We field your questions about the changes to Apple's music player line-up.
What changed with the shuffle?
The main change is the device's design: as mentioned above, Apple has ditched the button-less look of the previous model and returned to physical playback controls. Don't worry about those buttons adding bulk to the shuffle, though- at just 1.14in tall, 1.24in wide, and 0.34in thick, the new shuffle is still fairly compact. In fact, it's noticeably smaller than the second-generation shuffle, which sported the same controls.
So do the buttons mean that the shuffle no longer features VoiceOver and playlist support?
No, those features have been retained. In fact, the latest shuffle offers a dedicated VoiceOver button to make the feature more accessible. However, as noted above, you do lose the inline remote control on the earbuds.
What about the iPod classic? Apple didn't mention a thing about that model this week.
Oh, you noticed that? It was a conspicuous omission, especially given that Steve Jobs told the audience at the launch event that every iPod model had been updated. That would seem to imply the classic's time as the last hard drive-based iPod model is up. Yet, the classic still has its own promotional page on Apple's website and you can still buy that model from Apple's online store. (It's the same £193 160GB classic, available in either black or white, that Apple introduced last year.) What's unclear is if Apple is just going to continue selling the classic until it runs out of inventory or if it's keeping the classic as a part of the product line for customers who want a high-capacity music player. We put in a call to Apple's PR department to get an answer to that question, but we have yet to hear back.
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