It’s here, the new iPod shuffle has just made his first appearance on Apple’s website, featuring a 4GB player instead of the previous 1/ 2GB capacities. Other than that, Apple has removed the control wheel from the device itself and the only remaining button was shifted to the attached earphones. Sized at 45.2 x 17.5 x 7.8mm, the new shuffle can easily get into the category of “the world’s smallest music player”, and without having an LCD screen, Apple has implemented the VoiceOver feature, which will read out the names of the playing song, artist/performer and even your playlists, at a touch of a button. Battery wise, you’ll be able to play up to 10hrs of continuous playback, either you choose buying the silver or black flavors, both priced at $79. Mind you, the VoiceOver supports English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. Checkout the official announcement, together with some other images after the break.
Update1: The guys at iFixit already managed to dissect this little creature. Check out the images after the break or visit their website for a full coverage.
Update2: This is bad, really bad. According to iLounge the new iPod Shuffle can only be controlled by special earbuds with a special authenticating chip from Apple. The meaning is that third party manufacturers who want to sell Shuffle headphones, will have to pay Apple a special fee, just for making them available – and you guessed it right – you’re the ones to pay the price. This all thing makes us wonder why in heaven Apple would like to lock down its own customers by limiting the number of accessories. First reason we can think about is the recession. If Apple will be the sole provider of Shuffle headphones then more money will make its way to Cupertino, but then again, who’d like to buy a player with proprietary headphoes. Second reason, relates to Apple’s policy and the endless story of frustrated fanboys who play mouse-and-cat chasing game, trying to unlock the iphone back and forth. Clearly, there’s nothing new in this latest decision and Apple has already locked down its users before – policy, remember? Bottom line, Apple might have long sleeves, hiding strong PR and marketing tricks, but consumers ain’t dumb anymore – you got that El Jobso?
Update3: Apple confirms there’s a proprietary chip inside the new Shuffle’s headphones, but the chip isn’t encrypted and third party manufacturers might be able to clone it.
Update4: Now, with the assistant of “Compuer Choppers” you can get yourself a customized Shuffle, plated with colorful designs, instead of those dull silver/black ones from Apple. To do so, just hit the link and choose your favorite hue for a starting price of $20.
Update5: If Apple’s new shuffle has been removed from your birthday “wish list” just because the VoiceOver feature could not pronounce your favorite band accurately, mind you that Cupertino has just released the VoiceOver Kit 1.0.1, which is already available via Mac OS X software update (17MB) and suppose to fix the pronunciation problem for most of the names, but not all of them. Clearly, Apple hasn’t said a word about which names were fixed but you can try them yourself to feagure out.