The runt of the Apple litter has learnt a new trick: the third generation Shuffle can talk! But can it walk the iPod walk? In two words… kind of.
The main complaint that owners of previous Shuffles had was the lack of a screen, making it difficult to know what track you’re on. Now, though, the Shuffle speaks more languages than a Chelsea manager – 14 in total. The Talk function sees the Shuffle reporting the title, artist and playlist of the song you’re listening to. And should the battery start to run down, Mr Le Shuffle will tell you in no uncertain terms. It’s a nifty innovation.
Now we’ve got that new feature out the way, what about the rest of the upgrades? Well, this is now officially the smallest MP3 player in the world. A fact achieved by getting rid of the buttons and sticking them on the new ‘smart’ earbuds provided. That has a downside, though. While it cuts the size of the player, that inline remote means that you can’t upgrade them for a different set of cans that are altogether less rubbish than Apple’s offerings. Shocking.
The Shuffle’s new aesthetics and price will still appeal to its target audience (gym-goers, pre-teens and the poor), with its stainless steel clip and anodised aluminium casing giving it a sturdy feel previously lacking. But those painfully poor – and now irreplaceable headphones – have really handicapped the baby iPod.