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Apple has announced a new 4 GB iPod Shuffle, available for $79. The new shuffle features a smaller design and Apple's Voice Over technology that helps owners know what songs they're listening to.  (Source: Apple)
The rumors were right, Apple has cooked up a mean new iPod Shuffle with some new bells and whistles

Apple's iPod department has been pretty quiet for the last couple months.  There were new laptops, but no new iPods at MacWorld.  And early this month, new desktop Macs were announced, but still new iPods.

Now Apple is finally showing users some iPod love, announcing a new 4GB iPod Shuffle which seems a logical choice in the current economic climate -- after all the iPod Shuffle is Apple's cheapest product. 

The new shuffle is smaller measuring a mere 1.8" tall x 0.7" wide x 0.3" thin.  It is shaped rather like a USB stick and weighs a mere 10.7 grams -- roughly the weight of three pennies.  It comes in brushed anodized aluminum case, available in black or silver.  The clip is stainless steel.  Apple describes it as a "fashion tech-cessory."

The new Shuffle moves its controls to ear bud cord, tying users closer to Apple, perhaps (no third party headphone replacements are available yet).  The key new technology in the Shuffle is Apple's Voice Over technology. As the Shuffle has no display, users have long troubled over how to tell what song they're playing.  With voice over a quick button press quickly states the title of the song. 

Voice Over also now helps users navigate through play lists.  The Shuffle now supports multiple playlists.  Voice Over works in 14 different languages, for foreign music fans.  The new 4GB storage space should provide room for 1,000 songs, according to Apple.

The last change is the introduction of a new tri-state switch to the top of the shuffle.  The first position is the titular "shuffle" setting which plays random songs.  The second is a looping play through of all songs on a playlist.  And the last setting -- "stop" -- allows the iPod to be easily turned off.

Battery life is approximately 10 hours, according to Apple.  The player takes two hours to charge 80 percent and three hours to charge fully.  The player supports AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from the iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, WAV, and AIFF audio formats.

The unit is available at the Apple store at this time for $79.

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still fails...
By talikarni on 3/11/2009 9:30:54 AM , Rating: 3
yet it still fails by requiring the buggy and problematic itunes and the forced inclusion of Safari (at least for Windows users)...

RE: still fails...
By dr4gon on 3/11/2009 9:32:10 AM , Rating: 4
Safari isn't forced with iTunes. It is maliciously "chcecked" to install for Apple Updates though.

RE: still fails...
By quiksilvr on 3/11/2009 11:46:12 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah I think there's a word for that: its called FORCED.

RE: still fails...
By aj28 on 3/11/2009 2:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
More like "encouraged" or "recommended" than forced, imo... Unless you don't use a mouse of course, in which case the Shuffle ironically provides the perfect mix of ergonomics and uselessness to fit your tech lifestyle!

RE: still fails...
By sprockkets on 3/11/2009 4:25:52 PM , Rating: 4
Unless you are my case, in which I DID uncheck all the crap such as Safari and iTunes and Quicktime when updating Apple's Bonjour, and it STILL installed it anyhow.

RE: still fails...
By xphile on 3/13/2009 4:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
I played Apple at their own game: "Maliciously checked" the uninstall option for iTunes, "forced" it into the trash, and "updated" my PCs with Poddox. I celebrated by enjoying a real Apple and spitting the pips at my Steve Jobs voodoo doll...

RE: still fails...
By Inkjammer on 3/11/2009 9:45:37 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed. I love my iPod (I really do!) but iTunes is a joke. I have a Q9550, 8GB of RAM and 2 GTX 260s, by no means a crappy machine, and yet... when I try to re-size iTunes' window? It stutters, acts laggy. Resize it while playing a video? The video stops, uanble to play while resizing. Couple that with all the services it installs... geh. It's a joke.

I wish it had the effeciency of VLC.

I sometimes wonder if Apple made the windows version of iTunes purposefully crappy to help make their computers look even shinier.

RE: still fails...
By mmntech on 3/11/2009 9:54:16 AM , Rating: 2
Does the Windows version still crash when you try to sync the iPhone? I haven't tried it in a while.

Media Monkey is a good iTunes alternative. Works with all iPods and iPhones AFAIK.

RE: still fails...
By Inkjammer on 3/11/2009 10:03:01 AM , Rating: 4
No, but iTunes corrupted on me a while back, had to re-install it. Suddenly, Apple saw my "iTunes installation" as being a whole other computer. I had re-authorize everything, which would normally be no big deal... but iTunes refused to recognize my custom (and paid for) ringtones. Invalid files, it said. So I thought, okay, I'll just back them up off my iPhone. Except I can't. Apple made it near impossible to pull files from non-jailbroken phones.

