Home > Benefits of Speech Recognition > Is new iPod Shuffle truly voice-enabled?

Is new iPod Shuffle truly voice-enabled?

According to Engadget, Apple just doubled the capacity of its iPod shuffle to 4GB while ditching the control wheel entirely. The new design keeps the clip and adds VoiceOver — a new feature that gets around the lack of display by telling you which song is playing and who performs it at the touch of a button on the earbud cable. It’ll also call out your playlists and let you navigate to others. Available in black or silver for $80 and your claim to what Apple calls the “world’s smallest music player.”

VoiceOver talks in English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

But is new iPod truly voice enabled? Check out the video and read further.

Here are some comments from Engadget, that are relevant to cons and pros of the new Shuffle:

1. No physical buttons on a unit are a big turn off for me. I should be able to use any headphones I want with my players.

2. But how do I navigate backwards… the Apple store employee only told me how to “play, pause, and skip forward” did I miss something? or did Apple miss something?

3. How do I plug this into my Aux in port in my car AND control it?

A friend of mine, a true audiophile makes another point: the antiquated voice simulator is a great way to wreck an otherwise fine listen.

Here are my thoughts on how to enchance the usability of this product.

The 1st upgrade is obvious: controls should end with 3,5 socket so that users could take advantage of their headphones. Let’s hope that either Apple or 3rd party manufacturers will do this. Well, proprietary sockets and headphones is a good way to make money, so we’ll leave this problem for other blogs to cover.

The 2nd upgrade is more complex.

To be truly voice-enabled this gadget should incorporate voice controls, not only voice feedback.
VoiceOver is OK, but 3 buttons limit the functionality severely.
“Shuffle’s target audience does not need functionality, it needs simplicity” – someone will say.
Yes and no. Yes, it needs to be simple. Advanced users have iPod classic and other cool players.
No, because even on the simplest player, I need to be able to control equalizer and, more importantly, navigate through my folders and playlists.

There’s not much to add to enable voice control.
1. Rebind the central button on the cord with “Enable Recognition”
2. Embed voice recognition with pre-defined commnads.

The thing is, now Shuffle is more usable as you can at least hear the name of the song.
But imagine, how cool it would be to say “skip ten minutes” to find your favorite place in the mix.
Or you could say “Road to Hell” to start this song.

In fact, you can stuff the shuffle with functions. The only question is usability. We can provide, say, 100 commands, that are natural for users.
“Equalizer Rock”
“What’s the bitrate”
“Folder Chillout”
“Volume Thirty”

Commands should be either simple or just close to natural communication. Then the Shuffle owner should read the manual once or twice and he will memorize most commands as all of them “ring a bell”.

Please fell free to share your thoughts on this idea.

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