“Secrets” of the 4G iPod | iLounge Article


“Secrets” of the 4G iPod

The following feature is an expanded version of an iLounge-exclusive story that first appeared last week in Backstage.ilounge.com, our behind-the-scenes page for upcoming site content.

Spy novels and other fiction aside, rarely will a cryptic phrase or sentence accurately foreshadow a big surprise to come. More often than not, someone’s innocuous words are taken out of context by listeners or readers and spun into grand fantasies, which only later are deflated by far less impressive announcements - or none at all.

But in recent months, Apple executives have been teasing the world with little word games, inspiring fans and journalists alike to speculate on the secretive company’s future plans for fourth-generation iPods. In June, CEO Steve Jobs publicly hinted that Apple was working to drop iPod prices, but wouldn’t say more. Then in mid-July, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer so quickly and obliquely mentioned plans for a “higher mix of iPods

« Printing CD Covers and Lists in iTunes

Industry reactions to the 4G iPod »

Related Stories



Phenomenal article, Jeremy… Get this out!!—the speculation sparked by TIME is nauseating.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on July 30, 2004 at 3:53 PM (CDT)


As always, thanks Jerrod… feel free to spread the word that it’s up in this form now. :-)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on July 30, 2004 at 4:02 PM (CDT)


When you say you haven’t found an antenna inside… is it possible the metal case or headphone wires could be used as an antenna?

Is it possible there is a communication aspect—walkie talkie rather than cell phone?

Posted by Icarus on July 30, 2004 at 4:25 PM (CDT)


er…icarus, you’re really reaching…why is it people can’t believe that the 4g just might not have any “awesome” hidden features.  honestly…

Posted by stu on July 30, 2004 at 5:06 PM (CDT)


Who said Iw asn’t reaching? lol

It was just a guess. No harm in that is there?

Posted by Icarus on July 30, 2004 at 5:12 PM (CDT)


no harm at all, actually.  i just get tired of ppl going on and on about the 4g “awesome secret” features, when, in all likelihood, those features, if they exist at all, won’t be that fantastic at all.

Posted by stu on July 30, 2004 at 5:15 PM (CDT)


The last Ipod generation had an awsome hidden feature though.. that line-out plug.

That was really exciting when it as discovered. For me at least.

Posted by Icarus on July 30, 2004 at 5:19 PM (CDT)


yay! an article that makes sense! the author is gonna be crying when it really is cell phone! jk ;)

Posted by udir on July 30, 2004 at 5:20 PM (CDT)


very good article jeremy!  keep up the good work!  im gettin to like this backstage section ;)

Posted by jperry on July 30, 2004 at 5:24 PM (CDT)


I got the belkin adapter a while back for the 3g, it was terrible… It did what it said it would do, but the transfer rate between the reader and the ipod is extremely slow it took about 25+ min. to transfer a 512 card.  the batteries in the thing dont last very long either.

maximum possible transfer rate is 650KBps thats not fast….

great idea, but poor execution.


Posted by tmo on July 30, 2004 at 8:32 PM (CDT)


“is it possible the metal case or headphone wires could be used as an antenna?”

Headphone wires can be used as antennas. An excellent example is this is in the iRiver players. (Not trying to get into the iRiver/iPod debate or lack of, just pointing out that thats a good place to see it being used.)

Posted by 123 on July 30, 2004 at 8:45 PM (CDT)


Headphone wires as antennas wouldn’t be a great idea if the point of a wireless iPod would be… to avoid wires (and headphones). But for FM reception (as for iRiver), they make more sense.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on July 30, 2004 at 9:26 PM (CDT)


Another excellent Backstage article!

Posted by raincoast in Nanaimo BC on July 30, 2004 at 9:35 PM (CDT)


yep, loving this new backstage section. Very interesting article. and by the way, I may well get a belkin media reader if I get a digital SLR

Posted by mags on July 31, 2004 at 1:22 AM (CDT)


Great article.  While I don’t think there’s a hidden colour screen or support for Ogg, I do think it’s possible that Apple might release a WiFi *adaptor* for the 4G iPod.  This adaptor might even have it’s own rechargeable battery, given the iPod’s own battery issues.

The other option could be a proper media reader (the Belkin one just doesn’t cut it).

Posted by Michael JS on July 31, 2004 at 4:07 AM (CDT)


Another thing to consider is that the diagnostics on the 4G suggest that the headphone jack is a hybrid analog/optical jack, like on the Airport Express. Now I don’t really see how this will change a lot - you might get slightly better quality sound out of headphones - but is it possible that this is to allow for a Bluetooth adapter for wireless headphones?

As for a WiFi adapter, that’s my bet too - I’ve been streaming music from my iBook to my stereo via an Airport Express and it’s quite liberating. I’d really like to be able to do the same thing with my iPod; that would make it not only a repository of music, but also a remote control.

