Apple has quietly added space gray as a color option for the iPod touch 32GB and 64GB models, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, replacing the previously slate black versions of each device. The new color option is sold as a color option for the devices at the same prices as before.
Considering the unannounced color addition, it’s unlikely that Apple will further update their iPod line this year. In 2011, the fourth-generation iPod touch skipped a year in updates, only adding white as a new color.
Apple has been awarded a patent for the fourth-generation iPod shuffle, originally filed in August 2010 immediately before the device’s launch. The patent is for a “very small form factor consumer electronic product,” and the device is described in great detail in the patent.
In patenting the shuffle, Apple attempts to protect a housing with “integral front and side walls that cooperate to form a cavity in cooperation with a front opening where an edge of the side walls define a rear opening and at least some of the edges have flanges.” The clip assembly and other parts are also covered at length, with some details as to how such a small device can be protected against moisture intrusion. [via AppleInsider]
iLounge’s 2012 iPod shuffle photo gallery has been updated to feature all of this year’s new shuffle colors, including the red, silver, and green models, the latter only just becoming available after unexpectedly shipping later than the rest.
Our previous article about the photos offers more details on the tones and textures, which have shifted from the original 2010 versions.
The refreshed iPod shuffles have returned to the classic sandblasted anodized aluminum look of earlier iPod shuffles and nanos, doing away with the polished, glossy aluminum seen in earlier versions. Apple has also restored the high-contrast white Apple logos on the rear of the shuffles, which were previously rendered with a lighter version of each model’s base color, and changed the colors to a new set of tones. Pink, for instance, has become rose-colored, and blue has the classic aqua tones originally seen in earlier iPod mini models. Additional colors, such as purple, yellow, and black, have been added to the lineup as well.
While minor, these changes cosmetically align the refreshed shuffles with the colors and textures of the yet-to-be-released seventh-generation iPod nano. Apple continues to include its prior-generation Apple Earphones with the shuffles, which continue to come in tiny hard plastic boxes. The colors of the shuffles are obvious from both the fronts of the boxes, and in colored Apple logos and iPod shuffle text found on their tops and sides.
Apple may soon introduce a new iPod shuffle, according to a purported Apple inventory listing. 9to5Mac has posted what are claimed to be prices and part numbers for new MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros that Apple is expected to announce next week at its WWDC event. Alongside those machines are seven listings for the same item—labeled B67, seemingly with six color options—that the report says are “probably” iPod shuffles based on the appearance of a seventh personalization option. The price for all of the B67 versions is AU$59, or roughly $58; the current iPod shuffle sells for AU$55, or $49 in the United States. While WWDC would seem to be an odd occasion for such an introduction, Apple may use the event to add Voice Control to the diminutive budget music player, a long-rumored feature that could dovetail with a larger discussion about the future of Siri. It is also possible, however, that the listings simply represent some other, as-yet-unannounced product for which Apple will offer personalization services.
A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company has been working on a way to add a speaker to the iPod nano and iPod shuffle. Entitled “Speaker Clip”, U.S. Patent Application #20110274303 describes a rear clip, similar to the one found on current-model iPod nanos and iPod shuffles, that incorporates a piezoelectric speaker in a recessed region in the clip, with perforations to allow the audio to pass through. Notably, one of the drawings included in the patent shows a round hole in the rear clip of an iPod nano-shaped device, serving as evidence that the company has been experimenting with the idea of added a camera to the device, as was suggested by a part leak earlier this year.
Rumored to be discontinued amidst an increased focus on touchscreen devices, Apple’s screenless iPod shuffle and Click Wheel-based iPod classic have survived for yet another year. Oddly, while Apple’s Senior Vice-President Phil Schiller acknowledged that the fourth-generation iPod shuffle was not being updated this year—a decision now reflected in Apple’s web pages, which continue to show the same device at its prior 2GB size, $49 price, and colors—he omitted any mention of the iPod classic, which was previously left out of last year’s iPod announcement event as well.
The iPod classic has not been updated since 2009, when it became a single model with a 160GB hard disk, replacing the nearly identical 120GB model introduced in 2008. Apple.com’s web pages continue to show it as a $249 device with 160GB of hard disk capacity, with the same 2.5”, 320x240 screen and two body color options; it is offered as a high-capacity iPod given that no iPhone or iPod touch model exceeds 64GB in capacity.
