Apple releases new iPod shuffle with VoiceOver | iLounge News


Apple releases new iPod shuffle with VoiceOver


Apple has released an all-new iPod shuffle with an audio-based navigation system called VoiceOver. Devoid of buttons save for the three-position power, shuffle, and ordered play switch and billed as “the world’s smallest music player,” the third-generation iPod shuffle uses VoiceOver to let users navigate through songs and playlists using the in-line remote control found on the included headphones. VoiceOver can tell users the name of the song and artist currently playing, playlist information, and status information such as battery life. Users will hear a slightly different voice depending on what operating system their computer uses — users who sync their shuffles with Mac OS X Leopard will hear this voice, while PC users and Mac users running OS X Tiger will hear this voice. More audio samples of the VoiceOver feature are available on Apple’s website. The new shuffle also features a stainless steel clip on the back for attaching to clothing, offers 10 hours of battery life, and is “significantly smaller than a AA battery,” according to Apple. The new iPod shuffle comes in 4GB capacities only, and is available now in silver or black for $79.

“Imagine your music player talking to you, telling you your song titles, artists and playlist names,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing. “The amazingly small new iPod shuffle takes a revolutionary approach to how you listen to your music by talking to you, also making it the first iPod shuffle with playlists.”

Alongside the third-generation iPod shuffle, Apple has also released the new Apple iPod shuffle USB Cable for charging and syncing the device. It is compatible with the Apple USB Power Adapter and sells for $19.

Editorial comments on the announcement can be found in these Backstage articles: So Last Year’s iPod shuffle Rumor Was True (Partially): iPod shuffle 3G and One More Thing: Apple’s New Approach to iPod “Generations”.

Also see: Ten Surprises - Good + Bad - in Apple’s Third-Gen iPod shuffle.

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Great… more people on the bus talking to stuff. :S

Posted by Whacko on March 11, 2009 at 9:01 AM (CDT)


It’s an interesting redesign. Putting the controls on the headphone cord is an interesting move, but that stops you from using any earphones other than Apple own. (Unless someone releases an adaptor or something). 4GB is a good move, but upping the price by so much isn’t. The shuffle is targeted at people who want a cheaper music player - make it too expensive and it won’t have an audience.

Posted by NFreak007 on March 11, 2009 at 9:03 AM (CDT)


I’m disappointed.  You have to use the apple head phone with it, or a buy a similar pair with controls. Its small, but they could have put a usb connector on it. The price is a bit high. 80 bucks? 49.99 is a much better starting point. Plus only two colors? People are smart enough to know that new colours will come soon.

Thumbs down.

Posted by Sid32 on March 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM (CDT)


By having the controls on the headphones…that really limits your choices.

Posted by Adam on March 11, 2009 at 9:39 AM (CDT)


I really like the new design but as others have mentioned your really stuck should you want to use other headphones. Do Apple really think that everyone who buys this is going to be happy with the medicore Apple headphones? I wouldnt be.

Posted by Johnathan on March 11, 2009 at 9:44 AM (CDT)


Apple headphones cause me physical pain. Seriously. After about 30 minutes my ears start to throb. After an hour they are sore.

This seems like a clunker. Simplicity and affordability were the two big things the old shuffle had going for it, and Apple pretty much crapped on both of those.

Posted by ort on March 11, 2009 at 10:13 AM (CDT)


So I see Apple has brought the old gumstick design back, updated of course. I’ve read that lots of folks thought that was perhaps Apple’s best sounding iPod ever. I wonder if that will hold true again? Everything old is new again…kind of. I look forward to reading the reviews on this one.

Posted by Michael on March 11, 2009 at 10:13 AM (CDT)


@ #3, 4 and 5
Don’‘t forget that the shuffle is targeted at casual listeners, not audiophiles. I’d bet that most iPod shuffle owners wouldn’t upgrade the earphones anyway! Plus, its probably only a matter of time before someone makes an adapter.

Posted by NFreak007 on March 11, 2009 at 10:14 AM (CDT)


@ #8

Many audiophiles have a high end player AND a shuffle.  For instance I have 3 iPods.  One is my iPhone, the 2nd is for in car use only, and the 4th is my shuffle which I use when jogging or mowing the lawn.

But I only have ONE set of earphones, from Shure. 

IMO, Apple failed on this product.  You have two choices, use the crappy standard earphones or fork over another $79 for their better earphones.

Posted by Sgt Beavis on March 11, 2009 at 10:57 AM (CDT)


Now if they’d only teach that voice to speak directions as in true Garmin style GPS, and place it in an iPod Touch… I’d pay up.