Posted by Kirk McElhearn on July 31, 2004 at 4:29 AM (CDT)


<As for a WiFi adapter, that’s my bet too - I’ve been streaming music from my iBook to my stereo via an Airport Express and it’s quite liberating. I’d really like to be able to do the same thing with my iPod; that would make it not only a repository of music, but also a remote control.>

In the mean time you can use an itrip (or any other radio transmitter for the ipod) to do the same thing. I use the itrip to broadcast to my stereo radio at work (also to the radio in my car).

Posted by David K on July 31, 2004 at 9:36 AM (CDT)


i found the itrip to be very poor. AirPort Express is fantastic though, i’ve been having a lot of fun with that. If there were to be an add-on that would allow me to stream the music on my iPod to my AirPort Express i’d definitely get one.

Posted by MusicMan on August 1, 2004 at 4:12 AM (CDT)


Why can’t anyone fiqure outhow to input information similar to data entry on gps devices?

Posted by Daniel on August 1, 2004 at 5:44 PM (CDT)


some of the things you guys want can already be done with current ipods, it just takes some imagination….

iPod remote control

Posted by Robert on August 1, 2004 at 10:01 PM (CDT)



Line out

Posted by Robert on August 1, 2004 at 10:09 PM (CDT)


having the poor iPod be responsible for so many functions is too much to ask.  some of the things we want to do can be accomplished by other devices that we already own

bluetooth phone for iTunes remote

Posted by Robert on August 1, 2004 at 10:14 PM (CDT)


oops… here

iTunes remote

Posted by Robert on August 1, 2004 at 10:15 PM (CDT)


hey where is my link going???

anyway what i meant to post was the link to Salling Clicker software

Posted by Robert on August 1, 2004 at 10:17 PM (CDT)



Good article as I agree that it’s fun to speculate but don’t get your hopes up too high.

Also, are you sure Apple used the PortalPlayer 5020 instead of the 5003, as some of the features of the 5003 seem to fit better with what we’ve seen in the iPod?  Did you see the 5020 in your dissection or have a link/source for the 5020-in-iPod?

And why have a photo dock for media instead of a fully functioning USB port that can connect and download directly from cameras/camcorders?

Since we’re in speculation mode, Apple may activate some of these secrets when it releases the 60GB iPod xxx.  This may happen soon after MS launches its store, so as to steal the spotlight back as quickly as possible.

Posted by kev on August 2, 2004 at 8:38 AM (CDT)


I got the Belkin Media Reader as well.  It could be faster but worked great for me.  Recently went on vacation and I had to empty my memory cards everyday!
I wouldn’t have made it without the media reader.

Posted by Jojo on August 2, 2004 at 8:41 AM (CDT)


I think one possible feature, is the ability to do something with Airport Express. It has a USB plug built in, and Apple just happend to start shipping USB cables with iPods and iPod minis. I think you’ll be able to do something with that, aside from just charging your pod. I mean, you could use the pod as a remote for your streaming music, or many other things…

Posted by jason on August 2, 2004 at 9:02 AM (CDT)


I really hope it does support toslink through the miniplug like sony md players. Then we would have digital to digital connection when hooking ipod you your sterio.

Posted by ?? on August 2, 2004 at 10:32 AM (CDT)


I think the real “hidden feature” of the 4G iPod is ‘Home-on-iPod’. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if the upcoming G5 iMac sports an internal iPod docking station the make this feature easier than messing around with cables. The capability hasn’t been found by 4G iPod excavators since it’s all in OS X software.

At the G5 iMac launch, expect Duke University to announce a massive purchase of iMacs to go with the Freshman iPod giveaway. Student mobility indeed.

Posted by Pegges on August 2, 2004 at 12:30 PM (CDT)


I have it on good authority that the “secret feature” of the 4G iPod is a fully functional version of Real Networks’ RealPlayer.  Says Apple’s Steve Jobs, “Our customers have been demanding poor quality, stuttering video, and audio that sounds more like a mono AM-radio. We found that RealPlayer can supply that, in fact they’ve been doing it for years.”  As an added bonus, iPod users will now have access to Real’s “one-way” billing system which makes it extremely convenient to sign up for Real’s content offerings, but nearly impossible to cancel. Says Jobs, “Apple customers enjoy a challenge, so we think we’re doing our customers a favor by exposing them to Real’s arcane, borderline fraudulent billing practices. In fact we’re going to make it a contest—figure out how to cancel your Real One Pass and get a free iPod Mini.”  Say’s Reals chairman Bob Glaser, “We’ve been ripping off customers with monthly charges for meager, poor quality content for years, and we view this new deal with Apple as a way to spread these practices to a whole new crop of consumers.”

