Every year, Apple makes new versions of their devices. They add new features and new designs. Sometimes they even reduce the price of their latest versions to make them more appealing to consumers. The latest version of the iPod Shuffle (4th Generation) was given a price drop and a new design. The 4th Generation is smaller and cheaper, making it a more appealing device for those who are waiting for a cheap iPod Shuffle to come out. Is now a good time to buy a cheap iPod Shuffle? Read this short review to find out if this latest version of the Shuffle is worth your money.
Last year, Apple did a major redesign of the iPod Shuffle. They removed the built-in controls and replaced it with a control system that used in-line controls that are built into the specialized earbuds. The previous control system requires the user to pinch the control pod integrated into the earbud wires to adjust the volume, pause, and change songs. Apple also introduced the VoiceOver feature in the previous control system. VoiceOver tells you the title of the song that is currently playing when you pinch and hold the in-line controller. The previous system was helpful, but not ideal because it requires specific earphones and earbuds and was also a bit tricky to navigate.
In the latest version (4th Generation), Apple decided to bring back the control scheme of the 2nd Generation iPod Shuffle: a circular control interface for controlling the volume, playback, and track selection. It still includes the VoiceOver feature, but the in-line controls are now purely optional. This is probably the best control scheme for the iPod. Apple sacrificed function for form on the 3rd Gen Shuffle.
This time, they found a nice balance of form and function.
The 4th Generation iPod Shuffle has total dimensions of 1.14 inches by 1.24 inches and is only 0.34 inches thick. It is the most compact redesign of the Shuffle and a new integrated clip makes accessibility and transportation much easier. It is also more durable and feels nice to the touch because it comes encased in brushed aluminum. The added clipping mechanism seems sturdy as well. However, small size of this device also makes it more prone to getting misplaced, so be extra careful on where you put it.
The revised control scheme of the 4th Gen is a lot more intuitive and easier to use. Apple has also added a dedicated button for the VoiceOver feature. There are also new cues for VoiceOver such as playlists and battery information. VoiceOver can now tell you if your battery is fully charged, at 75%, 50%, 25%, or Low, by simply pressing the VoiceOver button twice. You can also have multiple playlists on the new iPod Shuffle. When you press and hold the VoiceOver button, it will read the available playlists. When you hear the name of your desired playlist, you can initiate it by simply pressing the Play button. The 4th Generation iPod Shuffle is the best redesign of this device. If you are planning on getting your own iPod Shuffle, now would be a good time to get it. The 4th Gen is cheaper, smaller, and has better controls.