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Updating our earlier news story regarding headphone port static and hard drive noise problems in Apple’s new fourth-generation iPods, iLounge has remained in contact with Apple and our readers over the past several days in an attempt to help the company determine the nature and extent of the problems.
iLounge’s editors returned both of their affected 40GB iPods at Apple’s request for testing, and replaced them with two new 40GB iPods yesterday. One of the new iPods exhibits no problems. The other exhibits the exact same defect as before. This brings our internal total of tested iPods to five, two (one 20GB unit, one 40GB unit) without the static issues, and three (all 40GB units) with them.
Of the 158 responses we collected from our initial story on the defect, 85 readers posted the results of their own 4G iPod testing, and of that group, 54 readers (63.5%) reported no problems, while 31 readers (36.5%) reported the same problems we had found. While we emphasize that the results of our inquiry are comprised of strictly voluntary submissions from readers, and should not be taken as scientific or conclusive, they do suggest that the problem may be more widespread than we had originally hoped. For a full discussion of testing procedures, please click on the “More info” link below.
“Apple Computer Inc. announced the domestic release of its portable music player, the iPod mini, in Seoul yesterday, hoping its latest product will overcome the disappointing market performances of earlier models.
‘We believe iPod mini could become a huge success in Korea and other places such as China or Taiwan where flash-memory music players still dominate the market,’ said Yeo Eng Yiong, Apple’s portable devices product marketing manager for Asia-Pacific.
‘The main reason that iPod models didn’t catch on with Korean consumers in the past was the high prices for the products. However, iPod mini now comes at a very affordable price and we believe it will have a great success in Korea considering its huge advantage in storage capacity,’ he added.”
Engadget has posted an interesting how-to on turning your iPod into an infrared remote control for your TV, DVD player, stereo, etc. Using Griffin’s Total Remote Software and IR device for Pocket PCs you can transfer the same technology used in the Total Remote to the iPod. You might remember that Griffin had originaly planned a remote device for iPod called the PodMate, but development was canceled before going to market.
Reader Chris Whittier has discovered that the Apple Airport Express can charge the iPod.
“After seeing some people asking about it, I just randomly plugged my iPod mini into the Airport Express to see what happens (the USB port of course). Surprisingly enough, the Express CHARGES the iPod. So to answer that question, you CAN charge your iPod using the Airport Express (which negates my need to tote an extra power charger when traveling.)
Now if Apple could only have a way to pass through the Audio to the Express from the iPod when it’s plugged in, that would be a killer little firmware update.”
Editor’s Note: This likely applies only to USB-chargeable iPods (4G and Mini). The 3G does not charge via USB.
Motorola, Inc. and Apple today announced they are partnering to enable millions of music lovers to transfer their favorite songs from the iTunes jukebox on their Mac or PC, including songs from the iTunes Music Store, to Motorola’s next-generation ‘always with you’ mobile handsets, via a USB or Bluetooth wireless connection. Apple will create a new iTunes mobile music player, which Motorola will make the standard music application on all their mass-market music phones, expected to be available in the first half of next year.
In extended testing of Apple’s new fourth-generation iPods, iLounge has discovered and reported to Apple an apparent manufacturing defect affecting the headphone jacks of certain new iPod hardware. The defect manifests as audible static and noise interference in the earphones that is most prominent whenever a new iPod’s hard disk is accessed. Similar interference was not detectable through line out (Dock Connector) output.
Users of affected iPods will be able to hear a hard disk-like whirring sound in their earphones, coupled with several seconds of light static at the start of a song that has just been loaded. This should not be confused with the quiet hard disk loading sounds that an iPod makes, which sounds are not audible through earphones, or with normal static-like compression artifacts in your audio.
To test your iPod while eliminating the possibility that static from your music or headphones may be responsible, use iTunes to encode several three- to five-minute compact disc tracks using Apple’s Lossless Audio encoder, transfer them to your iPod, then connect the earbuds packaged with your new iPod. Find the directory or create a playlist with only the Lossless tracks, and skip back and forth between them. Hold your iPod at a distance or cover it up so that you can’t hear its normal internal hard disk sounds. If your iPod has a problem, at the start of each loaded song, you should hear a loading pause, then a whirring sound and light static in your ears at a normal volume level. If it does not have a problem, the song should load and play without audio interference.
iLounge has confirmed that this interference does not affect all new iPod hardware. Of the three units we purchased for evaluation, both of the 40GB iPods exhibit the same problem, but the 20GB iPod does not. Unfortunately, some new iPod users have reported that the problem exists in their new 20GB iPods, as well. The units we know to be affected were manufactured in China, shipped from Shanghai, and ordered directly from Apple.
An Apple representative is currently looking into the report, and the company has had no further comment. Please report your findings using the Comments link below.
youPod lets you take your real AddressBook and iCalendars with you, as well as your bookmarks for Safari, Firefox or Explorer. you can even take your Keychain, so you don’t have to remember all of those passwords and logins.
“Tomorrow, without Apple’s authorization, RealNetworks will start to give away software that will allow people to buy and download songs from its online music store and then play them on Apple’s popular iPod portable devices in addition to those that use the Windows Media Player format and RealNetwork’s Helix format. [...]
So RealNetworks created technology that can create files to be read by iPods. Mr. Glaser [CEO, RealNetworks] declined to say how it did this. But Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research, said that RealNetworks used a technique known as reverse engineering - observing how Apple’s software behaved as it encoded songs to be loaded onto iPods.”
