“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

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What about Apple waiting for us telling about what really we like???

Posted by Buqpa! on August 20, 2004 at 6:39 PM (CDT)


Yeah, a good article, and we all love our ipods, but apple itself… whooo (sucks teeth).  I don’t care what anyone else says, I think it sucks completely that apple aren’t updating the firmware for audio recording on 3G.  Just wanted to say that.  I don’t like being ‘encouraged’ to upgrade a perfectly good product and pay through the nose for the privilege of doing so, in vain hope that my wishes will be granted with a newer model.  Still a great piece of gear, though.

Posted by specs on August 21, 2004 at 6:03 AM (CDT)


Any chance that the 4G iPod could be used as a remote to control Airtunes using a wifi or bluetooth add on?

Posted by Jeff Hubert on August 23, 2004 at 9:50 AM (CDT)


yea, um, all u crackers should get a life!

Posted by Rocky on August 24, 2004 at 2:13 PM (CDT)


As a first time iPoder, I just got my 4G. One thing I noticed, though it’s far less significant than antennas in the headphones or anything, is that the iPod pauses automatically when the headphone jack is pulled out.

Posted by klily on August 24, 2004 at 4:39 PM (CDT)


My brother John works for Apple. He shared some confidential information with me, that I can no longer hold from all of the eager ipod users. *** The true “secret” is actually a modification to the Watson2034 chip. It’s secondary feature is an automatic cleaning program. The main feature that is “the big secret” is that the fourth generation iPod doubles as an electric shaver between the hours of 4:30am and 8:30am, Monday through Friday and optional Saturday with summer/winter mode for school teachers. *** I hope you all enjoy using and listening to your brand new 20GB or colored 4GB electric razor.

Posted by ben on August 24, 2004 at 4:55 PM (CDT)


I think that it will be a link cable enabling people with iPod’s to transfer music to other iPod’s with a CORD! How about that?

Posted by The Guy on August 27, 2004 at 8:16 PM (CDT)


In the new ipod+hp launch, carly alluded to the future potential to enable direct printing to HP printers from the ipod, thus reinforcing the point of direct-to-printer functionality.  time will tell how exactly it’ll be implemented, and how pictures can be loaded onto the ipod.

Posted by e on August 27, 2004 at 11:42 PM (CDT)


I was wondering if the iPod can be made into a Hard Drive video capture storage device, similar to the MCEtech Quickstream DV. It is Firewire (aka i-link) which most MiniDV Video Cameras have.

Posted by BobYe on August 30, 2004 at 2:27 AM (CDT)


what are the optimal settings for the contrast to get it to a good looking blue?

Posted by blah on August 30, 2004 at 10:09 PM (CDT)


Brilliant write-up. Thank you.

Posted by Strykar in India on August 31, 2004 at 12:53 AM (CDT)


I used to have my itrip in my ipod, set to 102fm, and every radio in the house set to 102 fm.  I’d walk around the house (or office) and whereever I’d go I’d be surrounded by beautiful music, MY beautiful music that I made with Garageband!!!

Posted by Sam on August 31, 2004 at 10:23 PM (CDT)


I used to have my itrip in my ipod, set to 102fm, and every radio in the house set to 102 fm.  I’d walk around the house (or office) and whereever I’d go I’d be surrounded by beautiful music, MY beautiful music that I made with Garageband!!!

Posted by Sam on August 31, 2004 at 10:24 PM (CDT)


My 4G iPod transformed into Optimus Prime!  It was soo cool, but I was only able to do it once. ;)

Posted by SmokeyB on September 2, 2004 at 10:33 AM (CDT)


Hi guys,

this article is really good but totally useless. Don’t you think that all these speculations about “secret” features only try to cloud the fact that Apple’s iPod has less features and gimmicks than the other HDD players? Talking about the “secrets” is pretending knowledge about something really cool. But hey, Apple is so cool why shouln’t they include some extra features? So, keep on searching! I’ll take my iPod as is is: a real good portable mp3 player…

Posted by maze on September 3, 2004 at 11:08 AM (CDT)


Maybe they’ll finally give us gapless playback.

Posted by David on September 4, 2004 at 10:25 AM (CDT)


isn’t HP releasing a printer that can print directly from the iPod? in which case, one of the new chips might be used for this purpose.

Posted by Thomas James on September 7, 2004 at 1:14 AM (CDT)


Surely the fact that the new PortalPlayer chip supports USB On The Go should be a big part of these supposed secrets?
Given that iRiver and others are now touting this (and to me is a very very handy feature) I can see this being a big part of future development. I imagine it needs firmware enabling but has anyone just tried plugging in a USB device and seeing if the iPod works as a host already?

Posted by garethw on September 7, 2004 at 11:08 PM (CDT)


I think the secret of the 4G iPods is that they are actually completely waterproof.  I don’t have an iPod to test it, but—if you do… you should try dunking it in some water to see.

Wouldn’t that be sweet—listening to tunes in the tub, or while scuba diving?  Shazzam.

Posted by Scott on September 14, 2004 at 12:33 AM (CDT)


I think this will give a hint as to why Apple choose HP to be involved in the iPod.  Photographers will love this.


Posted by eon on September 14, 2004 at 5:00 AM (CDT)


Also from Portaplayer’s website: Note that the chip supports connections to digital video cameras.

An ATA-66 hard-disk controller supports up to four storage devices (CD-ROMs, CR-R/W, hard disks, and/or IBM Microdrives), and a USB 2.0 high-speed serial link provides On-the-Go support. A FireWire (IEEE-1394a) controller (external physical-layer interface required) offers an alternative to USB 2.0 and can link the jukebox to digital video cameras and set-top boxes.