Apple customer support wouldn't refund me for the ring tones or let me re-create them again. So if I want to re-create the exact same ring tone from the exact same song, iTunes wants me to pay $1. It wants me to pay $1 for something I already paid for. Again.

So, lately... I'm just debating jailbreaking my iPhone. So I can use the $1 ringtones I bought, and, uh, maybe get copy/paste.

RE: still fails...
By Dark Legion on 3/11/2009 10:26:12 AM , Rating: 2
There was a program that I used a while back when I lost all the music on my computer which should work for you too.

RE: still fails...
By talikarni on 3/11/2009 12:30:49 PM , Rating: 2
That is why I remove any DRM or similar restrictions as soon as it gets to my computer. Most EULAs and Fair use laws allow for this unless it explicitly states as such.

RE: still fails...
By mmntech on 3/11/2009 3:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
Removing DRM is illegal under the DMCA regardless of what the EULA says. But yeah, this is why I've never bought anything off iTunes. Fortunately they have gone DRM-free for the most part now. In fact it's the only really large store that sells DRM-free downloadable music in Canada.

RE: still fails...
By soydios on 3/11/2009 4:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
cirumventing or removing DRM is explicity prohibited under the DMCA

RE: still fails...
By theapparition on 3/11/2009 12:50:24 PM , Rating: 3
And here is the reason that I'll DRM'd music or videos. I'll pay 10X+ for a hard copy.

RE: still fails...
By djkrypplephite on 3/11/2009 12:40:39 PM , Rating: 4
VLC is a god among media players.

RE: still fails...
By sprockkets on 3/11/2009 4:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
Mplayer is better. VLC as of late is buggy as hell. It fails to play streams it played with no issues in the good old days. FTW on Windows!

RE: still fails...
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 4:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
I use Mediaplayer Classic 6.4. I just install ffdshow, lazy man mkv, ogm codec, quicktime alternative, realplayer alternative, and vobsub. After that, I'm good to go. No issues playing any files.

RE: still fails...
By neothe0ne on 3/16/2009 12:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
If god is an inherently flawed being, then sure VLC is god.

RE: still fails...
By neothe0ne on 3/16/2009 12:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
Your misspelling of "efficiency" fits perfectly with VLC's crappy playback of h264, softsubs, linked chapters, and some other things I can't be bothered to try out.

RE: still fails...
By shaw on 3/11/2009 9:50:59 AM , Rating: 2
You can use winamp now correct? There are lots of alternatives to itunes thankfully because I hate it as well.

RE: still fails...
By Meinolf on 3/11/2009 10:00:46 AM , Rating: 2
I have tried this seems to work good as a Alt to ITunes

RE: still fails...
By Pirks on 3/11/09, Rating: -1
Sansa Clip
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 9:52:18 AM , Rating: 5
The Sansa Clip destroys this thing in all ways...except it's less of a "fashion tech-cessory" :rolleyes:

RE: Sansa Clip
By Johnmcl7 on 3/11/2009 10:00:25 AM , Rating: 5
Definitely, I thought when I saw the title for this that Apple may have taken steps with the Shuffle to bring it closer to the Clip but instead they seem to have gone pointlessly smaller. The Clip is such a great little player, it's small, has a screen, cheap and uses a standard mini-USB port - mine's been worth every penny.


RE: Sansa Clip
By OnyxNite on 3/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Sansa Clip
By Dark Legion on 3/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Sansa Clip
By Dark Legion on 3/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Sansa Clip
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 1:46:38 PM , Rating: 5

RE: Sansa Clip
By xphile on 3/13/2009 4:18:23 AM , Rating: 2
Damnit I posted already - that's a green 6 for sure - so, um...


RE: Sansa Clip
By bigpimpatl on 3/11/2009 12:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
It can play FLAC and OGG...I agree the clip is amazing. the 8gb can be had for around $50 these days. I still have the 2gb and it's just chugging along. If I have one gripe about the clip, the menu system could probably use an update.

RE: Sansa Clip
By sprockkets on 3/11/2009 4:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
You mean $157 on Amazon?

Don't get me wrong, the Clip is nice. But the Cowon U5 at $85 for 8GB with WMA radio recording (the clip uses poor quality wav files) if you need it, plus the fact Cowon always has good sound, plus it does now play OGG and FLAC makes it better for me.

At least a big company like Sandisk sees value in Ogg/vorbis and FLAC, unlike stupid Apple.

Hey Apple, they haven't been sued yet for patent issues!

