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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Apart from the utterly boring colors and the stupid bling clip this is a total fail for 3 main reasons:

1. Only usable with those horrible ear torturing Apple earbuds
2. Paying 20 bucks extra for a charge cable
3. PC users get the crappy voice and Mac users get the cool voice

Let me spell it out for you Apple: F.A.I.L.

Posted by Ericc B on March 11, 2009 at 1:52 PM (CDT)


I’m very disappointed. I was hoping the new shuffle to have a small screen or something where you can see what music you’re playing. Have voiceover and the controls in the headphones just shows they’re onlyy focused on one thing - size. The 2nd shuffle was small enough to loose as it is!

The shuffle now has no character, it’s some tiny piece of metal. No one’s going to know it’s an ipod anymore!!

Posted by Tim Warneck on March 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM (CDT)


@21: The shuffle comes with the 45mm cable.  The $19 cable set also includes a 1000mm cable.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 11, 2009 at 2:55 PM (CDT)


@23: Ah yes I just noticed, my bad. I got the impression from reading this article that it was an option. Anyway still major fail, albeit for 2 reasons.

Posted by Ericc B on March 11, 2009 at 3:00 PM (CDT)


I actually like the smaller design, the new voiceover feature, as well as control from the headphones which all could be reasons I would actually consider a Shuffle for the first time. 

But…as has been stated over and over in this thread…it is a little disappointing for people that use non-Apple headphones or like to use it in their car or anyone with a stereo dock for that matter.  I have no doubt there will be adapters in the future but that will just add length to the headphone cables or if they are short just put the controls right up against the device thus defeating the design advantage.

I love Apple’s designs but this does just go along with their past history of eschewing backward compatibility for innovation…and new sales.

Posted by TosaDeac on March 11, 2009 at 3:35 PM (CDT)



I’d buy it right now if I could use my Westone earphones with it!

Apple ear buds sound quality is ridiculous.

Posted by Art M. on March 11, 2009 at 3:44 PM (CDT)


What about Podcasts?

The biggest problem with this new design is there is no way to fast forward through a track.  My older shuffle is the best way to listen to podcasts, as I can fast forward through parts I don’t want to listen to without having to look at a screen.  This new model is virtually unusable for podcasts or audiobooks (unless you always listen start to finish).

Posted by Matt on March 11, 2009 at 3:50 PM (CDT)


I never did understand the appeal of the Shuffle.  Limited storage and no screen.  Now that you have to use Apple’s crummy ear buds or use an adapter so you can use your own headset (at additional cost) why would anybody want this?

Epic fail.

Posted by MeekerMan on March 11, 2009 at 4:46 PM (CDT)


There are two things two consider when designing a product: form and function. While the form may be smaller, the function of the product completely goes out the window without the proprietary Apple headphones. Even with the controls it is now impossible to go back a track, or fast-forward through the current track.

I have a 1G iPod shuffle and a 2G as well, and I use them all the time in the car, using a tape-deck adapter. When I’m not using that, I have my own headphones I use because I hate the ear-buds.

This is incredibly disappointing and probably the worst move in iPod history. At least the 2G is still available.

Posted by Cyantre on March 11, 2009 at 5:10 PM (CDT)


I am disappointed. design is step back just like 1st gen. shuffle. only it loses button. non-apple eardbud will work at all. battery life is only 10 hours. no Korean language support for voice over. price is even higher than 2nd Gen. something is wrong. Apple forgot we are suffering from the greatest recession ever since world war II. finally, what if earbud is broken, you can’t listen to music or control over shuffle no way? that’s really silly.

Posted by edward on March 11, 2009 at 5:25 PM (CDT)


@28: The shuffle is appealing for the low cost (especially kids that tend to loose things and not damaging your good iPod while cutting the grass or running). The limited storage is fine because you can download the portion of your library you want at the time. You are correct that the earbud controller is the thing that people will hate the most.

Posted by Kevin - Milwaukee on March 11, 2009 at 5:46 PM (CDT)

32 thing would have saved this design. Physical controls on the shuffle AND the headphones.