Apple has released version 1.4 of its VoiceOver Kit for the fifth-generation iPod nano and third- and fourth-generation iPod shuffle. VoiceOver enables the devices to announce the names of playlists, songs, and artists, as well as battery status and other messages. According to Apple’s release notes, the new version offers pronunciation improvements for many artist and song names, improved voices for Korean, German, and Russian, and fourth-generation iPod shuffle support for Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, and Thai languages. VoiceOver Kit 1.4 is a 32.5MB download and is available for download now via Apple’s Software Update utility.
For those customers who didn’t pre-order their new devices through Apple’s online store, the company’s entire lineup of Fall 2010 iPods is now available in its retail stores, including the fourth-generation iPod shuffle, sixth-generation iPod nano, and fourth-generation iPod touch. Notably, not all colors and/or capacities may be available at your local store; calling ahead to make sure the particular model you want is in stock is advisable. For more information on the new iPods, see our comprehensive review of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle, as well as our unboxing and comparison photo galleries for the fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano.
In completing its teardown of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle, iFixit has indicated that the device is “extremely difficult’ to open, rendering it nearly unserviceable by end users. iFixit found that the device’s control wheel is attached to the logic board via a connector, making it easy to remove, while the battery is soldered to the logic board, making replacement difficult. In addition, access to the shuffle 4G’s internals is only possible by removing the device’s back clip assembly, which is both press-fit and glued to the body, requiring “a good half hour of prying and heat-gunning to open.” Overall, iFixit gave the device a two out of 10 on its repairability scale, with 10 being considered the easiest to repair.
In addition to our earlier unboxing photos of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle, we’ve now posted several images comparing the colors of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle to those of past iPods, including the second- and third-generation iPod shuffle and the second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation iPod nano. More photos are available on our Flickr photostream.
iLounge has received its fourth-generation iPod shuffle shipment and has posted a gallery of unboxing photos to our Flickr account. Notably, the packaging for the new device is impressively small, occupying just enough space to hold the shuffle, a charging/sync cable, and a set of standard Apple earphones. The iPod itself is made from polished metal that is not as glossy as the fifth-generation iPod nano, but considerably shinier than past shuffles made from anodized aluminum; in addition, the shuffle’s orange color has shifted to a more subdued copper tone.
Update: We’ve added more pictures to the gallery, showing off all five shades of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle.
iLounge has posted a gallery of Apple’s official photography for the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod touch, second-generation Apple TV, and fourth-generation iPod shuffle, all of which were announced today during the company’s annual fall music event; a full transcript of the event is available here, while the photo gallery can be viewed below.
Apple today debuted its fourth-generation iPod shuffle, bringing back physical buttons while retaining the VoiceOver feature of the third-generation model. The new model is smaller than its predecessor and more square in shape, with the company’s familiar ring of control buttons on the front, a dedicated VoiceOver button on the top, doing away with the need for an in-line button to activate the feature, and a clip on the back. Genius capabilities have also been added to the device. The fourth-generation iPod shuffle will be available next week in five colors and will sell for $49, with 2GB of storage capacity.
The new iPod shuffle measures 1.14” by 1.24” by 0.34” including the rear clip, with a weight of 0.44 ounces. The top notably features a small dot next to the headphone port that looks like the microphone hole of an iPhone 4, though the device has not been described as microphone-capable in Apple’s materials. It continues to use a custom USB charging and synchronization cable that connects to the headphone port, preventing simultaneous listening and charging; Apple promises 15 hours of audio playback.
iLounge has received more photos supposedly showing cases for upcoming iPod models. As with the case photos discovered last week, these cases are from X-Doria, and offer a glimpse into the shape and features of the fourth-generation iPod touch and a smaller, squarish iPod that could be either the fourth-generation iPod shuffle or sixth-generation iPod nano—notably, it was referred to as the former in our e-mail exchange with the company. These new photos seem to support information published by iLounge last week claiming that the fourth-generation iPod touch will sport a back plate that is mainly flat, as well as a rear-facing camera and mic. We have thus far been unable to confirm whether the rectangular hole on the rear of the shuffle 4G/nano 6G case is for a clip or for access to some other feature. Apple is expected to announce its Fall 2010 iPod lineup at a special event scheduled for Wednesday, Sept 1., at 10:00 a.m. in San Francisco.
