Updated at 6:22 a.m. PDT with more details and new images, and 8:45 a.m. PDT with comments from Apple.
Apparently the tiny iPod Shuffle wasn't tiny enough. On Wednesday, Apple unveiled a 4GB Shuffle that's half the size of its predecessor.
The new device is smaller than a AA battery yet holds up to 1,000 songs, Apple said. The preshrunk Shuffle also adds a new VoiceOver feature that can recite song titles, artists, and playlist names, as well as provide status information, such as battery life. Speaking of which, Apple said the gadget's battery life clocks in at 10 hours.
Priced at $79, it comes in silver or black. The aluminum body of the third-generation Shuffle stands 1.8 inches tall and is 0.3 inch thick. The navigation and volume controls are in a small protrusion on the right earphone cord.
With the new Shuffle, users can organize songs by multiple playlists. The VoiceOver feature can speak in 14 languages: English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
VoiceOver is Apple's term for the text-to-speech engine built into Mac OS X Leopard in order to let blind people use a Mac more easily. The "Alex" voice generated by that software is the one that Leopard users will hear, while Windows users and Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) users will hear a different voice, said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod and iPhone marketing.
The first time you sync one of the new iPod Shuffles with iTunes, Apple will install software on your Mac or PC that makes the voice feature possible. This isn't speech recognition; you can't speak into your iPod headphone and order up Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks," but the voice feature is more useful than just reminding you of the name of that song you downloaded three years ago but had forgotten about until it randomly came up on your Shuffle.… Read more