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Apple Renews iPod Shuffle With Spoken-Word Performance

Apple introduced its first new iPod Shuffle music player in about a year this morning, further shrinking the already-tiny device and adding a VoiceOver feature that lets it speak the title of a song or playlist.

The new Shuffle -- portrayed on Apple's site as being smaller than a regular house key -- no longer has room for playback controls, so they've been moved to its headphone cable.

This model comes with 4 GB of storage and sells for $79; the previous model came in 1 and 2 GB versions, selling for $49 and $69. That shift in Apple's price-per-gig suggests that an increase in the memory capacity of Apple's other iPods might not be too far off.

I can't tell you what it looks or feels like -- the Apple Store nearest my home did not have it in stock when I stopped by earlier this morning. I suppose it will sell as well as its predecessor. The greater capacity may make the new Shuffle an easier choice as a second (or third) iPod, and it's still not that much more expensive than most non-Apple players (almost all of which include traditional display screens to show you what's playing).

Then again, if the $30 increase in the entry-level price of iPodship deters some would-be buyers, we'll know that the economy is even worse shape than we'd feared.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  March 11, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Mac , Music  
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Comments

So you are stuck using the ear buds Apple gives you? I find those way too uncomfortable, so that's a deal breaker for me. Kinda cool otherwise, though.

Posted by: deduck | March 11, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

It is over-priced since similar players offer displays, and other features like FM and voice recorders. And whether you want those features are not, the point is that those players are cheaper with more features.

Not to mention that Apple's earphones are both uncomfortable for some people and sound terrible, but by putting the controls on the cord, you can't even use it in the car. Once again Apple overcharges and then tells you how you can use their products. I love my Mac but the excuses people make for the short-comings of their products is embarrassing.

Posted by: scarper86 | March 11, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree locking the user into the standard iPod headphones isn't a great idea, unless they happen to be very good, and cheap to replace (under $10.00). I like the idea of having controls on headphones, I just don't want the player itself to be bricked if the headphones themselves break.

Then again, our cable boxes, DVD players, video game systems, and TVs rely on controllers and remote controls; maybe it's not a huge deal. The market will decide.

Posted by: pkatz | March 12, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rob, how come you didn't mention Apple's use of DRM to restrict after-market accessories? I hope you do in your full review. Essentially, what apple has done is DRM to limit competition for iPod accessories. I wonder whether you would have led with that issue if this had been Microsoft requiring 3rd parties to buy "authentication chip".

Some links that cover this issue:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/apple-adds-still-more-drm-ipod-shuffle

http://consumerist.com/5170397/why-apples-new-ipod-shuffle-isnt-consumer-friendly

Posted by: tundey | March 16, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

An attention troll said:

"I wonder whether you would have led with that issue if this had been Microsoft requiring 3rd parties to buy "authentication chip".(sic)

All digital movie and TV content that travels over an HDMI connection has DRM, regardless of who is selling the content. The providers, ie. networks and studios, control copy protection for TV shows and movies.

Posted by: query0 | March 17, 2009 5:10 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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