Posted by Bruce on August 2, 2004 at 3:19 PM (CDT)


Hey Bruce, that’s awesome - I’m hanging out to find RealPlayer on there somewhere ... and the monthly charges are just the icing on the cake

Posted by Lachlan on August 2, 2004 at 5:32 PM (CDT)


I have the Belkin Camera Link and I love it.  This year we took the Digital camera to Australia and I brought the iPod instead of the iBook.  I had more free HD space on the iPod than what’s left on the iBook and it fit into my camera bag.  I connected at home when we returned and downloaded all my photos.  It was too easy and compared to lugging the iBook all over the world, its “no worries”.

Posted by Kort on August 3, 2004 at 10:40 AM (CDT)


It’s a friggin’ digi cam attachment!  ok, just a guess, but wouldn’t it be nice?

Posted by Ian on August 4, 2004 at 1:18 PM (CDT)


Jeremy—I was on the edge of my seat for about 6 hours when you posted that the “new feature” report would go up soon, not that I have a 4G or anything.  (I really wasn’t on the edge of my seat, I was actually working my rear off at work…but whatever.)

So, the article didn’t really tell us anything more than we already knew?  Or, did it, and did I just miss it?  I am kind of slow sometimes, and don’t always read between the lines.

Looking forward to the next article.  It’s good reading.  Again, I thank you for not posting rumors on your site.  You know, it really makes people look stupid when they say that, “there will be three new colors of the 60GB iPod Mini look-alike iPod.”  It’s always fun to speculate, but we always have to be real.  Why would Apple release something like the iPod with a hidden color screen, anyway.  Yeah, it would be nice, but that’s an important enough feature, that one would think they would want to market it…not hide it.

Posted by bikepodmini on August 4, 2004 at 3:38 PM (CDT)


My personal opinion maybe apple wants to put a camera on the ipod to set it apart from the new sonys. This would definitley be a huge feature.

Posted by Eman880 on August 4, 2004 at 4:22 PM (CDT)


Is there a possibility that the Chips insides Ipod 4G can support reception of FM Radio??

Posted by Bribb6 in Hong Kong on August 4, 2004 at 9:33 PM (CDT)


What about the secret all-wheel-drive discussed with the click wheel? lol

Posted by Jay Kay on August 4, 2004 at 11:09 PM (CDT)


The possibility to make the whole screen blue, is just for dead-pixel diag. It’s a standard procedure on most LCD devices. So I won’t think much of that ;-)

I think the best that can happen with the 4G is some new add-ons wich use some of the new chip-features. Maybe Apple will come with that photodock.

The thing I miss on iPods is what Erman880 just said: FM radio. Most mp3-devices can receive FM radio and record it directly to compressed formats. But I dont expect that feature to be hidden deep inside the 4G.

Posted by Nick on August 5, 2004 at 5:00 AM (CDT)


Brilliant article. No hype — just plain commonsense.
As an iPod newbie I enjoy the speculation but am not really bothered about new features.
The iPod does what it does and does it brilliantly. Why the hell would I want it to do anything else?
Sometimes the best inventions can be destroyed by trying to load on too many features.
I’ve got a mobile phone that can do 101 things — but I only use it to make calls.
Apple should just concentrate on battery life and interface improvements.

Posted by Jon Myles on August 5, 2004 at 7:35 AM (CDT)


I just want that fully adjustable EQ. I was so close to buying a Rio Karma and decided on the 4G iPod because of the price drop, battery life improvement, iTunes, and quality of the player. The only thing that made me pause is the lack of that parametric EQ the Karma’s got.

I’m a first time iPod owner. I love it but, Apple, please give me my adjustable EQ!

Posted by Beth on August 5, 2004 at 7:42 AM (CDT)


Three words: Digital-Graphic-Equalizer.  That’s all I want. period.  I could care less about wi-fi, color screens, nor the ability to remotely flush my toilet, etc. Even the first mp3 player I owned (compaq PA-1) at the very least had seperate bass and treble controls.  IMO, Apple is well behind the curve in implementing something so basic as a customized EQ.

Posted by -JCS on August 5, 2004 at 8:24 AM (CDT)


i enjoyed this article quite a bit.  don’t kill me but i am a first time iPoder ... i just bought a 4G ipod [40 GB] and it should be coming in the mail anyday now. it’s funny to read all of the speculation all over in regards to secret features. I’m just excited to get a damn iPod! I’ve waited too long for this. :)

Posted by tina on August 5, 2004 at 9:08 AM (CDT)


Forget about “improving” the 4. Gen IPOD itself and start thinking about a docking station providing WLAN, Bluetooth, real high-end line out i.e. digital, remote functions, TV out (showing tracks on your TV) etc



Posted by Tom on August 5, 2004 at 9:42 AM (CDT)


great article, ipod always has a way of almost forcing you to buy their new stuff :-D

Posted by einars on August 5, 2004 at 10:07 AM (CDT)


Tom - that’s it!