Posted by Guitarbth on March 11, 2009 at 11:03 AM (CDT)


#8   Let’s not forget, one of the main draws of the shuffle are for those in the gym / running.  The Apple earbuds do not fit in my ears, so what choice do I have but go up to the nano price.

Posted by Adam on March 11, 2009 at 11:06 AM (CDT)


I’ve got mixed feelings about the new shuffle, but then again, I’ve always had mixed feelings about the shuffle since the first generation. I was just looking at Engadget’s Web site and it appears the feedback is overwhelmingly negative (though I don’t put much stock in what some of their peanut gallery have to say).

I think this 3G shuffle is like the love child of the original shuffle and the 2G shuffle. I think the design will eventually grow on me though, as I’m digging the slimmer form factor.

Having the new headphones on the shuffle isn’t really a big surprise, though I was surprised to see the shuffle go almost completely buttonless. I’ve been using the new earphones (with mic) on my 2G touch and they’re pretty good from a control standpoint. Going backwards on a playlist is more problematic that play/pause or skipping forward. I also had some issues keeping them in my ears so I picked up some Acoustibuds to help keep them in better. I think it makes sense for folks who are using the shuffle at the gym, work, or whatever and can’t access the controls easily or quickly.

I agree that some users won’t like being stuck with Apple’s earphones, though I think third-party manufacturers will quickly offer some choices, since controls will work on the latest generation of all iPods. It does, however, represent another investment by iPod users.

What I’m most excited about is the fact that users can have multiple playlists on the shuffle. The talking thing is OK, but I don’t know how many users have properly tagged their tracks. Some users might be surprised when the new shuffle announces “track 7” versus the actual song title.

I’m also a tad disappointed by the pricing and color schemes (or lack thereof). Though one could certainly argue that you get a lot for $80 (improved headphones and 4GB memory), it seems to me $60 or $70 makes more sense. I also assume more colors will be available, perhaps in the fall. In the meantime, I hope Apple keeps the 2G version available, whether through the regular store or though the refurbs store.

Posted by cxc273 on March 11, 2009 at 11:09 AM (CDT)


The problem that the casual user of the shuffle will have is that they loose, forget or want to use other head phones then the shuffle is useless.

The last thing I see people wanting to do is having to drive all over town to get a replacement set of headphones when their sons/daughter loose or breaks the headphones that they come with. A extra switch(for play, etc) wouldn’t have taken up that much more space.

Plus its only ten dollars more to get a 4 dollar zune. Seems like bad pricing.

Posted by Sid32 on March 11, 2009 at 11:16 AM (CDT)


I meant a 4 gig zune…

Posted by Sid32 on March 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM (CDT)


Headphones problem aside, I don’t really get the whole talking feature. All that trouble, when you can just put a small screen in. It’s still difficult and SLOW to navigate this way.

Posted by tarZen on March 11, 2009 at 11:21 AM (CDT)


Theres a lot to consider with the new iPod shuffle. First, you have to use Apple’s headphones. Frankly, I hate Apple’s headphones. The sound isn’t that great. Second, while the VoiceOver feature is ingenious, I don’t really see the point of it. I always believed the shuffle always carried an element of surprise. It was fun to see what song came next. Finally, the battery life has dropped to a paltry 10 hours. While 12 hours was enough to use during an activity, 10 hours is just not acceptable. I thought with a new generation a better experience would come, but this isn’t doing anything for me. All in all, I am disappointed with the new shuffle. I dreamed the new generation would be different, at least better. Now the shuffle will never be the same.

Posted by croquembouche11 on March 11, 2009 at 11:37 AM (CDT)


Being forced to use those stupid crappy headphones..
more annoying thing is that it speaks while the music plays.
What a joke.

Posted by evalia on March 11, 2009 at 11:39 AM (CDT)


Fear not, if you click on the “Buy Now” for the 3G shuffle you’ll see, almost at the very top of the screen, that they’re keeping the 2G shuffle in production at the 1GB capacity for the low, low price of only $49…


Posted by Code Monkey on March 11, 2009 at 11:41 AM (CDT)


It’s a big fail. They should have brought back the first generation. At least it was user friendly.

Posted by awesomeblockhead on March 11, 2009 at 11:57 AM (CDT)


Disappointing.  In-line volume & voice nice feature, but with no buttons or power lights on shuffle everything must be done/checked while wearing headphones.  Way overpriced.

The first gen was the best - simple buttons & lights and built-in USB plug (no extra cord!).  Doubled as ipod and thumb drive.

Posted by trilon3 on March 11, 2009 at 12:22 PM (CDT)

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