RE: Sansa Clip
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 5:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
You fail at price searching, do you always only check Amazon and then only go with the primary vendor? And that vendor 'Action Packaged' takes 1-3 weeks to In fact right on that very Amazon page it shows purchase options at the normal street price of $80. Even on Sansa's site it's $100. Or try this:

RE: Sansa Clip
By sprockkets on 3/12/2009 2:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
OK, for around $100, some are $80.

I wish they had a silver one though.

RE: Sansa Clip
By MadMan007 on 3/12/2009 4:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
lol sorry for the harshness, I was just like '$157, holy ripoff Batman.' $80 is easy enough to find from reputable sources. Walmart even had (has? idk if it's a dead deal) the 8GB for $50 recently on clearance or inventory reduction of some sort - instore only.

RE: Sansa Clip
By HighWing on 3/11/2009 1:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
you also forgot it's not an "iPod" and doesn't have iTunes....

Which IMHO is silly that most users can't seem to figure out how to legally buy music outside of iTunes!! iTunes is by far the "only" reason the iPods became such a success. Easy access to buy music that auto synchs and add's to your music player. As much as I hate Apple and iTunes, they did do something smart with it that no one else has been able to really compete with.

RE: Sansa Clip
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 2:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
Or you can just pirate music and drag-drop onto the other types of mp3 players out there.

RE: Sansa Clip
By HighWing on 3/11/2009 2:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
well yeah, but most consumers either don't know how to do that, or do not want to do that. Plus when left own their own to figure it out, they most often d/l virus songs/movies. I've made a lot of money fixing people's computers who have done that.

The point I was making is that iTunes made it easy for the avg Joe to figure out how to do it easily, and legally.

RE: Sansa Clip
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 4:35:57 PM , Rating: 3
I hardly think iTunes is the reason. More like "my buddy has this thing called the iPod. It's so white and shiny. Plus, I think it might play music. My dumbass should go out and get one."

No one nowadays researches what they buy. They ask friends. That or they see how shiny it is in a store.

RE: Sansa Clip
By HighWing on 3/11/2009 5:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not quite so. During that time there were still tons of other mp3 players on the market, even ones with many more features then the iPod had (see Creative Jukebox), yet it still came out on top. The biggest difference then and even now is that when you install iTunes, you have suddenly installed a store for which to buy new music from. No other player on the market at the time did such a thing with their synch software. It was just the software that you used to add music to your player. But by combining that with an easy way to get new music, Apple had created something easy for any person with half a brain to use. The first gen iPods had a horrible defect rate, yet people still bought them because they were easier to use.

and in your case, the story probably went a little more like this; user gets home and discovers how easy to use iTunes is and then goes around telling people how great the iPod is because in their mind, iTunes is a part of the iPod.

RE: Sansa Clip
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 3:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah it doesn't have to be pirated though. I guess ripping CDs properly is beyond a lot of people but there are enough places to buy mp3s these days. And loading music doesn't get any easier than drag n drop.

RE: Sansa Clip
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 4:49:56 PM , Rating: 3
With Windows Media Player, you just pop in your CD and it'll ask if you want to rip it. Hardly beyond ppl nowadays. Even my parents can rip CDs.

RE: Sansa Clip
By MadMan007 on 3/12/2009 4:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, fair enough. Although being a geek means I use EAC which to fully utilize requires more than casual understanding of what to do there are more plug-n-play programs.

RE: Sansa Clip
By HighWing on 3/12/2009 4:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
With Windows Media Player, you just pop in your CD and it'll ask if you want to rip it

That may be the case now, but WMP did not even support that back when the iPod came out. Which is the time frame I was talking about in my first post.

You dont own the shuffle, it owns YOU!
By MrX8503 on 3/11/2009 9:40:48 AM , Rating: 5
Don't want to use iTunes? Want to use your own ear buds? Lost your Apple ear buds?


RE: You dont own the shuffle, it owns YOU!
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 9:49:19 AM , Rating: 5
In Soviet Apple, Shuffle plays you!

The controls on the earbud cord is the worst offense hardware-wise, the least they could do is give a 1/8" minijack between the shuffle and the earbuds. I bet they'll come out with something like that as an add-on $30 accessory, ugh.

RE: You dont own the shuffle, it owns YOU!
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 10:20:09 AM , Rating: 4
You can also just not buy an iPod. That's another alternative to users. I know I don't. I find that iPods are more expensive, provide the same functionality, and I really hate iTunes.

I don't know who decided that everyone likes earbuds. I hate the stupid things. They always fall out of my ears. Also have two wires coming down from my head, instead of the one cable from headphones that wrap around the back of your head.

I'd go wireless, cept no one decent really makes a small set of them for mp3 players.