“Thousands of people lined up outside electronics stores in Japan on Saturday as Apple Computer launched sales of its iPod Mini digital music player.
About 1,500 people were lined up outside Apple’s store in Tokyo’s Ginza district before the store opened at 10 a.m. Tens of thousands of the devices have already reportedly been reserved by customers.”
Griffin Technology has posted a QuickTime video tutorial on how to use the iTrip/iTrip mini with iPod or iPod mini. “The iTrip, while very flexible and powerful, is certainly not as initially easy at other simple toggle switch Transmitters with only four selectable stations. So in an effort to really help our customers get up to speed with the iTrip as fast as possible we filmed this tutorial movie in house. Just like our experiences at the trade shows, once we ‘demonstrate’ the use of the iTrip and switching stations, customers ‘get it’ and live happily ever after. And that’s good for everybody.”
“Apple Computer is outraged over new advertisements by upstart music channel Fuse that resemble ads for the iPod, Apple’s popular digital music player, The Post has learned.
Apple lawyers have been calling Fuse and threatening to sue unless the ads
Griffin Technology recently announced three new additions to their Clear Choice line of cables
To commemorate Apple’s launch of the fourth-generation iPod, and to thank all of our readers for their patience, iLounge will be posting its first review of the new 20GB and 40GB models later today, Friday, July 23, 2004.
Like our prior first review of the iPod mini, titled the Newbie Review, iLounge’s first fourth-generation review, conclusions, and product rating will be geared towards first-time iPod buyers. A subsequent review geared towards more experienced users (the Power Users’ Review) will follow shortly thereafter.
These reviews will also mark the launch of iLounge’s new product rating system, which will replace our prior Excited / Happy / It’s OK / Sad icons with a more versatile letter grading system, featuring A, B, C, D and F with plus and minus marks. We have been planning for this change for some time, and you will soon see its benefits in an easier-to-use report card for all currently released iPods and accessories. We’ll look forward to your thoughts and comments.
iLounge couldn’t wait until Friday to receive its 40GB iPod, so we went to our local Apple Store and picked up a new 4G 20GB iPod for review. It’s being put through its paces as we speak. And yes, though the numbers show only a .12” difference, the new 40GB version feels surprisingly thicker (3G size, even) than the new 20GB. Retail Apple Stores have received “lots of them” in both sizes, and they’re already going quickly. Check back here for updates.
“Apple today announced that it has signed licensing agreements with three of the largest European independent music labels, Beggars Group, Sanctuary Records Group and V2, adding tens of thousands of additional independent tracks from leading artists to the iTunes Music Store in the UK, France and Germany. With three of the most influential independent record labels on board, iTunes Music Store customers in Europe now have access to an impressive catalog of independent artists including Basement Jaxx, The Crystal Method, Interpol, The Libertines, Morrissey, the Pixies, Prodigy, Stereophonics, Paul Weller and The White Stripes.”
Wired’s Leander Kahney has shed additional light on the making of Apple’s first iPod in an interview with Ben Knauss, formerly of PortalPlayer, co-developer of the iPod hardware. Highlights include
- Tony Fadell approached Apple with the business idea of a music player coupled with a music download service. Several companies turned Fadell down, but Apple said yes, and gave him a 30-person team.
- When Apple signed on, PortalPlayer dropped work for as many as 12 customers, including IBM, which had planned “a small, black MP3 player” with a “unique circular screen and wireless Bluetooth headphones” plus miniature IBM hard drives.
- Knauss claims 280 PortalPlayer employees worked for 8 months on the iPod design to incorporate Apple-requested features, many from Steve Jobs himself, including AAC, an equalizer, Audible audio book support, faster menus, louder output (“Jobs is partly deaf”) and better audio quality.
- Apple used a collection of confusing prototypes “to make sure it wasn’t predictable what the end design was.”
- The iPod project almost died when initial battery life proved out at 3 hours, even when powered down. But when the problem was fixed, Apple bought a majority stake in PortalPlayer.
Today NYKRIS launched pPod - the world
Online retailer iPod Xtras has announced several special deals on iPod and iPod mini accessories such as the Griffin iTalk, iTrip mini and the STM Cocoon case for iPod. Enter coupon code “xtra4me” during checkout to receive additional savings on your order.
Reader Mike S. reports he has taken possession of a new 4G iPod 20GB from a Mayfair Apple Store in Wauwatosa, WI. “Well people, I just stopped by my local Apple store and they had 9 of these babies ready for a home. No 40GB yet, nor did they have the new Click Wheel iPod docks. Also, seems like Apple hasn’t updated their retail software though, because they couldn’t register my iPod when I bought it, so now I can just register it when I need service on the baby.” Mike also goes on to report a few things he’s noticed about the new 4G iPod.
- Now you can turn it off completely by holding the Play/Pause button.
- Click Wheel is not backlit, but the screen has a white backlight.
- Clicker sounds slightly different from my iPod 3G.
- Click wheel is slightly stiffer than the iPod mini’s.
- No dock port covers are included.
- Seems my iPod was partially charged when I bought it. Only took me 1 hour and now it says it’s fully charged.
- The games menu can now be added to the main menu, YAY! (I think this is new to 4G).
- On-The-Go playlist can now be saved, when saved, a new playlist is created (NewPlaylist1, NewPlaylist2, etc.) and the songs are moved there, the OTG playlist is then cleared. Saving playlists actually took abut 5-10 seconds, which seemed a bit long for only 2 songs.
- Songs can be deleted from the On-The-Go playlist by holding the middle button for about 3 seconds, same as adding a song.