The PP5020’s LCD controller can drive single-scan 1-, 2-, or 4-bit monochrome STN LCD panels. Its digital TV controller will support TFT panels of up to 640-by-480 pixel resolution with 18-bit 5:6:5 RGB data and a 60-Hz refresh rate. The chip connects to a TV set via a CCIR601/656 TV output, which delivers a signal to an external NTSC/PAL encoder. It also packs a direct interface to an I2S stereo audio codec and a direct interface to a Sony/Philips digital interface for digital audio input or output.

Posted by eon on September 14, 2004 at 5:04 AM (CDT)


“It also packs a direct interface to an I2S stereo audio codec and a direct interface to a Sony/Philips digital interface for digital audio input or output.”

That’s the big thing that the iPod lacks that has always bugged me. Apple sells this allegedly high-end piece of audio kit then purposely disables the digital input/output. That makes no sense to me, unless Steve Jobs just likes that little fizzy humming sound from the analog connections if you plug your iPod directly into a high-end amplifier.

Posted by spdif on September 14, 2004 at 7:42 AM (CDT)


So run a little experiment for me. Fully charge both your 3G and 4G iPod. Once fully charged, unplug them and then plug them in again. What you will notice is that the 3G will go into the recharge cycle again while the 4G knows that it has a fully charged.

This is because there is no real software monitoring of the charge cycle on 3G iPods - it is all time based - while 4G iPods actually moniter their charge cycle. As far as I can tell the only thing the 3G can do is estimate the remaining battery power - and even this is done poorly. But this is all fixed in the 4G

Improved PMU - that is one of the new features.

But don’t take my word for it - try it out yourself.

Posted by mcm on September 15, 2004 at 5:28 PM (CDT)


Perhaps apple will introduce a keyboard, mouse, external combodrive, dvi for the 30 inch display, a printer, and a supercharger that gives your bmw 100 more horsepower.

Posted by meekrob on September 17, 2004 at 2:08 PM (CDT)


Beauty, so Apple has all of these potentially wicked features in the 4G Ipod but won’t release them.  Before I plunk down my $300 to get in the Ipod game, I’d want to know that Apple isn’t going to make me buy another Ipod just to get the features that could be built in to the current model.  Maybe they should just change the name from"Ipod” to “IVapor” and sell me an empty box.

Posted by Jim on September 20, 2004 at 6:42 PM (CDT)


Cmon apple, tell us what it is!!!!!!!!

Posted by Robin Hood & his merry men on September 22, 2004 at 2:09 PM (CDT)


call me old fashioned but…. it’s an mp3 player. And I’m happy with it the way it is. If you want wi-fi, camera’s, bluetooth bulls**t, etc etc etc.. go buy a pda/ppc or a mobile phone, ‘cause that’s what an ipod will end up like. I bought it for ONE reason only: simply to play my music, and that’s all I want out of it.

alright, the other extras (games, calender) are a bit gimicky but their basic in operation and don’t intrude on the real purpose of the ipod.

(but each to his own!!)  power to the people!

Posted by spottydog on September 24, 2004 at 4:17 AM (CDT)



Posted by DOG on October 7, 2004 at 12:55 PM (CDT)


well, now with the huge rumors of a color screen within the next couple of months and an upgrade to a 60 gig hard drive (which also has been rumored for awhile, since there was an order placed by apple for them) i guess we know why the core of the ipod changed.

Posted by Dustin on October 11, 2004 at 6:59 PM (CDT)


wow, until this article the posibility of “secrets” within my iPod never crossed my mind. looking back on all the ideas proposed here i have to say… i would settle for a simple customizable welcome screen. much like the one you find on cell phones. im also waiting for them to make an ipod painted to look like HAL 9000, the most famous computer in the history (or future) of mankind.

Posted by FODzilla on October 17, 2004 at 4:03 PM (CDT)


I want a “line-in” on the ipod!!!!!!  From my searching, only the iriver offers a “line-in” option - which is huge. HUGE!  Why won’t apple, or other mp3 makers for that matter, offer this?

Posted by Bill Spillz on October 21, 2004 at 1:45 PM (CDT)


> only the iriver offers a “line-in” option - which is huge

Archos does as well. I use mine for recording lectures. It’s a bit big for running though, I use a MuVo for that.

Posted by rererecording on October 21, 2004 at 2:53 PM (CDT)


My Guss is more to do with iLife, like garage band for instance.  As bill said, would be good to be able to record high quality audio.  what else would you do with 60 gigs (or even 40 gigs for that matter) - my hard drive ain’t that big, so I won’t be loading it up with mp3s or photos to keep in sync with my iPod.
If I had a 60 gig iPod I’d want to keep all my music on the iPod and only drag stuff back to my mac when i needed to.

Posted by Jason on October 22, 2004 at 7:53 AM (CDT)


can anyone help me..i dont know howto make my ipod screen blue..thnaks!

Posted by jc on October 23, 2004 at 2:27 PM (CDT)


you can play music on ipods, bet you didnt know that

Posted by EatYourDog in NJ on November 22, 2004 at 4:03 PM (CST)



Posted by allforcarrie on February 9, 2005 at 4:47 AM (CST)


“As with the 4G iPod’s screen, the iPod mini’s pixels can be turned blue by entering Diagnostic Mode (reset the iPod with Menu + Action buttons, then hold Reverse + Action at the Apple logo) and playing with the Contrast test.”

Could someone explain how to do this.  What exact buttons are they talking about? Thanks

Posted by IntenseKipp on June 23, 2005 at 2:46 AM (CDT)

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