The long-awaited second-generation iPod shuffle has missed the October shipping date Apple originally promised for the product when it was revealed in September - but will ship by the end of the week, the company said today.

The tiny iPod shuffle will be available through Apple retail stores, the online Apple Store and Apple Authorised Resellers on 3 November.

It's half the size and the weight of the original - it's just half a cubic inch in volume and weighs half an ounce. Made of aluminium the 1GB music player lacks a screen, but does have a belt clip.

In an attempt to lay to rest expectations of more iPod goodness before Christmas, Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing explained: "The new iPod shuffle completes our all-new lineup of iPods for this holiday season and beyond, and we hope it's going to be a huge hit."

The funky little gadget features up to 12-hours of battery life on a fully charged new battery. It costs £55.