Playlist.com has an article quoting Dan Torres, vice-president for product marketing at Rio, "Apple shipped a somewhat neutered product." He was speaking of the iPod Shuffle. In the interest of full disclosure I ordered one today.
It is amazing that these companies are either so disconnected or just don't get it. Perhaps they have been drinking too much of the podcasting Flavor-aid lately but most users don't want all the junk they're putting on them. Take a look at CD players. How well did CD players combined with FM radios do? Not well.
So as the argument from these companies the iPod Shuffle will fail because it doesn't have a display. They fail to see or understand that if a person wants a display they will spend the extra $100 dollars and get the iPod Mini with a display and four times the capacity. The other companies all sell larger units, some with more features and all with higher price tags. How well does the iRiver hook into the front of your stereo in the car? What about how many batteries you need to pack to keep your power hungry Rio Forge alive for a day.
The amazing thing is that the Rio Forge, for only 10 dollars more have a quarter of the capacity of the iPod Shuffle. Nevermind that to use it in more than one place you'll need your extra cable kits.
At the end of the day Apple will be getting the last laugh... all the way to the bank.