Last September I was given a 1st Gen iPod shuffle (512M) as a gift for being Best Man at a friend's wedding. It was even engraved with my name. I hadn't gone Mac at the time. While the shuffle was an interesting device, I never quite "got it".
In January I bought my MacBook. Over time I becamed enamored of it. I reconsidered the shuffle, and loaded nearly my entire music collection on the Mac. It was easy and didn't take a lot of time. While limited in what the shuffle can do, I found in it my own personal radio station. It was real nice. And yes it was pretty and easy to use. I connect it to the audio system in my car, I use it at work, and occasionally I even use it at home.
Last week I began seriously considering a new iPod. None of the other types of players were even considered. I went to a local Apple store and tested one. It was really nice: very capable, pretty, and easy to use. I settled on a basic Nano, 2G, reconditioned. It's due to arrive by the weekend, and I cannot wait.
Do I NEED it? It makes life a little nicer without making it more difficult.