So Last Year’s iPod shuffle Rumor Was True (Partially): iPod shuffle 3G
Late last year, we heard that Apple was working on a version of the iPod shuffle with the headphone port that was added to 2008 iPods—you know, the one with remote control and microphone support. Why would the shuffle need a microphone, we wondered, given that it had no way to record anything? The signs pointed to either an imminent complete redesign or something else.
Today, we got our answer: the iPod shuffle lost its buttons. Now, you control playback through a pair of remote- but not mic-equipped Apple Earphones, and a new system called VoiceOver, which appears to be derived from the 2008 iPod nano. VoiceOver tells you the name of the currently playing song, and lets you switch playlists—a first for the iPod shuffle—by reading a list to you of the playlists stored on the device, and then letting you click the remote’s center button to select it. All that’s left control-wise on the shuffle is a three-position power, shuffle, and ordered play switch; Apple has even removed the power indicator, apparently, and replaced it with a VoiceOver prompt to recharge the device.
VoiceOver works for titles in English, Chinese (Mandarin), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish, and lets users choose within iTunes which language a given song title should be pronounced in. Interesting. And the voice becomes more lifelike if you use a Mac with OS X Leopard rather than a PC or OS X Tiger, switching from a robotic semi-feminine voice to a smoother male voice.
And, of course, it’s smaller than before, at least in most dimensions. Previously, the shuffle was 41.2 millimeters long; the new one is 45.2mm if you turn it on its side. A 27.3mm width has given way to 17.5mm, and depth of 10.5mm is now only 7.8mm, including the clip. It now packs 4GB of storage, a 10 hour battery—dropping from 12 promised hours in the prior one and 18 actual hours in testing—and comes only in two colors: silver and graphite black. Since it now has a polished steel rear clip, it looks like the back will be scratchable, even if the rest of the body isn’t.
It’s interesting that Apple didn’t hold an event to announce the new shuffle, given that it does constitute a full body and feature redesign, but then, it’s possible that this buttonless little device really wouldn’t show so well at an event. Even moreso than the prior shuffle, the power it packs isn’t obvious from its face; we’ll need to see how it performs in real-world tests.
One last thought: does the lack of surface-mounted controls mean that this is the end of the iPod shuffle as an in-car iPod? Or will accessory makers come up with a control/line-in cable that can be used in vehicles? The mind races.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Report: Apple to update Apple Store app with personalized recommendations
- Report: Apple now prioritizing autonomous driving system in car project
- WSJ: Apple’s ‘hard-charging’ approach unsuccessful in negotiations with TV networks
- Video purports to show official Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter
- New iPhone pre-orders to start Sept. 9?
- Apple has sold one billion iPhones
- Parkopedia to provide detailed parking information for Apple Maps [Updated]
- Microsoft releases Pix camera app for iPhone
- Adobe launches new Lightroom viewer for Apple TV
- Australian banks team up to push for other mobile payment apps on iPhone
- Moe Bull Stand for iPad Air 2 + 9.7” iPad Pro
- Netatmo Tags for Welcome Smart Home Camera
- iDevices Socket HomeKit-enabled Light Adapter
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartPlug for Apple HomeKit
- Marbotic Smart Letters for iPad
- Ecoxgear Sol Jam Bluetooth Speaker
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case + Hand Strap for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Braven BRV-1M Bluetooth Speaker
- Braven BRV-Blade Bluetooth Speaker
- Invoxia Voice Bridge
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app