New From Apple: iPod Shuffle HAL Edition

Published on March 11, 2009
by John Paczkowski

shuffle_halThe Apple Store went down for updating early this morning and when it returned, it featured an all-new iPod shuffle. Nearly half the size of its predecessor, this third-generation player features a new aluminum design and holds up to 1,000 songs with its 4GB of built-in storage. It also boasts a new VoiceOver feature that enables it to say the names of song titles, artists and playlists outloud in 14 languages (click here to hear an example).

“Imagine your music player talking to you, telling you your song titles, artists and playlist names,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing said in a statement. “The amazingly small new iPod shuffle takes a revolutionary approach to how you listen to your music by talking to you.”

An interesting feature for those of us that can’t always recall a song name or its author simply by listening to it. Reminds me of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“Dave Bowman: Tell me the name of the song, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do….”


As with most Apple (AAPL) products, the design of the device is impressive–sleek and impossibly small. That said, one of its elements may prove off-putting: The new shuffle lacks a click wheel. Its controls have been moved to the earphone cord. Which means it’s incompatible with third-party earphones until someone comes out with an adapter cable that will make it a bit costlier than its $79 price.

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