It certainly fits - Apple stops including the dock with the entry level iPod (the 20 GB - the one most people are gonna go for, lets face it) because they’re going to introduce an uber-dock!

IMO it wouldn’t even take apple to make this. I’d say Griifn are up to maing a Bluetooth/WiFi dock that also supports Firewire to replace our old stock dock (hehe)


Posted by Nick on August 5, 2004 at 10:28 AM (CDT)


won’t a radio remote be the easiest but most revolutionary addon?

Posted by dj on August 5, 2004 at 10:29 AM (CDT)


sorry -  spelling mistakes. i just came out of an all-nighter :)

I’d say GRIFFIN are up to MAKING the uber-dock

Posted by Nick on August 5, 2004 at 10:31 AM (CDT)


Perhaps the ‘secrets’ may well be unlocked with a new remote (seeing how no remote currently ships with either the 20 or 40 gb 4G ipods) - perhaps something in the form of an FM radio? (unlikely I think - as it really wouldn’t fit with the apple focus on itunes + itunes store). 
As a musician who works from a home studio - personally I would love some form of reasonable-quality line/digi recording.  This would turn the ipod into a great tool for capturing those late night noodling/experimenting/jamming sessions ready as either an AIFF or WAV to dump immediately via firewire back into my computer ready for editing. (beats having a tape m/c running in the b/g!)

Posted by bill on August 5, 2004 at 12:19 PM (CDT)


there’s currently no word on how itunes playback/streaming might be controlled via airport express - perhaps any ipod ‘secrets’ will somehow tie-in with the airport express and/or itunes remote control…?

Posted by fnar fnar doh on August 5, 2004 at 12:22 PM (CDT)


Disapointed. I thought you had some real news of the secret features.

I don’t believe in the Photo dock you are guessing at.

Posted by sparks9 on August 5, 2004 at 1:06 PM (CDT)


Good Article, but i dont think i would want a cruddy 256 colour screen, it would make it tacky.
New features would be nice, but im just happy with 13hrs of juice from my 4g, and a oerfect little scroll wheel :D

Posted by Rich on August 5, 2004 at 2:23 PM (CDT)


Except that there’s no way to get the screen to show both blue and black at the same time.

Not true.  Push Select twice during playback to bring up the track rating display.  On my 40GB 4G, the dots are solid black and the stars are mostly blue but with a few black pixels (at the top and bottom tips and inside the “elbows”) to produce a pseudo-“anti-aliasing” effect. 

There’s not enough contrast between the two colors to make it useful as a greyscale display, but it can definitely show both colors on the screen at the same time.  If others can’t see it, I’ll try to take a few photos.

Posted by Ernie Longmire on August 5, 2004 at 2:51 PM (CDT)


Another Speculation:

Apple sold Earphones with noise cancellation!

The combination of more cpu processing ability, and the microphone in support make this a moderate possibility.

The earphones would be just like current ones (in or out of ear canal), but would have at least one built in microphone.  Processing inside the Ipod would do the noise processing and add a cancelling signal into the sound going out to the earphone.  This would have the following advantages:

A) No separate pod for noise cancelling phones like todays solution
B) No power issues (battery and switch) like today’s solutions
C) Better sound separation, like todays noise cancelling phones.

This strategy fits really well with making the IPOD the premier sound device, by making sound quality better!  It would add no bulky docks or adapters.

Lastly, it could also be configured to do voice overlay.  You could listen to you IPOD at moderate volumes, and outside sound would be “piped” into the earphones, so you can hear what is going on around you.  This would improve socialization issues as well as safety.  It might even have the compute power to “detect” the voice band and handle that differently than noise sources like jet engines.

Of course voice recording would go with that hardware, but it is not clear that this feature is all that universal, and that high quality recording would not encourage music theft.  So I don’t expect recording.

Of course the article is right, no one should hold there breath.

P.S. I read some complaints about the audio out connector having static with some headphones.  This is consistent with that jack doing more than basic audio out.

Posted by Mark Isfeld on August 5, 2004 at 3:11 PM (CDT)


As someone that is getting a 4g on Monday the one thing I would want (and please correct me if I am reading the manual wrong) is an easier way to get files onto the Ipod.  My 1.5g Iriver IGP100 shows up as an external hard drive when connected to a PC and you just copy files over to it.

I don’t have to have the tags cleaned up and perfect and it fits with the way I keep my music (Artist-Album).  To listen all I have to do is select the folder or the song I want to hear.

Posted by Felix T Cat on August 5, 2004 at 3:36 PM (CDT)


Is there a toslink emitter at the base of the headpone Jack ala AirportExpress?

