Apple introduced a new 4 GB iPod Shuffle that talks, thanks to a new feature called VoiceOver that provides song and playlist information at the press of a button. At 1.8 inches tall and 0.8 inches thin, Apple claims that the new iPod Shuffle is the world's smallest music player, achieved by redesigning the iPod Shuffle's controls from the device to the earbud cord.
rolled out a new iPod Shuffle on March 11 that it claims is the smallest music
player in the world. The device also "talks," courtesy of a new feature called
"VoiceOver" that reads aloud song and playlist information at the press of a
By moving the iPod Shuffle's controls from the device body
to the earbud cord, Apple was able to shrink the player's dimensions to 1.8 inches
tall and 0.8 inches thin. The device has a capacity of 4 GB, which can translate into
roughly 1,000 songs depending on the encoding method and bit rate.
The iPod Shuffle's newest feature, VoiceOver, will, at the
press of a button, dip the music volume down and then read aloud the song title
and artist. It will also read off playlist names, and whether the device has
low battery power.
VoiceOver is also multilingual, utilizing an algorithm based
on song data to choose the best language and voice in which to read a
particular song title or artist name. If you've chosen a Japanese pop song to
accompany a morning run, for example, pushing the button will result in
VoiceOver reading off the title and artist in Japanese.
Apple has offered 14 languages for VoiceOver, including
French, Turkish, Swedish, Greek, Mandarin and French.
The iPod Shuffle's shuffle switch now comes with three
settings: one that enables random flow, one that plays songs in whatever order
you established in iTunes and one that turns that particular feature off.
A stainless-steel clip will keep the device affixed to
workout clothing or a bag.
The iPod continues to serve as a core product for Apple.
In October, Apple
rolled out iPods in nine colors. It has also introduced an exponentially
increasing number of applications for its iPod Touch, a non-telephony variant
of the iPhone, via
the App Store.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.