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.
- Apple filing reveals executive compensation plans, earnings
- Report: Apple Watch battery life expected to be about 19 hours
- Apple outlines limited HomeKit support for non-HomeKit accessories
- Report: Apple agrees to accept product inspections from Chinese government
- IK Multimedia announces iRig Mic Studio
- NimbleBit announces Apple Watch support for Letterpad
- Apple acquires music analytics firm Semetric
- Apple terminates Crimean developer agreements due to U.S. sanctions
- Apple commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- iLounge Weekly coming Monday, sign up now
- Patriot Memory Fuel iON Magnetic Charging Case with Charging Pad for iPhone 6
- Lenmar Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6
- STM Studio for iPad Air 2
- VSN Mobil V.360 Camera
- Booq Booqpad for iPad Air 2
- Incipio offGRID Express for iPhone 6
- Incipio Tuxen for iPad Air 2
- Incipio Trestle for iPhone 6 Plus
- Urban Armor Gear Folio Case for iPad Air 2
- ZeroChroma Folio-Slide for iPad Air 2
- Can I share in-app subscriptions among family members?
- Can I cancel or ‘unsend’ sent iMessages?
- Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Apple’s HomeKit
- Reorganizing files in the iTunes Media Folder
- Exchange text messages between two iPhones with no cellular data plan
- The Booths of the iProducts Marketplace at CES 2015
- Hands-on with CarPlay at CES 2015
- iLounge announces its CES 2015 Best of Show Awards
- Five Things to Watch for at CES 2015
- Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide for 2014