Got the word last night from Apple thatShufflito 1.5 has been approved and should be available on the App Store today.

I’ve decided to make the app free for a week to celebrate the release.  I’ve found that everyone I talk to who is using Shufflito digs it so I think the reason I’m not seeing more sales has to do with exposure.  By making the app free for a bit I’m hoping to get it in the hands of more people who will love it and spread the word.  We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime if you’ve been wanting to check it out now’s the time, it goes back up to regular price on 10/20/2009.

This release brings “background mode” by using the general iPodMusicPlayer instead of an application-specific one; this lets the music continue to play if you exit the app.  Of course, if you never come back, Shufflito can’t update its list of “played songs”, but I decided the convenience of being able to exit the app (to read an email, etc.) outweighed this downside.  I imagine a typical scenario where someone’s listening to Shufflito, gets an email/call/etc., check it and then comes back to the app and in this scenario, as long as an entire song hasn’t elapsed, everything works just fine.

As I implied above we also now try to continue playing the music if you’re already listening to something when you start Shufflito.  There is a brief “pause” as the app starts up, but it then resumes right where you left off (unless it’s a song that’s already been played, in which case it’s skipped).

A few other cool things come along for the ride when you use iPodMusicPlayer, the fact that the album art is now displayed in the “Locked” screen and the headphone remote control now works more as expected.

I modified the default “headphone unplugged” behavior which in the first version was essentially ignored (the music continued to play).  In this release, the music is paused (just like the standard iPod app), and resumes when the album art is tapped in the app or some other “resume” signal is received (from the headphone remote, for example).

On of the most requested features was the ability to “go back” to a song that was skipped by accident.  I struggled with this because I couldn’t find a way to incorporate this into the UI that I liked.  Then it dawned on me that the best way to add it to the UI was, as Tow Mater would say, “ta not to”.  Instead of adding something to the screen, I used the “shake” action (which has become a standard “undo” action since iPhone OS 2.0) to skip backward in the list.  Of course I didn’t like the sensitivity of the “built-in” shake event so I rolled my own using data from the accelerometer (which I was familiar with from working on Horsepower).  Since Shufflito is used on-the-go I didn’t want it “un-skipping” when your car hits a bump or you step off a curb.  I’m still playing with this number and may change it in a later version, or if I ever decide to add some “settings” to the app maybe I’ll make it configurable…still not sure.

The one often requested item that is not in this release is the ability to narrow Shufflito to a specific playlist.  I’m on the fence about this; personally I don’t think it fits the “purpose” of the app but I’ve had enough requests for this feature that its usefulness is undeniable.  I’ve been playing with various ways to implement the feature and haven’t found one that I “love” yet, so I’ll keep looking.  In the meantime, if you think this is an important feature keep letting me know and perhaps that will motivate me to look harder for an elegant solution.

Thanks again to everyone who’s using Shufflito and providing feedback.  I can’t stress enough how valuable the emails,forum posts and App Store reviews are to helping me decide what gets fixed, what goes in and what stays out.

…and as always you can get the latest news by following Shufflito on Twitter!