Apple details new Voice Over controls for iPod shuffle

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple has detailed the remote control features of the new third generation iPod shuffle, which pairs Apple's now-standard earphones with an integrated remote that includes voice feedback and visual signals from an indicator light.



The remote features the same center click button and volume up and down toggle controls (pictured below) as the most recent generation of new iPods released last fall. The new remote features also work with the latest generation of unibody MacBooks and with iPhones and the second generation iPod touch, all of which are equipped with a special four-conductor headphone jack to support the control features.







1 Volume Down button

2 Center button

3 Volume Up button



Status lights for control functions and battery level



New to the third generation iPod shuffle is an indicator light providing a visual feedback for the remote features, as the device lacks any display. Unlike previous versions of the iPod shuffle, the new version also lacks any playback controls on the unit itself, requiring the use of Apple's remote-integrated headphones.



When turned on, the iPod shuffle's status light indicate approximately how much charge is left in the battery. If iPod shuffle is already on, you can check the battery status without interrupting playback by quickly switching iPod shuffle off and on again and then observing the color of the status light. The new third generation iPod shuffle also provides VoiceOver feedback with an audible battery status stated when you quickly switch the unit off and on.



When checking the battery level, a green light indicates a greater than one quarter full to full charge. With Voice Over, the device will also announce ?Battery Full? if the charge is greater than three quarters full, ?Battery 75%? if the charge is greater than half full, and ?Battery 50%? if the charge is at least twenty five percent to half full. An orange light indicates a charge of ten to twenty five percent, and is accompanied by an announcement of ?Battery 25%.? A solid red light indicates a charge one to ten percent full, and is accompanied by an announcement of ?Battery Low.? If less than one percent, the indicator light will blink red and a tri-tone signal will play. If no remaining charge is left, the device will obviously do nothing.



Voice Over features can be activated in iTunes during initial setup or at any later time from iTunes' Device Summary tab presented when the third generation iPod shuffle is attached. Once Voice Over is activated, iTunes will install Voice Over Kit software on the local computer and will generate audio VoiceOver messages to be synced to the device in the language specified.



Status lights for syncing and charging



The four conductor headphone jack on the new third generation iPod shuffle also doubles as a USB port for charging and syncing music. Apple supplies a short 45 mm USB adapter with the iPod shuffle (pictured below), and also offers an optional 1 meter long version of the cable.







While plugged in, a solid orange status light indicates the unit is charging, while a solid green light indicates the unit is fully charged. If the light is blinking orange, it means the unit is syncing with iTunes or that disk use was enabled in iTunes. In this state, iPod shuffle may be charging or fully charged; the charge status icon next to the iPod shuffle in iTunes will indicate the charge level. Ejecting the iPod shuffle from iTunes while leaving it connected to USB will cause the indicator light to display the charge status. If there is no status light when connected, it indicates a bad connection between the unit and the computer, or that the computer is not suppling power over USB.



Remote playback controls



To start playback on the iPod shuffle, click the Center button once. The indicator will blink green once. To pause playback, click the Center button again. The indicator will blink green for 30 seconds while paused.







Song and audiobook chapter navigation controls



To skip to the next track (or audiobook chapter), double-click the Center button. The indicator will blink green once.



To fast-forward, double-click and hold the Center button. The indicator will blink green once.



To skip back to the previous track (or audiobook chapter), triple-click the Center button within 6 seconds of the track starting. To restart the current track from the beginning, triple-click after 6 seconds. The indicator will blink green once.



To rewind, triple-click and hold the Center button. The indicator will blink green once.



Changing the volume



Click the Volume Up (+) or Volume Down (-) buttons to increase or decrease the volume. Click and hold to change the volume quickly. A tone sounds when you change the volume while iPod shuffle is paused. The indicator will blink green for each volume increment, and will blink orange three times when the upper or lower volume limit is reached



Voice Over and Playlist controls



To hear song title and artist names, click and hold the Center button. The indicator will blink green once.



To switch playlists, click the Center button until you hear a tone, and then release to switch the playlist menu. You'll hear the current playlist, all songs, and then remaining playlists in alphabetical order followed by audiobooks and podcasts. When you hear the name of the playlist you want, click to select it. You can click + or - to move quickly through the playlist menu. The indicator will blink green once.



