The iPod shuffle, already one of the smallest mp3 players on the market, has gotten even smaller. Except now, it speaks too. The new Shuffle is not only much smaller (in fact, it only has one button – the rest are on the headphones themselves), but it now boasts storage of 4 gigabytes, a 400% increase from its 1GB predecessor, which attracts many more customers because 1GB just doesn’t cut it for most avid music listeners.
The most intriguing thing about this new product is the new “VoiceOver” function. This feature will, upon your request, read out the name of the artist and song you are listening to, as well as the rest of the upcoming songs on the playlist. Since the “shuffle” is named because it randomly picks a song for you as you go, this can be a helpful feature. By hearing what songs are coming up next, it gives the listener the option to skip right up to what they want to hear, instead of just hoping that the next song is something they’ll be in the mood for.
This new VoiceOver technology is enabled when you sync your iPod to your iTunes. So not only are you transferring music, but also a computer-generated voice right into your portable device. VoiceOver boasts 14 different languages that include English, Spanish, and Mandarin.
New consumers will have to sacrifice approximately two hours of battery life and pony up an extra $30 (from $50 to $80) for the newest mp3 from Apple. Yet, the development of the VoiceOver technology and the mass space increase should generate plenty of buyers for the new iPod shuffle.