Posted by Mike on August 5, 2004 at 8:42 PM (CDT)


Is there a toslink emitter at the base of the headpone Jack ala AirportExpress?

Posted by Mike on August 5, 2004 at 8:46 PM (CDT)


Felix T Cat you have to use software, if you just drag and drop it won’t play on the iPod.  While you are waiting I would advise loading all of your music into iTunes or Ephpod so when your iPod arrives you are just one quick sync away from all your music at your fingertips!

Posted by Snowy in Australia on August 6, 2004 at 1:19 AM (CDT)


any chance of a802.11g attachment being the secret, to stream to airport express.

Posted by blairy on August 6, 2004 at 2:40 AM (CDT)


Mike, Thanks for the feedback.  The problem is that I have more then 40gig of music ripped and it’s on a “music server”, not my daily PC.  I could install Itunes on that machine but god forbid Itunes “syncs” and deletes stuff on it’s own.

Posted by Felix T Cat on August 6, 2004 at 6:19 AM (CDT)


Excellent, rationally-argued article Jeremy. But while we’re doing wish lists ;-) there are a couple of simple-ish things:

1. A Photo adaptor that’s just a cable, not a battery-powered box the size of another iPod.

2. Airport Express with a FW port and Rendezvous mounting on the iPod so I can sync and play my iPod wirelessly by plugging the dock into the Express.

Posted by Robert Sharl on August 6, 2004 at 1:29 PM (CDT)


Yes. My 4G 40GB Ipod DO display BLUE and BLACK at the same time.

Posted by Seper in Brazil on August 7, 2004 at 4:11 PM (CDT)



Posted by 00 on August 7, 2004 at 4:58 PM (CDT)


I can get the same blue screen on my 3G iPod. Follow the link for pics.


These are real pics…if you like, I can post a video as well.

Posted by Tom on August 7, 2004 at 5:43 PM (CDT)




Posted by Tom on August 7, 2004 at 5:45 PM (CDT)


Hi I just tried the diagnostics mode with my 4G iPod. After a while the screen became so dim it was unreadable. With some difficulty I was able to exit the diag menu (couldn’t read the screen becasues of the faded menu) and everything was back to normal. Am I doing something wrong? It became dim after doing the contrast test (never had this problem on my 2G 20GB)

Posted by oplex on August 8, 2004 at 6:10 AM (CDT)


When I do a contrast test with my new 4G, it does all these tests but I can’t seem to exit the test. It loops and at the end it shows the menu but when i press buttons the numbers at the bottom move H0 H1 H2 and on the right L1 L2 etc… What does all this mean? And also at times I get PWM and the number is ~240 (which I can change). Did i just mess smth up?

Posted by oplex on August 8, 2004 at 6:20 AM (CDT)


Wow. The Apple P.R. machine is really working hard! ipoding.com did a disection of the 4G iPod long ago and there is no hardware in there to support anything truly revolutionary. The are two possible scenarios that can come from Cupertino.

1. Firmware upgrade for the new 4G iPod and introduction of 3rd party or Apple hardware (read not hardware allready inside the iPod) make it into some sort of a movie/photo player for your TV.

2. These iPods will do nothing of the sort and the only innovation for the current generation that we will see will be in the forthcoming 60GB version. It has the space for extra media like photos or movies and its the only 4G iPod that we can truly speculate about since we have not seen its hardware.

Posted by Phil on August 8, 2004 at 11:44 AM (CDT)


I’m sorry to ruin the speculation for everyone, but the real secret feature is that when the g5 iMac is released, mind controlling slugs will come out of the click wheels of all of the 4g iPod and invade the brains of all of them, creating an army of zombies to destroy Bill Gates.

In seriousness….. I think the thing im looking for in the future is more of a selection of wireless accessories, imagine having your iPod, a remote, and the earbuds- but with no cords at all, how slick would that be?!?!

Posted by alex Nelson on August 8, 2004 at 2:52 PM (CDT)


I like wires.. imagine having only ear buds with no wires.. and ure walking down the street and accidently walk in to someone and one of the buds fall out? i dont want to put that back into my ear quite yet…

Posted by gobugi in Toronto, ON on August 8, 2004 at 6:29 PM (CDT)


Anyone notice that if you look at the seconds ticking by on the 4G clock there is a very serious stutter once every 10 seconds or so?

Posted by David on August 8, 2004 at 6:43 PM (CDT)


I noticed something interesting while playing a song.  With the backlight feature activated, I tapped on the Selcet button twice and the “My Ratings” dots appeared in a light orage color.  There were two colors: blue text and orange dots.  How is this possible?