To exit the playlist menu, click and hold the Center button. The indicator will blink green once.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 102
    merdheadmerdhead Posts: 587member
    What this all means is that you have to read the manual to work out how to use your new ipod, and probably carry around a bit of paper to remind you. Absolutely brilliant.
  • Reply 2 of 102
    duecesdueces Posts: 89member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appleinsider View Post


    to rewind, triple-click and hold the center button. The indicator will blink green once.




    lolololololololololololol

  • Reply 3 of 102
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    The friggen trolls are out.
  • Reply 4 of 102
    chibirchibir Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    To rewind, triple-click and hold the Center button. The indicator will blink green once.



    Somehow reminds me of this comic and the two after it...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Voice Over features can be activated in iTunes during initial setup or at any later time from iTunes' Device Summary tab presented when the third generation iPod shuffle is attached. Once Voice Over is activated, iTunes will install Voice Over Kit software on the local computer and will generate audio VoiceOver messages to be synced to the device in the language specified.



    Wait, so does this mean that it will embed the VoiceOver messages into each song in my library, regardless of whether I'll sync it or not? Or will it only embed the messages during the sync process? I don't really like the idea of iTunes messing around with each and every song in my library. (Though at least it's optional.)
  • Reply 5 of 102
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Hey Deuces - Get a Life.



    Use your brain - you don't have to adopt a stupid expression that just shows what an idiot you are.
  • Reply 6 of 102
    I never thought 4chan crap would start showing up here, of all places.

    Deuces, to put it into words you may understand, "gb2/b/"
  • Reply 7 of 102
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    The command list is a little arcane in my opinion. Might as well learn Morse code while I'm at it. It's like one of my laser printers, it has no display and it's usually very reliable, but to read the error code on the front panel, I have to pull up the manual (in PDF form) to understand what it wants.
  • Reply 8 of 102
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    I'm sorry, but replacing 5 intuitive buttons with 3 buttons, a multi-color blinking LED, and page long set of instructions to decode it all just to make it a little bit smaller is not good interface design.
  • Reply 9 of 102
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    The friggen trolls are out.



    Even if you live under a bridge, you can still figure out that the controls being tied to the earbuds is a very poor design.



    Who in their right mind will buy a device that can ONLY use the Apple earbuds?
  • Reply 10 of 102
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    Even if you live under a bridge, you can still figure out that the controls being tied to the earbuds is a very poor design.



    Who in their right mind will buy a device that can ONLY use the Apple earbuds?



    It seems like most people do use stock earbuds though. I wonder if that consideration would even come up any time before the earbuds die or break.
  • Reply 11 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    I'm sorry, but replacing 5 intuitive buttons with 3 buttons, a multi-color blinking LED, and page long set of instructions to decode it all just to make it a little bit smaller is not good interface design.



    I have to agree with you. The bottom line is that if you give my Dad two Shuffles, the 2nd Gen and the 3rd Gen, and ask him to figure out how to play a song, he's going to get the 2nd Gen in two seconds, and he'll still be working on the 3rd Gen a week from now.



    Not having a screen on the Shuffle limits it pretty hard to begin with. This new control scheme pretty much limits it to "turn the thing on and let it play, and then turn it off when you're done." It's not worth trying to remember how to rewind, fast forward, change tracks or playlists, etc.
  • Reply 12 of 102
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    The friggen trolls are out.



    Expect more of them as Apple's popularity increases.
  • Reply 13 of 102
    dhyundhyun Posts: 1member
    Useless trolls are... well useless.

    But the same goes for mindless apple fanboys (and fangirls) that only retaliate without stating legitimate arguments.



    I myself have a couple issues with this product...

    1) How will we be able to use our own brand of headphones. I mean, unless Apple is advertising that they will provide the shuffle with the best headphones known to man, I think this is a bad idea.



    2) As someone already mentioned, there has to be a balance between size vs. function. I think Apple nearly perfectly balanced it out with its last shuffle... I mean it's small, and it's still big enough to not lose all the time. With all this button and blinking lights, I think people are going to be too confused to appreciate the small size of the player itself.



    3) When these shuffle headphones go out of production because of less demand (which is probably in a couple of years with this crappy version of the shuffle) then what are the people that have this shuffle going to do?



    I mean, this is a really fascist move on Steve Jobs' part. Unless there's a lifetime replacement on these Apple headphones, I wouldn't even consider buying.



