I’m on the record somewbelow as saying that my favorite iPod of all time is the second-generation (2G) iPod shuffle. Tbelow was simply something around that bit man, via its clip-on body and its circle of easy-to-navigate regulate butlots, that I found irresistible. I still have a battered old silver one that I take on trips and also use once I’m mowing the lawn.

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On the other hand, the third-generation (3G) iPod shuffle presented in March 2009 was an example of Apple’s style language taken to an extreme. Gone were the onboard controls of previous models: the 3G shuffle was a tiny steel nub with a headphone jack and also a power switch, and not a lot else. Though it included support for multiple playlists and also a nifty spoken navigation mechanism, it additionally forced customers to count on a set of three-button headphones (a clicker, plus volume up and also dvery own buttons) to control the thing. I hated it.

Now here’s the $49 fourth-generation (4G) iPod shuffle version, or (if you prefer) the second generation of the 2G shuffle. From outside appearances it’s been designed as if that entire 3G shuffle had actually fallen right into a crack in time, erasing its entire visibility from our collective memories. This brand-new shuffle is a little male with a clip-on body and also a circle of easy-to-navigate regulate buttons. While the 2G shuffle was rectangular, this new shuffle is virtually perfectly square, shaving actually off a 3rd of that past model’s size.

March of time (left to right): first-, second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod shuffles.

Unlike the now-disgraced 3G iPod shuffle, which was easily accessible in 2GB ($59) and 4GB ($79) variations (and also a $99 stainless-steel special-edition model), this brand-new shuffle comes in a solitary configuration: 2GB for $49. You execute, but, acquire your choice of five colors: silver, blue, green, ovariety, and pink. That 2GB of room is sufficient to keep “numerous songs,” according to Apple. Similar to previous generations of shuffle, you can select to load the device with your music as it was initially encoded, or have iTunes re-encode large tracks at a smaller file size in order to save area.

While it’s admirable for Apple to continue its quest to develop the smallest products possible—a statement we might currently have the ability to amfinish to “the smallest commodities feasible without abandoning all on-tool controls”—the shrinking of the 4G shuffle poses a little usability problem. The controls of the 2G shuffle were off facility, placed away from the the side of the gadget wbelow the clip hinged. This gave a decent amount of area for a thumb and also finger to pinch the clip open.

The 4G shuffle, in contrast, has actually no such extran area available—the 2G’s open area is what has actually been shaved off to make the shuffle smaller sized and also squarer. As an outcome, though, it is a lot more awkward to squeeze open the clip and also connect it to clothes. Several times when I tried to affix it, I uncovered myself inadvertently pressing the ago switch, which took me earlier to the start of the presently playing track. If you’re cautious, you have the right to squeeze the corners of the gadget and control to open the clip, however it’s straightforward for fingers to slip. Bottom line: clipping the 4G shuffle on your shirt simply isn’t as easy as through the 2G version unless you don’t treatment about inadvertently pushing the previous-track switch.

The controls on the device are sensibly simple: a circular collection of butlots enables you to move forward and backward in between tracks (right and left), and increase and decrease the volume (top and also bottom). Clicking the facility switch toggles between playago and pause. On the peak edge of the gadget, there’s the very same three-position power switch as in the 3G version (off, play in order, and also shuffle) and also a brand-new VoiceOver switch. As with previous shuffle models, there’s no room for the conventional iPod dock connector port; instead, the shuffle comes with a small cable that plugs in to the device’s headphone jack and right into your computer’s USB port for both charging and also information syncing.

In a reminder of the cap to the marquee attribute of the now-disappeared 3G shuffle, this new shuffle incorpoprices its best attribute: the ability to talk. More specifically, if you press the VoiceOver switch, the iPod will stop the title and also artist of the track that it’s currently playing. VoiceOver is also exactly how you recognize how much battery is left in the iPod shuffle. A quick double-tap (I actually had actually trouble accomplishing the appropriate timing until I practiced), and also the shuffle will tell you its battery condition.

Holding dvery own dvery own the VoiceOver switch for a 2nd or so puts you in navigating mode; the gadget will start speaking the name of all its playlists, as well as “All Songs” and any type of podcasts or audiobooks you’ve synced. You deserve to usage the left and also ideal navigating butlots to conveniently relocate through the list, or just wait as the iPod’s voice reads them to you at a leisudepend pace. If you press the facility switch in the time of among the selections, the iPod instantly starts playing from that selection.


Although fundamental iPod navigation has actually been went back to its rightful area on the shuffle’s body itself, if you’ve obtained a pair of headphones via a clicker, you’re not out of luck. Similar to all of Apple’s assets, a solitary click toggles playearlier, a dual click advancements forward one track, and a triple click takes you back a track. But if you click and also hold the headphone button for a moment, it’s obtained the very same result as tapping the VoiceOver button: the shuffle tells you the name and also artist of the currently playing track. And if you click and also organize a little longer, it’s the tantamount of holding dvery own the VoiceOver button: the iPod shuffle will start listing all its playlists, and will certainly switch to whatever one it’s presently analysis when you click aacquire.

It’s a nice weaken that lets users through button-equipped headphones have actually some added manage while not sacrificing the comfortable on-gadget butlots that are easy to usage by feel. (The 4G shuffle ships with a plain pair of Apple earbuds, through no onboard controls of any kind of type.)

In regards to battery life, Apple claims the 4G shuffle deserve to last for 15 hrs of consistent play (up from its case of 10 hours for the 3G model), and also in my initial trial and error Apple’s clintends seem slightly conservative, as they need to be. My shuffle finally conked out after almost 16 hours of playing time.

One odd disappointment I had actually while using the 4G shuffle: While listening to music via the shuffle clipped to the bottom of my t-shirt, I maintained bumping right into things, which had actually the result of transforming tracks or changing the volume. Yes, I supplied to bump right into points while using the 2G shuffle too, but that gadget had a trick: If you hosted down its center button for a couple of seconds, it would lock out all the controls till you pressed and hosted the center button aacquire for a few secs. I provided that attribute all the time to prevent mistaken switch presses; I couldn’t find any type of combination of switch presses that would lock out the controls on the 4G shuffle version.

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sdrta.net’s buying advice

With the redesign of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle, Apple has actually brought ago a classic design that works well via any set of headphones. At $49 for 2GB of storage, it’s not just the perfect entry-level iPod, it’s also a solid second device for iPhone individuals that desire to save it basic while exercising. While the shuffle’s diminished dimension renders it a bit harder to clip on apparel than the second-generation version, it’s tough to quibble about small details without focusing on the massive one: Apple has backed off its misguided architecture of a buttonless iPod shuffle and also went back to the best path. Throw in the VoiceOver attributes and also the much longer battery life, and it’s straightforward to say that this is the finest iPod shuffle Apple has ever made.