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Apple iPod Shuffle First Look


Apple iPod Shuffle

Apple iPod Shuffle

The iPod shuffle, Apple's new flash based memory player, is set to push the computer company into potential flash memory market dominance just like the traditional, hard drive based iPod has for its space. The shuffle, which comes in 512 MB ($99) and 1 GB ($149) flavors, gets an estimated 12 hours of playtime on one charge and its smaller then a pack of gum size body weighs a mere .78 ounces.

Most Interesting Features:

The most prominent feature on the new iPod shuffle, which lacks a LCD display found on similar players, is its namesake shuffle feature. Each time the shuffle is listened to, it randomly selects songs from those stored in its memory to play, varying the order every time. The feature can be turned off if the user so desires by flipping a small switch on the back of the player.

Another feature of note, used in conjunction with the included Apple iTunes software, is AutoFill. This feature, when the shuffle is connected to your computer, automatically determines how many songs will fit on the device based on the amount of available memory space. It then transfers the appropriate number, based upon randomness (shuffle) or a specific order, from either your complete library or specific playlists you create. For those that wish, Autofill can also be turned off and songs manually added.

Other Useful Features:

The iPod shuffle’s main way of connecting to a PC or Mac is through its integrated USB connector. Besides allowing the computer to transfer music files to it, the USB connection also provides an up to four hour recharge function for the shuffle’s battery. It also lets the player function as a file storage device for things like documents and pictures.

The iPod shuffle comes with a lanyard, making it ready to be worn out of the box. Unlike the traditional iPod's hard drive which can skip during vigorous movements, the shuffle's use of flash memory means there are no moving parts and no missed tunes.

Technical Details:

The iPod shuffle plays MP3, WAV and AAC music files in addition to supporting Audible audio book types 2, 3 and 4. Apple estimates the 512 MB model can hold up to 120 songs with an average of four minutes each, with the 1 GB coming in at around 240.

Basic control of the shuffle is handled through a simple frontal button interface which allows you to manage the volume, navigate forwards and backwards between songs and play/pause. Optional accessories available include an armband holder, splash proof sports case, dock connector, battery pack and power adapter.

What do you think of the new iPod Shuffle? Discuss it in the forums.

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