Posted by Steve on August 8, 2004 at 10:25 PM (CDT)


Heh, that blue pixel thing is funny as hell. I came accross a little program a while back that would make a TI-83 series screen turn blue. It’s not a big deal, just something that simple LCD screens have in common, I’d guess.

Posted by Franklin Rivers on August 9, 2004 at 10:46 AM (CDT)


You know, there’s one reason I still think the photo display option seems very possible, and that reason is HP. HP is waiting till September to unveil their blue iPods (or so they say), and I wonder if Apple is holding that feature back to show off at their announcement? Steve always has special guests showing off cool features at keynotes, so why can’t Fiorina?

It fits perfectly with HP’s products too, because HP is big with cameras and printers that don’t require a computer, and their cameras and docks allow you to watch slideshows on your computer or print them directly from dock and/or camera. However, they don’t have the capability to play music with their slideshows (their slideshows can include videos though) and now maybe you can show simple slideshow with music.

Posted by Jeff on August 9, 2004 at 1:19 PM (CDT)


And let me correct my mistake: “their cameras and docks allow you to watch slideshows on your computer” should read “on your television”.

Posted by Jeff on August 9, 2004 at 1:20 PM (CDT)


The other day i was pressing the center button quite fast and i saw a red line shoot down the middle of my screen.

Posted by v212live on August 9, 2004 at 7:45 PM (CDT)


I was looking at buying an iPod but:

The reviews of the Belkin camera thingie were awful; I can download a 64Mb SM to my crappy Archos in 50 seconds while standing in a London tube station- and view it on the built-in screen; 15 minutes to download a camera card? Give head shake! Then the Apple Store guy told me it didn’t work with 4G and the new one wasn’t available yet.

I have a 2000BMW with a recently replaced new radio - nobody could tell me if the iPod connection would work. Is it radio firmware or wiring harness that matters?

I like being able to use my Archos as a external hard disk drive - no special drivers needed; just copy MP3’s to it. Why can’t Apple be that simple? Need to load programs. Let’s say I’m on the road and want to reload my 256Mb MP3 player from the iPod? (I dislike jogging with a hard drive unit)  Can I do it at any old internet cafe? No.

I haven’t even bothered downloading my freeBig Mac songs because (after 37Mb download ofsoftware)it hardly seems worth the hassle. Anyway, I’d have to write them to cdrw and rip them as MP3 to use them. Would Itunes Store be any diferent?

I have 4 computers at home - 7 if you count the old ones in closets. Plus my work laptop. I have to connet it to one particular machine??? I can’ consider it another backup of my library? Pretty sad.

Sorry. Apple just is too secretive and anal retentitve for me. All my music is plain MP3 and I don’t see that changing. I don’t want to jump through hoops, just to satisfy some Asperger-infected engineer’s pattern-dependent obsessions of “do things my way”.

Posted by MD on August 10, 2004 at 8:14 AM (CDT)



What’s the point of a iPod to digital camera “dock”? The whole point of camera downloads is to substitute for taking your laptop on the road. If the device is any larger than a standard USB reader for your PC, then it’s too clunky for the market it’s trying to serve. If it needs North American power (or a power plug at all, or 4 big batteries) it’s not for the people who need this feature.

Max. Size - about half the size of the iPod itself, no extra batteries. After all, how much juice does a memory card need??

If Apple didn’t allow for this functionality (or the possiblity of this functionality) in firmware, then they missed the boat.

I don’t understand why they couldn’t have an inverting “slave to slave” USB or Firewire cable with special card readers. Run a particular program from the firmware, and it would act as a USB/FW master and read memory cards to any standard card reader. After all, Windows 98 (!!??) can recognize and use card readers on USB.

Posted by MD on August 10, 2004 at 8:26 AM (CDT)


you know, it is possible that apple is just making up the “secrets” to both bolster popularity and to give people incentive to buy the 4g ipod. i highly doubt that there is more to the ipod than meets the eye.

sorry to be the voice of reason.

Posted by jopari on August 10, 2004 at 9:04 AM (CDT)


HELP! I just got my new ipod last night, I’m installing the software and everything is going good but then a message appears “Please plug in your iPod so that it can be configured” I press “ok” put it doesn’t do anything and the message is still there. It charges through USB 2.0 but the computer wont recognize it. I’m running Windows XP home adition and if you could help I would really be gratefull.

Posted by James on August 10, 2004 at 12:56 PM (CDT)


Ditto on wanting user-controlled Equalizer. I don’t even care if you can adjust/save presets on the iPod, just make the iPod synch the ones I’ve created in iTunes!

My headphones needs a little adjustment to sound their best. Most do, I’m sure, and the built-in presets aren’t ideal. Sometimes a noisy listening place calls for adjustment too.

