not that crazy), but I’m pretty happy with my aluminum postage stamp, thank you.

Dare we hope there’d be a (Product) Red version coming out soon? Now that I’d snap up in a second.

Update: Ha. There is another thing different with this release after all. It now includes the newer and improved white earbuds that come with the 5.5G iPod with video instead of the staid ones that come with the other versions. About time. Another reason to waste US$79.