MWSF: Flash-based iPod shuffle debuts

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Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday introduced iPod shuffle, the latest and smallest entry into Apple's iPod product line. The digital music player is Apple's first to use flash memory to store files on instead of a hard drive, and starts at US$99. The iPod shuffle uses no screen, but measures a scant 3.3 inches x 0.98 inches by 0.33 inches. It weighs .78 ounces.

The iPod shuffle's face sports a control pad interface reminiscent of the Click Wheel found on larger models, that lets users increase or decrease volume, fast-forward, play and pause their music. On the flip side is a three-position slider: Off, Play in order and Shuffle songs. A battery indicator light rests below it.

On the top of one end of the tiny iPod is a headphone jack and on the other is a cap -- removing the cap reveals a USB 2.0 port. The device holds a rechargeable battery that is good for up to 12 hours of play, according to Apple -- it takes roughly four hours to charge it completely, and has a standby time of one month when fully charged.

The iPod shuffle includes earbud headphones and a lanyard that enables users to wear the player around their neck. Apple also will introduce in the coming weeks a set of peripherals designed especially for the iPod shuffle, including a dock, armband, external battery pack and sport case -- each is priced at $29.

The 512MB iPod shuffle costs $99 and the 1GB iPod shuffle costs $149. Both are shipping beginning today.

This story, "MWSF: Flash-based iPod shuffle debuts" was originally published by PCWorld.

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