Plus, the built-in presents in iPod/iTunes don’t lower the pre-amp—and that means nasty clipping that even MY ears can pick up. (OK, that’s true of iTunes… I’m not 100% sure iPod shares the problem. Luckily, in iTunes I can lower the pre-amp myself.)

Posted by Nagromme on August 11, 2004 at 1:00 AM (CDT)


An fm option would be a *neat* addition, but honestly why would you want to listen to the radio when you have all the songs you want with you. Personally i never listen to the radio because there’s no good music on it anyways, about the only thing i can see people using it for would be traffic/news reports etc.

A semi realistic feature i’m hoping for is quality recording. My buddy always takes his ipod recorder to concerts with us but it always yeilds pitiful results. It would be great to actually make a quality concert bootleg to listen to over and over again.

Homebrew apps on the ipod would be the coolest thing ever, but i highly doubt this will ever happen as ipod is far to controlling.

Posted by Skyler on August 11, 2004 at 3:01 PM (CDT)



iPod chipmaker plans stock offering and here’s what the’ve got to say about their chip

“PortalPlayer also describes the functions of its chips in the filing—a list of features Apple could choose to add to the iPod without having to change chip suppliers. Among the technologies PortalPlayer said it supports are Bluetooth and Ethernet networking as well as the ability to create and play photo slide shows that are synchronized to music. “

“The company’s most advanced chip, the PP5020 supports both color LCD displays as well as output to a TV or printer and a connection directly to a digital camera. The company did not list a chip that supports video playback, though it sees that as one direction in which the market appears to be headed. Apple has indicated that it does not see as big a market for portable video-playing devices, noting that music is something that one can enjoy in the background, while movie watching is a more dedicated activity”


Posted by HcSi on August 11, 2004 at 11:33 PM (CDT)


This is nonsense.  Trust me, if Apple had put hidden features it your iPod, they would have charged you more than the fat wad of cash you already payed.  Let’s break it down:

1.  The screen turns blue.

Guess what, its the backlight that does that and not the GRAYSCALE lcd. 

Note: Key word in the previous sentence was GRAYSCALE.

2.  Hidden wireless capability.

Who would want that, it would be a$$ slow to transfer songs wirelessly.  Unless of course they put OS X on the ipod and let you surf the web with that 4-shade grayscale screen.  One word:  no.

3.  The chips inside the iPod have additionally functionality.

That’s great.  You know what that’s called, it’s called saving a buck.  Rather than hire a company to custom fab chips for the iPod, Apple bought pre-existing chips and had the unwanted functions disabled through the firmware. 

4.  There’s hidden OGG Vorbis support.

Apple would put quicktime audio format on the iPod before they would let an open source format on there.

I don’t know where the idea of hidden functionality derived from, but Apple can barely fit what they need into the iPod in order for it to play mp3s.  Use your iPod to listen to music, that’s what it’s for.

Posted by Dr. Jerkberg on August 12, 2004 at 1:01 AM (CDT)


I somewhat agree with Dr. Jerkberg.  It seems that the backlight is responsible for the slight blue tint you may see in the photos.  Also, what you said about the chips sounds like good logic to an extent…but why would apple waist the time for “hidden features” in the first place?  Sounds like a bunch of…....sale schemes.  This all reminds me of “Paul is dead”, you know, play I am the walrus backwards (I do believe it is ‘I am the walrus’).


Posted by Noxnoctis on August 12, 2004 at 2:34 AM (CDT)



Santa Clara, Calif.-based PortalPlayer filed registration papers last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the first step toward an initial public offering. The overwhelming majority of its business comes from the iPod, with roughly 85 percent of last year’s sales stemming from the iPod.

PortalPlayer also describes the functions of its chips in the filing—a list of features Apple could choose to add to the iPod without having to change chip suppliers. Among the technologies PortalPlayer said it supports are Bluetooth and Ethernet networking as well as the ability to create and play photo slide shows that are synchronized to music.

Nice :)

Posted by Koen on August 12, 2004 at 2:59 AM (CDT)


Having Wi-Fi or Bluetooth docking would be an great feature in the next Pod. However, these are two more technologies that work very well with the Mac. Apple would be alienating Windows users (which make up a huge part of the install base) because of user-unfriendliness of using these technologies. Until Wi-Fi and Bluetooth become the same type of defacto standards that USB and ethernet are today in ALL destop computers, I don’t see Apple bothering to include support. The only reason they added USB support to the new ones was to keep Windows users happy.

Posted by mdstickfigure on August 12, 2004 at 11:28 AM (CDT)


As a brief addendum to this piece, we currently have reason to believe that FM radio input passthrough may also be possible with the 4G iPod. It’s also worth noting that the graphic equalizer abilities of the unit are most likely limited to three-band, non-parametric settings that will not radically change the perceived audio quality of the iPod’s output. Keep your eyes (and ears) open for further updates.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on August 12, 2004 at 11:23 PM (CDT)


nah, you’re all wrong!
4g ipod not only has secret colour screen but silver panel on back heats up so you can cook toast & re-heat your coffee.