I love the look, I find the Voiceover feature very interesting…but being locked into Apple’s not-very-impressive earbuds are a complete loss for me. I have no desire to drop another $20 on top of the $79 for the shuffle. Admittedly, the 4 GB IS impressive for the price, but…I’ll pass.

Guess I’ll be picking up a refurbed second-generation shuffle off the Apple Store to…well…replace my old second-generation shuffle as my backup iPod. >.>

Posted by Daniel S. on March 11, 2009 at 5:53 PM (CDT)


@31: The shuffle is NOT low cost, it is, in fact, the most overpriced DAP in its class. You can get a 1GB Samsung Pebble this week for $15 or you can pay Apple $50 for the 2G shuffle. Which do you buy for your object losing kids and your sweaty outdoor labor? The 3G shuffle just makes the overpricedness a little less dramatic. Still doesn’t change that there are still competing products out there that are full fledged DAPs for what it costs.

The shuffle is a low cost *iPod*, that’s all.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on March 11, 2009 at 7:14 PM (CDT)


I do understand all the complaints about this iPod, but I think this is an amazing product for blind people (even though Apple doesn’t promote it as such).

Posted by gonzalo muñoz on March 11, 2009 at 7:38 PM (CDT)


Wow, seriously? I’m surprised by the amount of negativity on here. I hate the apple earphones as much as anyone. I don’t use them at all anymore, but the only reason I never got a shuffle to begin with was the fact that I have an enormous music collection and often forget the songs that I have. As a result, I need some way to know what I’m listening to. I think voice over is an ingenious solution. It shouldn’t be too long before I can use my Etymotics with this and it probably won’t cost more than $15 (I hope). This is the first shuffle I’d actually consider. The form factor is nice and clean (an Apple Trademark). I don’t even mind the steel back. I think it’s a great contrast with the black model. Sure it will scratch eventually, but I don’t think that’s too big a deal. I’ll wait for the adaptor and a price drop ($69) and I’ll probably buy one for the gym.

Posted by urbanslaughter on March 11, 2009 at 7:45 PM (CDT)


I might get it if someone comes out with a small attatchment that works as buttons for it.  The real key feature is the playlists, which was why I held back from other shuffles.

Posted by Dan Lipson on March 11, 2009 at 8:40 PM (CDT)


I’m not so sure… looks like a step in the wrong direction. What are they accomplishing by not having buttons on the device? Was the previous generation too bulky for someone?

Posted by mediocrebadguy on March 11, 2009 at 9:49 PM (CDT)


These things are so tiny that they’re almost not worth attaching a headphone cable to. Why not make it like a bluetooth earpiece that just hangs on your ear, maybe with a cord that goes to your other ear (or wireless, but how dorky would you look with bluetooth thingies in *both* ears?).

As is, I’m disappointed Apple is just releasing a plain box, even if it is tiny. Drab colors to boot.

Posted by brted on March 11, 2009 at 10:15 PM (CDT)


The shuffle should’ve become a remote control (with tiny display) that could be used on any iPod.  Naturally, it could operate by itself as an iPod.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 11, 2009 at 11:28 PM (CDT)


I actl. like it. Of course people are complaining about features and so on, but APPLE has several different typs of music player to sell. So if you don’t like voice over or the headphone thing then go to a different one. It’s not that hard, lol.

Personally, I like the size, the capacity. I run tracks and the less weight is good, also when I run it is very easy to lift ur arms and use voice over. or when u get ready before the run and u stand there on the track and look at the lane, the voice over lets u keep ur eyes on the track while choicing the right playlist.

So, for athlets it is nice. I also think this is a start for a new voice development on apples product. more beeing interactive with their devices by voice in and out.

well,.. the next step wout be the integration of NIKE in voiceover. I personally have the IPhone3G but i don’t run with it because its weight. A athlet don’t want to feel any weight on it and this device, the shuffle is good for it.

Posted by dennis on March 12, 2009 at 12:23 AM (CDT)

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