Finger-sized iPod Shuffle on the way

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Apple claims to have created the world’s smallest music player with its new iPod Shuffle, measuring 1.8 inches tall, 0.7 inches wide and 0.3 inches thin.

In terms of storage, the new Shuffle is actually bigger than its predecessors. It holds 4 GB of music, compared to the previous generation, which included 1 GB and 2 GB models.

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The size reduction is due in large part to the controls, which have been moved off the player entirely and onto the cord of the included white earbuds — a more strategic location anyway, Apple insists. Of course, this means that users are stuck with those earphones, often derided for their poor audio quality, until Apple or a third-party manufacturer comes up with a solution.

Finger-sized iPod Shuffle on the way

Another feature Apple touts in the latest Shuffle is "VoiceOver," which tells listeners (in 14 languages, depending on the origin of the song) the name of a track and the artist behind it with the press of a button. This could useful if you’ve loaded up the player with a bunch of new tunes, and want to learn about them. More importantly, the voice will read off playlist names, allowing the user to easily switch between preloaded playlists. It’s at least a reasonable substitute for a display, which the Shuffle has always lacked.

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Reuters reports that Apple will continue to sell the smaller of the two previous-generation Shuffles for $49, while the 2 GB version will be phased out. The latest Shuffle is priced at $79 and is shipping now.

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