Posted by iggy on August 13, 2004 at 6:00 AM (CDT)


I think the secret features will be unlocked on certain predetermined date that apple has set up in the firmware. One day you just boot up your Ipod and it will display as a screen saver a color picture of Steve Jobs with god like appearance.


Posted by guest777 on August 13, 2004 at 2:47 PM (CDT)


I didn’t want anything added to my iPod.  I love it just as it is.  Then, today I set up an airport express, with the digital connection to my stereo.  The sould quality coming off my powerbook is fantastic!  Now, I want a wifi add-on for the iPod, so it can stream to the airport express instead.  It would turn the iPod into both the programming source AND the portable remote control for audio streaming to the stereo via airport express.

Can’s wait!


Posted by Bubbler on August 13, 2004 at 11:03 PM (CDT)


If you were to even consider to think that the screen has a secret color, then the “color” should be legible in regular light conditions like GBAs and pocket pcs.

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on August 14, 2004 at 12:38 AM (CDT)


I don’t know that this has anything to do with the color display rumor, but has anyone else noticed this: when I look at my G4 ipod when sitting in front of my iMac in a darkened room, so that it is illuminated by the light from the iMac’s monitor, the iPod’s display is colorful.  There is a rainbow effect.  Depending on the angle at which I hold the iPod, parts of the screen are clearly red, yellow, green blue, purple.  I’m not claiming this means anything, just an observation. I don’t have any other LCD things I can hold up to see if they do it, too.  (I also think a color display would be kind of stupid, but kind of fun at the same time…and I can’t think of any reason they would install a color display and not tell us).

Posted by Jeff Cablemander on August 14, 2004 at 10:03 PM (CDT)


voice activation

Posted by James Bow on August 16, 2004 at 5:25 AM (CDT)


if you go into the main menu settings in the ipod 4rg theres a photo import option that you can turn on when you click on the enabled photoimporrt there is a folder named photos

Posted by awesomeeeeememememe on August 16, 2004 at 6:29 PM (CDT)


the “secret feature” i’m betting on is a video-out to show photos on a tv, photos that you downloaded with the belkin adapter, or synched from iPhoto. this will either be done through the dock or the remote. think about it, i’m sure they could do it with the hardware the 4gs have now (i dont actually know whether this is true, but it’s not unreasonable), and it’s a logical extension of iPhoto, the belkin adapter and the portability of the ipod. it could also be seen as a leg-up to video ipods, but i dont think they’ll be around for a while. Perhaps they’ll bring out iphoto for the pc, like they did with itunes.

what i’d really like to see is higher-quality recording, but i assume this won’t happen because it would take filesharing too far, as if you copied an mp3 from ipod line-out to ipod line-in at cd quality recording, it would not only strip all drm but also be easier than recording a tv show on your vcr and would require no additional hardware, not even a computer. regardless of how slow it would be.

perhaps a firewire 800 dock, to go with the 60gb model? anyone else suspected that?

Posted by cube on August 18, 2004 at 1:16 AM (CDT)


i heard the ipod secret is that when the moons align and the jade monkey is revealed by the Lord of Takinota all ipods will transforn into their evil killer robot forms. And take over the earth.

Posted by Crazy on August 18, 2004 at 9:52 AM (CDT)


What about the possibility that it may have special ties to Tiger?  Could it be possible that the 4G could used as a mobile home directory?  You would be able to plug into any Mac running 10.4 and log-in to your documents and applications.

Posted by unclebert on August 18, 2004 at 9:14 PM (CDT)


As far as headphones go, yes they can be used as antennas, but they can also be used as a microphone. I discovered this when my roommate was doing a commentary track for a DVD he made by talking into his Sony headphones. Bizzare, but it worked.

Posted by Matt on August 19, 2004 at 11:03 AM (CDT)


like any computer, add new software and you have new features.  lots of possibilities.  and it’s Apple’s choice when to do add-ons.  if we petition for features like Ogg support, they can get priority.

Posted by bryanwithay on August 19, 2004 at 3:07 PM (CDT)


digital radio subsystems now seem almost
small enough to jam into the ipod.  perhaps apple
could profit-share with the subscription services.
as well, add one click radio title capture for later
sync with ITMS.

as for photo display enabled by the portalplayer
JPEG capability, i doubt many folks give
actual names to their hundreds (or thousands) of
vacation snapshots, greatly hindering scrollable

so, i’d go for sound addons like sirius/xmsr/ibiquity
radio before the vision thing.

Posted by retiarius on August 20, 2004 at 6:23 PM (CDT)

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy