Apple Introduces iPod Shuffle: Flash Music Player for $99 [UPDATED]

| Macworld/iWorld Expo

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Apple Computer introduced the newest addition to its iPod product line, the iPod shuffle. As expected by rumor sites and Wall Street analysts alike, the iPod shuffle is a flash-memory based music player. The name "shuffle" refers to the units interface, or lack thereof, because it comes without a display and can play wither a Playlist fro iTunes or shuffle through a playlist. The unit comes in either a 512 megabyte unit that holds up to 120 songs for US$99, or a 1 gigabyte unit that holds up to 240 songs for $149, and sports rechargeable internal batteries that will last up to 12 hours.

"iPod shuffle is smaller and lighter than a pack of gum and costs less than $100," said Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, in a statement. "With most flash-memory music players users must use tiny displays and complicated controls to find their music; with iPod shuffle you just relax and it serves up new combinations of your music every time you listen."


Appleis iPod shuffle

iPod shuffleis most distinguishing feature is the lack of a display. iPod shuffle literally is designed to play music back in a shuffled Playlist, though it can also play a Playlist in order. It features an LED that changes color according to the task it is doing -- for instance green for play, red for pause -- and users control the unit through forward, back, play/pause, and volume up and down buttons. The unit does not include a clickwheel.

Physically, the unit is small, smaller than a pack of gum according to Apple, and is made of the same white plastic that helped the original iPod become such a hot seller.

Unlike previous iPod, however, the unit come equipped with USB. The USB port sticks out of the bottom of the unit and plugs into a Mac or PC like a USB pen drive would. It ships with both a cap for covering the port, and a lanyard cap for wearing the unit around your neck.


iPod shuffle plugged into an iBook.

In addition to iPod shuffle, Apple also introduced some accessories for the unit, including a sportscase that encases the unit, an armband for athletic endeavors, a dock, and an additional battery pack that can augment the onboard power. All of the units are available now from the Apple Store.

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