An image showing what Chinese case vendor X-Doria claims to be fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano cases has appeared online. The image shows two iPod touch 4G cases with openings in the rear clear plastic for a camera and either a flash or microphone. Notably, the shape of the cases suggests the touch will retain its curved rear shell design instead of moving to a flat back panel as seen on the iPhone 4. The two supposed iPod nano 6G cases, on the other hand, appear to be made for a squarish device based on the 1.7-inch Apple-branded touchscreen seen in photos earlier this year, without any room for a front-mounted Home button. The nano 6G case features an open strip on the rear—perhaps for a camera or built-in clip—as well as what appear to be volume buttons and a larger button on the top side while a Dock Connector and headphone port are along the bottom. Text accompanying the image notes that it is unclear what a move to this small a form factor might mean for the future of the iPod shuffle, though the “nano 6G” device is more like a screened iPod shuffle than the nano, Dock Connector aside.
Apple has launched a new Apple Headphones with Remote Replacement Program for units included with certain third-generation iPod shuffle models. According to the program’s page, “Apple has determined that the Apple Headphones with Remote included with the iPod shuffle (3rd gen) may fail under certain conditions.” The page claims that a “very small percentage” of iPod shuffle owners had experienced the issue, and that the headphones were distributed with iPod shuffles made between February 2009 and February 2010. “If your headphones stop working or work intermittently as described below, Apple will replace them, free of charge, for two years from date of purchase,” the page states.
Apple lists several symptoms for failing headphones, including non-responsive or intermittently working controls, unexpected volume changes, and unexpected voice feedback. According to the program page, the serial number ranges for the iPod shuffle units with covered headphones are xx909xxxxxx to xx952xxxxxx and xx001xxxxxx to xx004xxxxxx. Notably, the page also states that Apple’s In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic and the company’s Earphones with Remote and Mic are also eligible for coverage under the program if they exhibit the listed symptoms. Failing iPod shuffle headphones have been the source of customer complaints since the third-generation model was released last year; Apple was sued in a class-action lawsuit over the issues in March. [via TUAW]
A disgruntled iPod shuffle owner has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over failing iPod shuffle controls. The Wrap reports that Stephen Vale, of Manhattan Beach, CA, claims that when working out, perspiration would travel down his earphone cord and into the control module, causing the iPod to “fail.” Vale at first took his shuffle to a nearby Apple retail store, and was given a replacement cord, which subsequently failed in the same manner as before. According to the lawsuit, “Plaintiff was told it was alright (sic) to exercise with the music player, but not to sweat.” Vale is claiming five counts of breach-of-warranty, one count of false advertising, and one count of unfair competition, and is seeking unspecified damages for himself and any other affected California residents. Although it is not specified in the report, it appears Vale was using a third-generation iPod shuffle; similar complaints from other third-generation shuffle users began pouring in not long after the device’s release, leading one company to offer waterproofed versions of Apple’s pack-in headphones as a solution to the problem.
Following today’s introduction of the expanded color options and a 2GB model for the third-generation iPod shuffle, Apple has removed the option to purchase a second-generation shuffle from the player’s online store listing. Previously, a small link notifying customers that the 2G shuffle was still available could be seen at the bottom of the page; it is unclear whether Apple was continuing to sell the older model to address concerns over the new model’s buttonless control scheme, or to hit a price point below that of the $79 4GB model. A limited number of 1GB and 2GB refurbished second-generation iPod shuffles remain available on Apple’s online store, and sell for $39 and $59, respectively.
Apple today updated its third-generation iPod shuffle lineup, adding new colors to the 4GB model and introducing both a 2GB version and a special edition model. Both the 4GB and the new 2GB models are now available in silver, black, pink, blue and green, and feature the same buttonless design and included Earphones with Remote as before. In addition, Apple announced a new 4GB special edition polished stainless steel model, which will be available exclusively from Apple’s online and retail stores. The 4GB third-generation iPod shuffle remains $79, while the 2GB model is priced at $59 and the special edition model runs $99.
Update: A hands-on video of the updated iPod shuffle 3G is now available for viewing on Vimeo.