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Apple iPod shuffle 4 GB Black (3rd Generation) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

by Apple
3.8 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews
| 4 answered questions

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  • 4 GB capacity for about 1,000 songs
  • Up to 10 hours of audio on a single charge
  • Ultra-compact--smaller than a AA battery
  • Supports AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4)
  • 1-Year limited warranty and single-incident telephone support for the first 90 days
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Technical Details

Product Packaging: Standard Packaging
  • USB Powered

Product Description

Product Packaging: Standard Packaging

The third-generation iPod shuffle is the talk of the music world. Not just because it's incredibly small--half the size of the previous generation. And not just because it holds up to 1,000 songs and supports multiple playlists. It's the talk of the town because it's the only music player in the world that talks to you. The new VoiceOver feature lets iPod shuffle tell you what song is playing and who's performing it. It also tells you the names of your playlists. With VoiceOver--and with the controls conveniently located on the earbud cord--it's even easier to navigate your music. You can do it without taking your eyes off your run, your ride, or whatever you're doing.

The iPod shuffle 3G is the first music player that talks to you. Click to enlarge.

The iPod shuffle 3G: The First Music Player That Talks to You

World's Smallest Music Player

Ultra-Compact, Ultra-Sleek
Its compact, anodized aluminum design is nearly half the size of the previous iPod shuffle and smaller than a AA battery. But don't be fooled by its diminutive nature. It might be small on the outside, but it holds a lot on the inside. With iPod shuffle now available in 4 GB capacity, you can take up to 1,000 songs with you anywhere. And with the controls located where you can quickly access them, it's also easier to use.

Most Wearable
The iPod shuffle comes with a brilliant stainless steel clip that lets you securely wear your music no matter where you are. Clip it to your workout gear when you're at the gym. Clip it to your backpack or belt when you're on the go. If you want, you can even clip it out of sight. Whether you're walking, running, cycling, or skiing, you'll always have your favorite songs and playlists with you.

Your Music Library to Go

Store More Music
It's hard to believe that something so small could carry so much music. But now that the iPod shuffle has 4 GB, you have plenty of room to store up to 1,000 songs. Load up all the music you want, and hit the road for as long as you like. Slide the switch to "Shuffle," and get ready for the most unpredictable ride of your life. Or slide the switch to "Play in Order" to hear your playlists from start to finish.

Multiple Playlists
You've probably made multiple playlists in iTunes. You have one for your commute, another one for the gym, and then a few more for just chilling out. Now, with the iPod shuffle 3G, you can sync them all and take them wherever you go. Up to 4 GB gives you plenty of room to hold a playlist for every occasion--which means you'll always have the perfect mix to match your activity or mood. And with VoiceOver telling you the name of each playlist, you can easily switch between them and find the one you want. You also can have audiobooks and podcasts on your iPod shuffle. Audiobooks will be put into separate playlists automatically, and podcast episodes will be grouped together in a Podcasts playlist.

Includes Apple earbud earphones with remote and mic as well as an iPod shuffle USB cable. Click to see how controls work.

Easy Access Controls
You'll find controls for the new iPod shuffle in two locations. On the right earbud cord, you'll find the controls that let you interact with your music. And on the top of the iPod shuffle, there's a switch that lets you choose to shuffle, to play your songs in order, or to turn off your iPod shuffle.

Using the Apple Earphones with Remote
All the controls you need to interact with your music--adjusting volume, changing songs, switching playlists, and hearing song titles and artist names--are built into the Apple Earphones with Remote. You control the iPod shuffle by pressing the top, center, or bottom button on the control. This makes it easy to navigate your music and activate the VoiceOver feature, without taking your eyes off what you're doing.

The first time you set up VoiceOver on your computer, iTunes automatically downloads and installs the VoiceOver Kit. Click to enlarge.

Three-Way Switch
The new iPod shuffle now has a stainless steel switch with three positions that let you choose how you want to listen to your music. Slide it to the left to shuffle your songs. Slide it to the middle to play your songs in order. Or slide it to the right to turn everything off.

Also, an LED on the top of the iPod shuffle displays such things as syncing and battery status.

