We spent this morning in a press briefing with an Apple product-development chap who'd flown all the way from California to show us how to use a device with one button. Nice work if you can get it. Our questions about the new iPod shuffle's controls were answered, and we also discovered just how small it really is. The pictures we've seen so far don't really get across just how teeny-tiny it is, so we've compared it with other MP3 players, a bunch of tat we found on our desks, and several other common objects, in what is by far the greatest size comparison test you will ever see, ever.
As our Twitter followers showed, the control method is dividing opinion. We learnt today that Klipsch and Scosche will be making VoiceOver-compatible headphones, and there will be an adaptor for plugging other headphones in too. Having used it, we're less bemused than when we first heard about it. Play and pause is simple -- a single click -- and skipping tracks involves double or triple-clicking. Holding the button down announces the artist and title of the curent song, with the music dipping slightly.
You can also use the button to browse through playlists. When syncing, you can choose which playlists to add to your shuffle. Then, while listening, press and hold the button and keep it held down until it's announced the song information. Release the button when you hear a beep, and the shuffle will begin reading out your playlists in alphabetical order.
Having the attention span of a toddler in a toy shop, we could see it being annoying having to wait through the song information every time we want to switch playlists, but hey ho. What makes this into a half-decent method of browing playlists is that you can use the volume buttons to skip up and down the list, speeding things up considerably.
When the battery hits 25 per cent of its capacity, it'll warn you with a word in your shell-like. These warnings are automatic and can't be disabled. You can check the battery levels at any time by quickly clicking the slider on the top back and forward. Battery information, like song titles, are announced in the mellifluous, lilting voice of 'Alex'... if you're a Mac user. Hilariously, Windows users get a voice that's probably best described as 'Dalek'.
But the main impression that's formed when you get your hands on the shuffle is just how impressively small it is. Click through our pictures to get a feel for how ickle the new iPod shuffle really is in our amazing size-comparison test gallery. When you're done, you can read our impressively timely full review.