Q: I have a third-generation iPod shuffle, without a cable. I have an double ended 3.5mm audio cable. Can I play music through that cable?
A: Basically yes. The audio output from the third-generation iPod shuffle uses the standard 3.5mm audio cable or headphone connections, so you can use just about any 3.5mm cable with it to hear audio. That said, you won’t actually be able to control the iPod shuffle this way, since there are no controls on the device itself but only on the headphones. When using a simple audio cable, the most you’ll be able to do is play the iPod shuffle when you turn it on, and stop playing it by turning it off; no other features such as track or playlist selection will be available since these rely on the headphone controls.
A better option might be to purchase a headphone adapter such as the one from Belkin (iLounge rating: B+), which would connect between your 3.5mm audio cable and the iPod shuffle itself to provide the missing playback controls.