Introducing VoiceOver
VoiceOver is the exciting new feature that makes iPod shuffle the first music player that talks to you. It entirely changes the way you browse and navigate your music. Say you're listening to a song and want to know the title or the artist. With the press of a button, VoiceOver tells you--without interrupting your music. But the fun doesn't stop with songs. For the first time ever on an iPod shuffle, you can have multiple playlists, and VoiceOver announces their names, too. So you can easily find the right mix without taking your eyes off your run, your ride, or whatever you're doing.

How It Works
A lot of work has gone into creating an iPod shuffle that not only talks, but says the right things. It all begins with iTunes and its seamless integration with iPod. iTunes reads your song information, then uses the new VoiceOver Kit to generate the announcements for the songs, artists, and playlists on your iPod shuffle. You'll hear different voices depending on what type of computer system you use when you sync your iPod shuffle. If you sync it with a PC or with a Mac running Mac OS X Tiger, you'll hear the English voice included in the VoiceOver Kit. And since Mac OS X Leopard already has an amazing English voice built in, that's the one you'll hear when you sync your iPod shuffle with a Mac running Leopard.

Multiple Languages
Your music library may have songs from all over the world--a love song from France, a bolero from Spain, a pop tune from Japan. Luckily, VoiceOver speaks in 14 languages. iTunes automatically selects the language and best voice for your song titles and artist names. It looks at song data, like the title, artist, and album information, then applies intelligent algorithms to choose the right language. For example, iTunes recognizes the song "Ya Viene el Sol" by Ozomatli as a Spanish song, so your iPod shuffle will automatically speak that song title and artist name in Spanish. If you'd prefer to hear song titles and artist names spoken in a specific language, you can change the designated VoiceOver language in iTunes. Just select one or more songs, choose Get Info from the File menu, and then select the VoiceOver language in the Options pane.

Environmental Status Report
iPod shuffle embodies Apple's continuing environmental progress. It is designed with the following features to reduce environmental impact:

  • Brominated flame retardant free

  • PVC free

  • Highly recyclable aluminum enclosure

  • Smaller, more compact packaging (40% smaller, 33% lighter)

VoiceOver Kit
The first time you set up VoiceOver on your computer, iTunes automatically downloads and installs the VoiceOver Kit, which enables your iPod shuffle to speak in 14 different languages:

  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

What's in the Box
iPod shuffle (black), Apple Earphones with Remote, iPod shuffle USB cable (1.8 inches), Quick Start guide

Product Information

Technical Details

Brand Name Apple
Item Weight 0.6 ounces
Product Dimensions 5 x 5 x 1 inches
Origin Made in USA and Imported
Item model number MC164LL/A
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista; Apple MacOS X 10.4.11; Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP3; Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3
Number of Items 1

Additional Information

Customer Reviews
3.8 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #1,358 in Electronics > Portable Audio & Video > MP3 Players & Accessories > MP3 Players
Shipping Weight 12.8 ounces
Domestic Shipping Item can be shipped within U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Date First Available March 11, 2009

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Package Type: Standard Packaging Verified Purchase
OK, I'll begin by saying that the new Shuffle is, without doubt, one of the smallest, sexiest MP3 players I've ever seen. I love how it looks. It's... compelling. Of course, with this level of form, some functionality is lost. With the 3G Shuffle, it's the buttons (or lack thereof).

Apple decided to move the buttons off the controller and onto the headphone cord. There are two major flaws that I can see:

1. I can't use "any old" pair of headphones anymore. Sure, the music still plays, but if I can't pause, skip, turn the volume up/down, what's the point. I'm now tied into either Apple's headphones or third-party headphones with the controller. Gone are the days of a "headphone catastrophe" where the headphone cord gets pinched while traveling and I have to run out to a store and grab a pair of substitute $10 phones. I now have to either shell out $20-30 and/or find a local Apple store. Not good. (And let's not even talk about using it with my car stereo...)