RE: You dont own the shuffle, it owns YOU!
By xSauronx on 3/11/2009 10:38:41 AM , Rating: 3
Honestly, they're overpriced as well. You can get a sansa clip, which has a display and is said to have great sound quality, thats 4g for cheaper, and its small.

And I bought a 4gb Sansa Fuze for $79. Supports SDHC cards, and has a small screen for photo viewing, video playback and *gasp* a menu. Its also *quite* small, thing and light, and gets 24 hours on a charge (yes, really, I know Ive run it over 20 before needing to charge it) It also has an FM tuner and decent mic for voice recording.

No way Id ever buy an iPod, the sansa is stylish and much better value, IMO

By Spivonious on 3/11/2009 12:03:24 PM , Rating: 3
I'm happy with my Creative Zen 16GB. Cost under $200, is the size of a credit card, has an FM tuner, plays videos, has an SDHC slot, what more could you ask for?

RE: You dont own the shuffle, it owns YOU!
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 12:18:06 PM , Rating: 4
I too would never buy an iPod the way they currently are. For a high-capacity HD player I'd get a Zune 120 despite the software tie-in, and for flash DAPs, well, there are loads to choose from.

By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 1:31:05 PM , Rating: 3
I went with a Zune 80 gb and Zune 8 gb. When the hdd broke on the 80, I swapped the hdd with a 120 gb.

I love it. The 80 gb sits in the car or hotel room when I'm on trips and I carry around the 8 gb. I always leave spare room on the 8 gb. Occassionally I might want different songs and I wirelessly transfer songs between the two Zunes when I'm on a trip.

I did it just a couple weekends ago, when I went to Switzerland for a snowboard trip. I didn't haul my laptop with me, since there's no net connection and I'd snowboarding or drinking instead.

The Zune software isn't bad. Much better than iTunes. I hated when you couldn't install iTunes without installing Quicktime or vice versa. I don't know if that still happens. I got rid of both years ago.

By the goat on 3/11/2009 9:50:32 AM , Rating: 4
Don't want to use iTunes? Want to use your own ear buds? Lost your Apple ear buds? Well TOO BAD!

In Soviet Russia music player listens to you.

RE: You dont own the shuffle, it owns YOU!
By RamarC on 3/11/2009 10:29:54 AM , Rating: 3
i just don't get it -- why would anyone would pay for a device without navigation? there have always been players that are pretty darn small and every player has a random feature. so making "small and random" the only playback features has always seemed cripplingly restricted. but for some reason, apple fans buy it.

By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 1:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
Don't ask me. It only becomes worse when you add more storage. You'll end up hearing a specific song or genre that doesn't match your mood or activity.

I like being able to select that specific song I want to hear at that specific moment. Not to mention playlist capability. I don't know what I'd do without it. 4 gig, 8 gig, 500 gig. Doesn't matter. That's a whole lot of songs you can cram onto the player.

By xphile on 3/13/2009 4:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
First one point, small yes, random only no. Shuffles play in order as well, which is the only way I use mine. I bought a shuffle for one reason - size.

It's tiny and for exercise it's perfect for me. Nothing to hold, no straps or wrist bands - and best of all no pulling on headphone cords since it's clipped to the top of my t-shirt.

I load it from Poddox with what I feel like listening to today and in around a minute I'm off and running. Don't give a damn about navigation - I get forward and back and that's all I need.

On the new model I'd be crippled without my Koss Porta Pros since they have killed all the controls on the unit - which I think is a really stupid move. Like Apple have any idea how to make quality headphones...

New Voice-over feature!
By LorKha on 3/11/2009 9:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine if the Voice-over feature tried to say this song title...

The Sad But True Story Of Ray Mingus, The Lumberjack Of Bulk Rock City, And His Never Slacking Stribe In Exploiting The So Far Undiscovered Areas Of The Intention To Bodily Intercourse From The Opposite Species Of His Kind, During Intake Of All The Mental Condition That Could Be Derived From Fermentation

LOL! It'll be like the voice-over feature would be SINGING the song instead!!

RE: New Voice-over feature!
By Spivonious on 3/11/2009 11:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
Ha, don't put any Bal-Sagoth on it.

For example, their Starfire Burning Upon the Ice album:

1. Black dragons soar above the mountain of shadows (Keyboard instrumental)
2. To dethrone the witch-queen of mytos K`unn (the legend of the battle of blackhelm vale)
3. As the vortex illuminates the cystalline walls of Kor-Avul-Thaa
4. Starfire burning upon the ice-veiled throne of ultima thule
5. Journey to the isle of mists (over the moonless depths of night-dark seas)
6. The splendour of a thousand swords gleaming beneath the blazon of the hyperborean empire
7. And lo, when the imperium marches against Cul-Kothoth, then dark sorceries shall enshroud the citadel of the obsidian crown
8. Summoning the guardians of the astral gate
9. In the raven-haunted forests of darkenhold, where shadows reign and the hues of sunlight never dance
10. At the altar of the dreaming gods

RE: New Voice-over feature!
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 12:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
Some Flaming Lips albums would be a bad idea too.

