Apple iPod Shuffle gets a voice

Cupertino (CA) – Apple today announced an “incredible” new iPod Shuffle. And while we know that Apple never understates product announcements, the 2009 Shuffle is the most significant update of Apple’s entry-level MP3 player yet. The new player is slimmer than its predecessor and is now able to speak song titles, artists and playlist names.  And yes, it has more capacity as well — 4 GB.

There were those who predicted that the iPod Shuffle would soon be removed from Apple’s iPod product line, due to a cheaper iPod Nano and Apple’s intent to increase average selling prices of the product family. However, the Shuffle seems to have enough sales volume to justify an update.

The third generation of the player still lacks a display, but now has a “VoiceOver” feature that is unique in the product family and that enables the device to speak song titles, artists and playlist names.  All controls are now located on the earphone cord and allow the user to play, pause, adjust volume, switch playlists and hear the name of the song and artist.

The plasticky feeling is gone as the Shuffle now comes in an (silver or black) aluminum design with a built-in stainless steel clip. It is available only in a 4 GB version, which is priced at $79.