Apple have just announced the latest iPod Shuffle. It is the smallest iPod yet—about the size of my thumb but thinner. They have managed to make it so small by getting rid of the screen. All the output is by voice; press a button on the earphone lead and it will announce the track that is playing at the time, press and hold the button and it will announce the playlist and then read through all the playlists on the shuffle, wait until you hear the playlist you want and press the button again. The button and the volume control are on the right ear plug cable, so you do not even have to take the Shuffle out of your pocket or your bag.
As there is nothing to see you can control the Shuffle with your eyes closed or when you are concentrating on something else such as jogging or driving.
As my readers may have guessed by now I am really excited about this new product because it is accessible. Anyone with little or no eyesight can use it very effectively, which was not true for most of the previous iPods. The simple button control may also make it easier for some users with limited manual dexterity.
Given that that this is such a nice device I can forgive Apple for a small error in the announcement video. The video claims that the new Shuffle is the first music player that talks to you. This is odd considering Apple announced an iPod Nano with voice output last September see iPod Nano accessible and more usable!
The latest version of iTunes is also accessible so I think the latest Shuffle is an ideal device for people with vision impairments.