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New iPod shuffle, what you need to know

Where did the idea of ​​having the controls on the headset come from?

It seems that this story comes from when Apple released its new headphones for the iPod nano, classic and iPod touch. These headphones have a central button to start and stop playback, advance a song (with two clicks) or rewind (with three clicks). These headphones made Apple engineers realize that they didn’t really need controls on the iPod nano to do these simple actions.

What about users who want to use a different headphone or who want to connect iPod shuffle to their car kit?

Apple has stated that third parties are preparing accessories to add these controls to any headphones. Similarly, some third parties have already announced their intention to make iPod shuffle-compatible headphones.

There’s a bit of good news, though: When you turn on iPod shuffle with a cable plugged into its headphone jack, it automatically starts playing. In this way, if you previously choose a playlist and the volume with the Apple headphones, then you can connect the cable that goes to your car radio and listen to the music. You won’t be able to vary the iPod’s output volume or pause playback, but at least it’s something.

How does the voice navigation system work?

When you first install shuffle, iTunes automatically downloads extra software called the VoiceOver kit. In Leopard, use the “Alex” voice for all spoken shuffle messages: artists, song titles, and playlist names. On pre-leopard or Windows systems, the VoiceOver Kit uses its own text-to-speech engine to generate these messages. Sounds are generated on the computer and transferred invisibly to the player.

iTunes then lets you choose a language, but if, for example, you speak Spanish, and some of your songs or artists are in French or English, will it pronounce them in Spanish?

It surely will. iTunes will try to detect the language of the songs or artists, and if they are not in English, it will try to use an appropriate voice for that language to pronounce correctly. However, you can skip this language by choosing the Get Info option in iTunes and clicking the options tab. Among these options you can select the VoiceOver language setting among the 14 available: Spanish, English, German, Dutch, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Czech, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish and Chinese.

How can I play from a playlist instead of all the content on the iPod?

When you hold down the center button on the headphones until after the playing track and artist are spoken, you will hear a beep. When you release the button, the player will start listing the names of all your playlists. Click the middle button when you hear the one you want and your iPod will begin playing that list. The iPod power button will determine whether that list will be played in sequential or random mode.

On the other hand, if you are impatient or have a lot of playlists, you can use the up or down buttons at that moment to move forward and back through them.