Apple has released a third-generation iPod Shuffle, the smallest of its portable music devices. Among the new features is VoiceOver, a text-to-speech capability that can tell the listener the name of the song or artist, ability to navigate playlists, or hear status information such as battery life. According to Apple, the new iPod Shuffle is multi-lingual and can speak up to 14 languages.
VoiceOver is already found on the Mac OS X operating system as a built-in accessibility feature for the visually impaired. And in November 2008, VoiceOver was included in an update for iTunes. Because it doesn't include a visual screen or multi-touch technology, the Shuffle is a perfect candidate for speech services. But the fact that Apple is taking strides to highlight the speech capability for the iPod Shuffle underscores the value and form function for voice navigation on mobile devices.