RE: New Voice-over feature!
By theapparition on 3/11/2009 12:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but that's just because no one should listen to Flamin Lips.

RE: New Voice-over feature!
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2009 2:01:46 PM , Rating: 3
I guess their 26-year carreer, 11 studio albums and multiple Grammys means they must be terrible...or not. If you don't like them great but not everyone has to like the same music :) I really just mentioned them because they too have some silly long song titles.

battery life
By MamiyaOtaru on 3/11/2009 10:16:15 AM , Rating: 2
wtf battery life. My old Samsung YP-MT6X gets 40 hours. Need more players that can hold a double A battery instead of triple A or the surely proprietary non user replacable battery in the shuffle. Loved the old Samsung. Barely larger than a AA, super battery life (and UMS instead of MTP, with ogg support) super device.

RE: battery life
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 10:23:51 AM , Rating: 2
AA. Screw that. $10 lithium battery. Like the kind in Surefire flashlights.

RE: battery life
By StevoLincolnite on 3/11/2009 11:31:45 AM , Rating: 2
You can get Lithium flavored AA batteries as well y'know. ;)

RE: battery life
By afkrotch on 3/11/2009 1:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but the Surefire ones will probably last longer. I'd prefer an mp3 player that runs on decaying radioactive material, but eh. A lithium battery will work.

Why so negative?
By ExarKun333 on 3/11/2009 10:04:34 AM , Rating: 2
I am not a big Apple fan, but I got a good deal when the original Shuffle came out, and it has been going strong for many years now. It works great for those who just want a basic music player (I use mine at the gym) that can stand a lot of abuse. The only complaint is that they don't include a radio...Good product IMHO.

RE: Why so negative?
By pukemon on 3/11/2009 10:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I think the first gen Shuffles were the best form factor, at least for me. I'd use half of the space for the single playlist it could use at any given time, and reserve the other half of the drive and use it as a small flash drive. It worked well for what it did. Well actually mine still works but I don't really use it anymore...

RE: Why so negative?
By alizee on 3/11/2009 11:18:58 AM , Rating: 2
Turth. Also, one thing I thought was funny in the article:
The last change is the introduction of a new tri-state switch to the top of the shuffle.

Sounds a lot like your first gen shuffle, eh?

Not the first time
By miccla on 3/11/2009 9:48:02 AM , Rating: 2
Ha ! Reminded me of this as soon as i saw the how to video on the apple website !

RE: Not the first time
By Yames on 3/11/2009 1:53:33 PM , Rating: 3
By dr4gon on 3/11/2009 9:31:17 AM , Rating: 2
About time they supported their own Apple Lossless codec!

By SoCalBoomer on 3/11/2009 6:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
What is WITH Apple?

They go touch-screen (no keys. . .) and now they go with nothing at all! Okay - sure, the controls are on the earbuds (which suck) and you can get a separate (and likely expensive) extension with controls on it so you can use your own earbuds. . .

But WHY? Come on Apple. . . are you such control freaks that you won't let US control your devices?

And why insult us with something that reads to us? Heck, Sansa can give us a screen so we can read it by ourselves (we're smart that way) and it has buttons too so we can control it ourselves (yeah - imagine that). We're big boys and girls. . .

So now we have a gadget that requires another gadget to control it. It doesn't show us what song is playing or let us choose a playlist, instead it coddles us and reads us the song and artist. . .

Sigh. Come on Apple. . .

By qwertyblue on 3/12/2009 6:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
If this was waterproof I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I'd use it only at the gym where a screen isnt much use anyway. I went through two of the old shuffles because they broke with the amount of sweating I do when running. Just now I'm using a sony nws203 and its a brilliant little player but the 1gb capacity is pitiful and the battery is starting to lose its charge

By bkslopper on 3/12/2009 9:47:12 AM , Rating: 2

No screen.
No radio.
No controls built in.
Requires speshial earphones.
(Yes, I spelled "special" wrong on purpose to illustrate my point.)

I bought a 4GB Sansa Clip with all those features for $50 at Best Buy (of all places).

Apple, are your employees unionized? Because I've never seen such non-competiteness outside of GM.

Complete Joke!!
By xCross on 3/12/09, Rating: 0
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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