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Apple Introduces 4GB iPod Shuffle That Talks to You

Apple on Wednesday debuted a new version of the iPod shuffle with 4GB of capacity and a VoiceOver feature that speaks song titles, artists, and playlist names in 14 languages, including English, French German, Spanish, Italian, and others. Available in silver and black, it's also the first shuffle with the ability to manage playlists.

Apple has also changed the shuffle's form factor to one resembling a stick of gum. It's 1.8 inches high and 0.7 of an inch wide, with a clip on the back. The controls are now contained on the earbud cord, and there's room on the back for laser engraving, which is free for all iPods. Apple estimates a playback time of up to 10 hours when the shuffle is fully charged -- the new shuffle can also speak battery life information, along with other status updates, to users.

The third generation shuffle sells for US$79. The previous generation shuffle, which came in five colors, is still available at the online Apple Store in 1GB capacity for $49.

12 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Nookster said:

No buttons, very clever. You now have to use Apple’s earbuds to control it, and if they break or you lose them, then you have to buy another pair of shuffle buds if you want to ever use it again, nice long term strategy.

I await an emerging market of unofficial third party crap just to let you use better buds or hook it up to an amp.

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geoduck said:

I agree. Persona;;y I HATE things in my ears. I never use Apple earbuds so I guess this one is not for me. I do wonder about those that use their iPod with speaker systems. One place I work uses an older iPod to drive the music in the showroom. At home we use our iPod with a boom-box. This is a cool design but IMO they have reached the point where they may be limiting its appeal.

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burrito said:

wow, if this isn’t the most half-assed apple product ever created..

why couldn’t they keep those same controls on the device itself? now we have to use *their* earbuds.. and if you want to talk about a clunky interface.. having three different functions assigned to one button..?! and the “squeeze the button when you hear your playlist announced” is unintuitive as well.

not to mention the thing is ugly.. heh.. the only cool part about it is that you get a crappier voice if you sync with a pc.. lol

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Lee Dronick said:

There are some controls on top, but not for volume.

This may be a test device to see how users react to VoiceOver

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doogie said:

I can’t believe they left that big blank slate on the front.  Why isn’t it plastered with a big apple?

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deasys said:

burrito said:
why couldn?t they keep those same controls on the device itself?

Because Apple actually cares about things like ergonomics and the user experience. Controls on the cord are:
- easier to access
- always consistently oriented
- never hidden underneath a jacket or sweater

the ?squeeze the button when you hear your playlist announced? is unintuitive as well.

In what way is pushing the button when your target is announced “unintuitive?”

not to mention the thing is ugly.. heh.. the only cool part about it is that you get a crappier voice if you sync with a pc.. lol

lol indeed. Lots of things are crappier on a “pc,” burrito. Are you surprised?

BTW, this new iPod shuffle is anything but ugly.

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Tiger said:

As an Apple user of 25 years, let me add my “meh” to this announcement.

Talk about underwhelming. I’ll keep my 1st Gen Shuffle over this one. It’s not perfect either, but all these “innovations” seem little more than annoying. When the Shuffle lost the ability to double as a flash drive, it lost half it’s value to the customer. USB ports aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, auto makers are only now starting to really incorporate them into the vehicle interface. Talk about a great way to bring your music with you in the car.

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Rex said:

“Because Apple actually cares about things like ergonomics and the user experience. “

Those earbuds are about the least ergonomic thing I’ve ever used. A perfectly round 3/4 inch nugget of hard plastic does NOT fit into my ear holes, nor those of most other people I know who have tried them.

I was really excited about the larger capacity and smaller form factor until I learned that the volume controls were in the earbud cord. I’ll pass on this one.

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Pat said:

Apple takes marriage of elitism, idiocy to new levels with talking iPod

Apple didn?t invent the portable music player (PMP), but with the introduction of the iPod in 2001, it proudly pioneered the role of the devices as uber-hip status symbols projecting urban youth gestalt, hip-hop elitism, and a strident allegiance to a crippling dependency on one proprietary piece of software for the transfer of music files ...


http://wineandexcrement.com/apple-takes-marriage-of-elitism-idiocy-to-new-levels-with-talking-ipod/892/

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Lee Dronick said:

@Rex “Those earbuds are about the least ergonomic thing I?ve ever used. A perfectly round 3/4 inch nugget of hard plastic does NOT fit into my ear holes, nor those of most other people I know who have tried them.”

My vote for the worst ergonomic thing I ever used was the Apple hockey puck mouse, but I get your point.

The Shuffle is marketed in large part to joggers and such where the problem if ear buds falling out is common.  I wonder why Apple didn’t use their new in-ear model

Anyway, for all our complaints about this thing we need to understand that the older model Shuffle is still for sale by Apple. Of course they may discontinue it at sometime in the near future, but in the meantime you can still do The Curly Shuffle

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burrito said:

@deasys

this is the first apple product (post 1997) that i’ve opened up some hate on.. but really? can you please pass me some RDF to smoke?

   Quote

geoduck said:

Gizmodo is not impressed with the new controls on the headphone cord either.
http://i.gizmodo.com/5167997/bad-idea-moving-ipod-shuffles-controls-exclusively-to-the-headphones
They did get word from Apple that there will be an adaptor for third party headphones… someday.

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