Installing the input jack on the back side has two advantages. The first is being closer to the ipod bottom connector now cable manufacturers can design 90 digree connector out of ipod to the input of the Shadow, which I have seen Germania have done that. Secondly it permits the size of the amp being much smaller.
I agree with the place of the input jack on the back side (I use ALO cables which I love too) & recognized the technical reason for much small size.
But, the other RSA Portable Amps have input & output jacks at same direction. They are so easy to use with iPod IMO & a few people have said like me.
In either case, I will expect The Shadow very much from now on too!