2. The controls are... in a bad place. It's kind of hard to grab the controller without looking when it's bouncing around near my jaw while running. Today, it took me about 5-6s to actually get a hold of the darned thing and skip ahead. Later in the day, I grabbed it a bit quicker but then accidentally yanked the earbud out. This was obviously designed without testing it "in the field."

To both of the above, some comment: "wait until Apple releases an adapter with controls in a better position that allow you to use normal headphones." Of course, my reply is "I already spent $80 on this thing. You want me to spend MORE?"

In the end, this is one sweet of technology that just screams "impress your friends." Of course, you don't hear it whispering "and secretly dread using me anywhere but in your living room chair."

At least Apple's not discontinuing the 2G Shuffle...
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Package Type: Standard Packaging
For what it's worth, I actually own one of these.


Most people seem to prefer the $50 price tag of the previous model, and I can't say that I blame them. I mean, other than the much smaller size and the higher-capacity flash drive, what does this new model have to offer that the old model didn't? The answer: it supports multiple playlists, which make up the primary essence of every higher-caliber iPod.

Let's be blunt: if you have owned a higher-caliber iPod, such as an iPod Touch or an iPod Nano, how many times have you really used it to watch videos or to finger-pick a song from your list of thousands? My guess is a few...but that most of the time, you have found yourself listening to music via...playlists. My guess is that most of the time, you pop those earbuds in, turn on your iPod, select a playlist according to your mood, and listen to it. Guess what? You can do exactly the same thing with this baby--for only$80 as opposed to $150 and up.

I find the audio quality of this model far superior to that of the previous model.


The "VoiceOver" feature is definitely nice to have when you're changing playlists; however, if you don't listen to much classical music, you may find the song-and-artist naming feature useless. You can deactivate VoiceOver if you want; but be aware that you will then be unable to navigate through your playlists--which, in my opinion, is the primary reason to buy this model.


I admit it: I'm not a audiophile. I don't know, but this may be why I've always appreciated Apple earbuds. In fact, I think the earbuds that came packaged with this model are great!
Read more ›
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1st failure:
One hour into a run, I tried to advance a track, go back one track, and select a playlist. All functions failed. On two occasions, a single press of the selector, the volume maxed out instantaneously, and this selector should have no effect on volume. My suspicion was that the controller could not tolerate the moist conditions, as I sweat a lot while running. I went to the nearest Apple Store, and a specialist gladly replaced the earphones/controller, which worked fine, until the next day...

2nd failure:
The controller worked fine before my run. Less than 20 minutes in, the same problems occur. This time, without pressing anything, the earphones instantaneously went to maximum volume. I returned the iPod shuffle to the Apple Store after leaving the gym and questioned why a controller for an iPod, otherwise ideal for working out, would not be sweatproof.
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I own every generation of Apple iPods, shuffles, nanos out there. I guess I am a bit of a collector, so when then the 3rd generation shuffle came along, I knew I would get one. I've had it two weeks, and I can safely say this is the worst of all the shuffles.

Yes, it is beautiful and compact. I love that it holds 4 GB of music, so you can go many workouts without hearing the same song again. This was my main attraction, even the 2 GB 2nd gen would eventually return the same song in a week. Not this one.

But there are two major flaws with this one:
1) I doesn't seem to hold a charge for a long time. The 2nd gen seems to work for 2 weeks before I have to recharge, this one only lasts a few days. Maybe I have a defective one.
2) The headphones, in theory, are a great, but in practice, I find them terrible. Here's why:
a) The controls are in the wrong place, too close to the ear, so makes it awkward to control them when working out. closer to the chest would have been a better design in my opinion.
b) If you sweat (and I assume everyone does when working out) the headphone controls eventually get sweat logged (usually about 25 min into my workout) and one of two things happen: First, the whole ipod shuts itself off. Sometimes it will reboot if I shut it off and turn back on, sometimes not, or two, the controls become unresponsive, so you still have music but you can't control volume, play lists, skip forward, skip back, stop. I typically hope the second happens, but neither should happen at all. My guess is that if the controls were lower on the headset it might work a little better, but who knows.

So great concept, bad design. I will probably go back to an old shuffle. I'd rather have the same song every few days rather than lack of control.
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