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Apple Quietly Fixes iPod Shuffle No-Play Problem

The new utility corrects a flaw that prevented recent iTunes purchases from playing on first-generation iPod shuffles.

Apple Computer has updated a utility meant to be a last-ditch move by iPod shuffle users who recently bought tracks on iTunes but couldn't get the music to play.

The "iPod shuffle Reset Utility" version 1.0.1 is an upgrade from an October release that was designed to fix first-generation iPod shuffles that wouldn't play music, synchronize with the iTunes music store, or be recognized as legitimate USB devices by Windows or Mac OS X operating systems. That month, Apple tacitly acknowledged that an iTunes update caused the problems with some iPod shuffle players, and recommended that users upgrade to iTunes 7.0.2 and restore the player using the utility.

Although Apple was officially mum about the reason it updated the utility to 1.0.1, iPod shuffle users reported that it fixed a flaw that prevented the device from playing tracks bought on iTunes or caused it to skip purchased songs. "Just posting back to confirm that the [new] version works and resolves the problem I and everyone else had with the first generation shuffles skipping/not playing iTunes music store-purchased music," wrote a user identified as "iBook fan."

The iPod shuffle-iTunes problem first cropped up in November, according to a blog titled "The Unfriendly Shuffle."

"Around November 2006 something very annoying happened: most of the newest releases (from November to now) on the iTunes store, although working with iTunes, are not shuffle-compatible," an entry from last week read.

The first-generation iPod shuffle -- which was sold in 512 Mbyte- and 1 Gbyte-capacity models -- debuted nearly two years ago, but has been replaced by the much smaller 1 Gbyte clip-on second-generation shuffle.

The 1.0.1 version of the shuffle reset utility can be downloaded in versions for Windows or Mac from the Apple Web site.

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