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.