iPod Shuffle...

Apple has released a new revision of its iPod Shuffle, and in a general sentiment against buttons that began with the iPod and its solitary button, the new iPod Shuffle has no buttons whatsoever. Just a switch.

Apple has unhelpfully put these controls on the headphone cable, so now, you have to use their proprietary headphones. They've also added a feature that Rockbox has had for some time -- sadly, not the ability to play Ogg -- no, instead, a recording of each song's artist and title will be read aloud, before each track.

These recordings, generated only by iTunes, further exclude iPod Shuffle usage from free software users and people who don't support DRM, who already cannot use iPods thanks to Apple's encryption of the database on their recent modules. Apple has already managed to get one project shut down for trying to figure out how this encryption works.

What can we do? Well, for one, we can refuse to buy this, and other iPod products... there are now many music players, especially in the cheap price range, that work beautifully with free software, including many Samsung and Sansa products that play Ogg Vorbis too. Always be sure to check out the product you're going to buy first, and let us know how you get on.

You can also help by tagging the iPod shuffle on Amazon — the new models are not yet listed, but the old ones can still be tagged...

Boing Boing also has some information on the authentication chip in the new headphones.