When? Humane’s AI PIN launched last week, This sparked a whole new conversation about the elusive dream of creating a screen-less device. However, it was Apple that first attempted to venture into the realm of screen-less devices with the third-generation iPod Shuffle in 2009. Although Apple no longer sells the iPod Shuffle, that one device was a harbinger of what could potentially be. Futuristic user interface, which allows you to clip the tiny MP3 player to your shirt and control the music player through an innovative sound-and-remote interface.
The iPod Shuffle entered the market at a time when AppleThe Hip Music Player had already become a pop cultural phenomenon. iPod sales were skyrocketing, and Apple was a few years away from unveiling the iPhone. On January 11, 2005, minutes before Apple CEO Steve Jobs finished his Macworld speech at the Moscone Center, he addressed the packed audience for the first time by announcing the iPod Shuffle as “one more thing.” This device was different from the iPod we knew – it looked like a pack of Wrigley’s gum – no click wheel, no screen, no hard disk. One might wonder whether the Shuffle was even an iPod.
However, in Steve Jobs’ mind, the Shuffle was aimed at low-cost flash memory-based players, which not only provided a huge growth opportunity for Apple, but also served as an entry into the Apple ecosystem. The iPod Shuffle sold for $99 and $149, depending on storage configuration. While the Shuffle lacked a display to show which song was playing, it connected to iTunes software like the other iPods in the lineup. However, what stood out about Shuffle was its ability to play a set of music randomly, hence the name Shuffle.
While many thought the Shuffle would be a unique product for Apple, Jobs had something else in mind. Apple continued to release the iPod Shuffle beginning with its release, and the last significant update came out in 2010. The second generation iPod Shuffle was different from the first generation model. It was very small, and in fact, one could wear it via the small clip. To reduce the size and make it more compact, Apple had to bring in several design changes, such as removing the USB plug and replacing it with a dock that synced data through the headphone port. That iPod shuffle came in a lot of fun colors.
But in 2009, Apple surprised everyone with the introduction of the third generation iPod Shuffle. That model was not only the smallest iPod Shuffle but also the first buttonless iPod ever. It was 1.8 inches longer and 0.3 inches thinner, half the size of its predecessor, while offering more storage. The $79 third-generation model came without a display like other iPod Shuffles of the past, and had a premium design made of aluminum, but the physical controls were removed, replaced by the in-line controls of the bundled pair of earphones. Was done, with the exception of a small slider that lets you choose between playing the songs in order, shuffling, and turning it off.
From the beginning, the iPod focused entirely on the user interface. The first generation iPod featured a click wheel, which was a simple and streamlined way to control music. Looking back, the Click Wheel allowed users to use the iPod without looking at the screen. The click wheel was a deviation from the way devices were controlled at the time, and to some extent even now, which may have improved interfaces and used sophisticated touch screens, but when you interact with them Requires constant attention.
But like the original iPod, the third generation iPod Shuffle was quite the opposite – a successful device, but unfortunately, Apple didn’t get much credit. The third-generation iPod Shuffle brought a brand-new text-to-speech system to help users navigate their music, as well as a new remote control, which Apple embedded into the earbud cord. Essentially, Apple removed the controls from the iPod itself and moved them to the headphones’ remote. It was a different experience using the iPod Shuffle – it was a non-traditional way of how people were used to interacting with their iPods. Press it once to stop the music; twice to skip to the next track; three times to go to the last track; Press and hold to hear the artist and song title; Press and hold twice to fast forward; Press three times and hold to fast-reverse. On paper, putting all the controls on headphones might seem like a nightmare, but in reality, the interface was pretty intuitive.
But where the third-generation iPod Shuffle shone was its ability to be completely invisible in the way you control and interact with the music player. Apple introduced something called VoiceOver with that model, which allowed the iPod to read information about what’s playing, such as reading you the lyrics and artist name of the current song, and gave users the ability to choose different playlists. to do. All it took was a long press of the remote’s center button, and the Shuffle started reading the names of your playlists; Release it when you hear the one you want to select.
VoiceOver not only made the iPod Shuffle a more interesting product, but it also, in a way, compensated for the lack of a display to control playback. That being said, VoiceOver wasn’t a full replacement for what a display could do, and Apple understood this. The third generation Shuffle received a lackluster response, and the reason was quite obvious. Despite being a forward-looking device, the Shuffle was limited in features and functionalities; It was almost impossible to locate any particular song, and the device was not designed to sort all the songs in alphabetical order; Shuffle did not understand the concept of the album.
Sure, Apple was looking toward a button-less future with the iPod Shuffle, but there were a lot of complications. Many people found the third generation iPod shuffle confusing to use, and Apple published a 4-minute video tour walking users through the controls and features as a preventive measure. However, one thing that bothered many people about the third generation model was that there were no other headphones on the market that had playback controls on the remote that worked with the Shuffle.
Apple’s experiment with buttonless iPods ended with the fourth generation iPod Shuffle. The company caved in and put the buttons back on the iPod, though this time the combination of remote and VoiceOver actually worked.
A future screen-less device has been in the works for years, but it’s not easy to crack, as it comes with a number of caveats. Humane’s AI pin is taking the same direction as Apple did with the third-generation iPod shuffle. As history tells us, it’s still not easy to remove buttons and screens on devices.