    Just my 2 cents.
  • Reply 14 of 102
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dhyun View Post


    Useless trolls are... well useless.

    But the same goes for mindless apple fanboys (and fangirls) that only retaliate without stating legitimate arguments.



    I myself have a couple issues with this product...

    1) How will we be able to use our own brand of headphones. I mean, unless Apple is advertising that they will provide the shuffle with the best headphones known to man, I think this is a bad idea.



    2) As someone already mentioned, there has to be a balance between size vs. function. I think Apple nearly perfectly balanced it out with its last shuffle... I mean it's small, and it's still big enough to not lose all the time. With all this button and blinking lights, I think people are going to be too confused to appreciate the small size of the player itself.



    3) When these shuffle headphones go out of production because of less demand (which is probably in a couple of years with this crappy version of the shuffle) then what are the people that have this shuffle going to do?



    I mean, this is a really fascist move on Steve Jobs' part. Unless there's a lifetime replacement on these Apple headphones, I wouldn't even consider buying.



    Just my 2 cents.



    So you had to register to write this?
  • Reply 15 of 102
    I'm as big an Apple fanboy as any, but even I have to admit... I'm waiting for the "April Fools!" message on Apple's website. I've admittedly never been the target consumer for a Shuffle (I like the screen and being able to select what I want to listen to) but I appreciate why they exist. This new Shuffle, however, has got to be the most ridiculous, counter-intuitive, unattractive gadget they've released in the last five years. The instructions alone read like an Apple parody in an Onion article.



    I don't say this to be a troll and piss people off... But seriously, if someone other than Apple released this as a competitor to the last generation Shuffle, it'd be the laughingstock of the internets. It'd be a joke today, and completely forgotten tomorrow.



    Everyone screws up. Apple's not immune. Although I think anyone who owned a third-generation iPod could have already told you that...
  • Reply 16 of 102
    ibluffibluff Posts: 30member
    hmmm this definately is a joke



    sooner or later, apple will change the functionality of this product. this looks like a half finished product.
  • Reply 17 of 102
    I have a feeling this is kinda going to be like the Halo 3 Bubble Shield when it was first announced on the Bungie forums. People will think it's an outright stupid decision until they use it regularly, when they'll say, "oooooh, I get it!". I doubt Apple's QA department is so messed up as to let a truly horrible idea out of the gates. Of course, it might just turn out horrible anyway.
  • Reply 18 of 102
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,575member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChibiR View Post


    Somehow reminds me of this comic and the two after it...







    Wait, so does this mean that it will embed the VoiceOver messages into each song in my library, regardless of whether I'll sync it or not? Or will it only embed the messages during the sync process? I don't really like the idea of iTunes messing around with each and every song in my library. (Though at least it's optional.)



    iTunes doesn't change your song files. Where did you get that from? The VoiceOver audio recordings will be separate files internally linked via some database to the songs, I imagine.
  • Reply 19 of 102
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,575member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dhyun View Post


    Useless trolls are... well useless.

    But the same goes for mindless apple fanboys (and fangirls) that only retaliate without stating legitimate arguments.



    I myself have a couple issues with this product...



    ...clip...



    3) When these shuffle headphones go out of production because of less demand (which is probably in a couple of years with this crappy version of the shuffle) then what are the people that have this shuffle going to do?



    I mean, this is a really fascist move on Steve Jobs' part. Unless there's a lifetime replacement on these Apple headphones, I wouldn't even consider buying.



    Just my 2 cents.



    You are making assumptions. Let me state some facts:



    1) Apple supports previous-generation iPods for years after they are replaced.



    2) Unlike many manufacturers, Apple knows that devices are virtually disposable in the long term and by making them as small and simple as possible, they minimize the impact on the environment. It's responsible design. I guess this could be my opinion, but I state it as a fact.
  • Reply 20 of 102
    While I necessarily do not have a major issue with the controls (Apple will be releasing a headphone dongle for third party headphones), I wonder why those three simple buttons could not have been placed on the shuffle as well? From what I have read/seen, the three buttons are small enough to fit along the edge of the shuffle and would allow use of third party headphones as well as giving another set of controls.



    Otherwise, I like the addition of the voice over, more memory, smaller aluminum form factor, improved clip as the former shuffle's clip was prone to breakage, playlists, etc. All added bonuses.
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