[3G iPod shuffle Teardown] Voice Guidance Function Examined [Part 2]

Apr 2, 2009
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad

Continued from [3G iPod shuffle Teardown] Much Smaller, Lighter than 2G (1).

The third-generation iPod shuffle is operated mainly by the remote control attached to a cable of the headphone. When the remote control is dangling from the headphone, sound volume can be increased by pressing the upper part of the remote and decreased by pressing the lower part.

A button positioned in the center of the remote can be pressed to either play or pause music. When quickly pressed twice, it plays the next music on the list. And the triple click plays the previous music.

When the button is pressed down for a few seconds, the iPod reads out the title and artist name of music. If it is kept pressed down until it bleeps, the names of playlists begin to be read out one by one. When the button is pressed while the name of a playlist is being read out, music on the list is played.


The remote control of the new iPod shuffle. The depressed area in the center can be pressed for playing back and pausing music and using the "VoiceOver" voice guidance function.

How did Apple realize the "VoiceOver" voice guidance function, which the company claims "talks to you." To use the function with the iPod shuffle, plug-in software called "VoiceOver Kit" has be added to the "iTunes," Apple's music manager application for PCs.


The voice guidance function becomes available by adding plug-in software called "VoiceOver Kit."

Audio data for the VoiceOver function is automatically created by VoiceOver Kit. We checked the "Tracks" folder when the iPod shuffle is connected to a PC, and found many audio files in WAV format.

When we played those audio files using a music player application on the PC, we could hear the same voice that was played by the iPod shuffle. It seems that the voice guidance function was realized by associating music, playlists and the audio files with one another and playing them in response to user operations.


The "Playlists" folder houses playlist files, and the "Tracks" folder stores the same number of audio files (in WAV format, for the voice guidance function) as that of music files. The size of the audio file is about 100 Kbytes.

After examining the functions of the iPod shuffle, we moved on to disassemble it.