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New iPod shuffle portending changes to other iPods?

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Fri March 13, 2009

Kaufman on iPhone 3.0

The third-generation iPod shuffle may signal where Apple is headed with future iPod and iPhone concepts, says Kaufman Bros'. Shaw Wu. The Shuffle now incorporates VoiceOver technology, used to identify tracks and support multiple playlists. Such developments may show where Apple is headed with future firmware, Wu proposes.

In terms of the iPhone and iPod touch, it is thought that Apple may be interested in expanding the use of VoiceOver, which would make the devices more practical in terms of hands-free use. A crucial part of the equation could be the implementation of speech recognition, which would allow the use of a Touch or iPhone in circumstances such as driving. Such changes would increase the competitiveness or even superiority of Apple hardware, Wu contends.

Apple is meanwhile said to be interested in upgrading the mobile version of the Safari web browser, providing some mirror to Safari 4 by boosting speed and ease-of-use. The development process may also become easier, and matched with an improved App Store, meant to simplify navigation and locating well-reviewed titles. Wu comments that the difference could be essential in the face of rival mobile stores created by Google, Nokia and RIM.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mullum

    Joined: Dec 1969



    charging via headphone jack is interesting development

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Waste of Time

    The limiting design factor for make the iPod Shuffle smaller was clearly the navigational controls on the 2nd shuffle. By eliminating this Apple was able to reduce the device's size. While I can see Apple providing "VoiceOver" as an option, I high doubt this will translate to interface design changes in current models.

    To be fair, Wu's comment does indicate a firmware (effectively adding the "feature") and not an interface design. It is the MacNN title and lead that has innuendo implying a greater design change across the iPod line.

  1. vintagegeek

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Putting the controls on the stupid earbuds made by apple is ludicrous. When's the last time you saw an adult jogging or working out with those pieces of junk in their ears. Heck, they barely stay in the ear as it is.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The current shuffles charge through the headphone jack as well. That's nothing new.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Third-party headphones

    with controls are on the way. My ears are not shaped for iPod buds. They fall out of my ears if I just stand still and turn my head. My ear shape offers no grip at any point. They're angled open. Etymotics in-ear for me, all the way.

    Yet I know people whose ears grip Apple ear buds like a vice. Weird stuff.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wu is an idiot.

    Christ, how many more times: the iPod nano is doing VoiceOver for nearly HALF A YEAR now. Nobody noticed? Well, for sure not Mr Wu, the most clueless of all clueless analysts.

    I don't get it why MacNN is so eager to provide this tool with a platform to publish his ramblings. Must be money involved. Same with this other guy, Gene Munster.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    for the iPhone / iPT

    Safari 4 speed plus Flash please. Don't bother your pretty little heads porting Silverlight. Thank you.

  1. dthree

    Joined: Dec 1969


    voice recognition? really

    Nobody wants voice recognition on their ipod. Hardly anybody uses it on their cellphone or their computer. Not impressed with the crystal-ball view of Shaw Wu here. Not only is it an obvious feature add after voiceover, its a pointless one as well.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    nano and VoiceOver???

    Is there any reference to the Nano being able to do VoiceOver on the Apple site? I'm only asking because I've looked and wasn't able to find any mention of that feature. Unless you own a Nano or tried it out at an Apple store, how would you know it has VoiceOver. Other people have said the nano has the VO feature, but I swear I've never seen that feature being mentioned as a selling point of the nano.

    Are the $80 in-ear headphones that Apple sells that has the remote and mic compatible with the iPod Shuffle?

  1. monkeymilk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not firmware

    The VoiceOver feature is not a major firmware change and there is no text-to-speech in the device let alone voice recognition.
    All the heavy lifting is done by iTunes which generates an MP3 of the text when the device is synced. Big clue in the that voice differs depending on the version of iTunes the device is synced with.
    The firmware just overlays two MP3s, it's a smart solution but is no big deal.

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