“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.
If you ordered one of Apple’s new 40 gigabyte iPods yesterday morning, this news is for you. As reported yesterday on iLounge and further detailed in Backstage, Apple unexpectedly changed its web site mid day to drop two accessories (the iPod wired Remote and 40GB carrying case) from its official list of 40GB iPod pack-ins. The change was first reported by iLounge administrators at 12:52PM Eastern Standard Time (9:52AM Pacific).
Apple Store’s customer service is working to make things right for those who placed online orders early in the morning with the understanding that those accessories would be packed in: a polite telephone call mentioning the web site change and requesting the two missing parts can restore them to your order. However, it appears that not all customer service representatives have seen the e-mail notifying them of the web site problems. Two iLounge editors called to confirm these reports this morning; one had the problem addressed quickly after mentioning the web site change, and the other had to go through two supervisor calls before the problem was fixed.
iLounge has previously praised Apple for its outstanding online store customer service, and hopes that all affected purchasers will have trouble-free experiences in getting all the items that they ordered. If you’re an affected 40GB iPod purchaser and have contacted Apple, please post your experiences in the comments thread below.
Following up on our Backstage report from yesterday, Apple is now shipping fourth-generation iPod orders placed online through the Apple Store. Shipments are coming from Shanghai, China, and at least some orders appear to have missed the cutoff time for delivery tomorrow.
After canvassing roughly a dozen bricks-and-mortar Apple retail stores in major cities around the country, all but one report that retail locations have not yet received the new iPods for sale. East Coast stores tended to indicate that they are expected in the next 24-48 hours, while Midwestern and West Coast stores have been less committal, stating that they will be available by week’s end.
A representative at one Apple retail store in Westchester, NY indicated that he believed that the store had received and sold out of its initial shipment, however, the representative said that he had not been at the store when it happened. Please feel free to use the comments thread of this news story to report your experiences in ordering, locating, and/or receiving the new iPod.
Incase has informed us that they recently designed iPod and iPod mini cases for musician John Mayer. The first known musician inspired iPod cases are for sale on location throughout John Mayer’s Summer Tour. The $25 leather sleeve case comes in two-tone colors with John Mayer’s embossed signature and silhouette of himself on the front. A drawstring bag and metal guitar pick with John Mayer’s embossed signature and silhouette is included.
Pacific Accessory Corporation has released the AUX-POD auto integration kit for iPod 3G and iPod mini. The AUX-POD allows you to “change tracks on your iPod from the factory radio or steering wheel (vehicles with audio controls on steering wheel). The AUX-POD automatically turns off the iPod when the radio is out of AUX-mode or when vehicle/radio is turned off. The iPod also charges the iPod when connected to the AUX-POD. The AUX-POD consists of an AUX-BOX Universal Auxiliary Audio Input interface and an Apple iPod interface connector. To use the AUX-BOX with your vehicle, you will need to order a specific vehicle harness also. Use the application guide to see if there is a harness available for your vehicle.” Retail price for the AUX-BOX is $200. Check the website for a dealer near you.
Speck Products has announced the Mini FlipStand for iPod mini featuring clear ABS plastic, access to all functions and includes a belt clip. The FlipStand doubles as a desktop stand when the click wheel cover is flipped back to its open position. The mini FlipStand is priced at $29.95 and is available for immediate purchase.
In celebration of Apple’s new iPod, BayAreaFreeFi.com announces the wiPod! Now you can access the entire BayAreaFreeFi database from your iPod! Happy (w)iPodding! wiPod is an iPod-based field guide for free wi-fi hotspots in the San Francisco Bay Area. Version 1.0 has nearly 200 listings. It’s like SliceNY’s piPod, but for Bay Area free hotspots. And, it’s even got the new 4G iPod in its advertising!
Been waiting for the best deal on an iPod? Amazon.com’s sweetest offer just became even sweeter thanks to the release of the 4G iPods. Free shipping, $50 gift certificates, and no tax in most states.
15GB iPod (3G): $249 - add $1 worth of additional items to get a free $50 Amazon gift certificate.
20GB iPod (3G): $299 with free $50 Amazon gift certificate.
40GB iPod (3G): $399 with free $50 Amazon gift certificate.
And remember, Apple’s online store typically begins a gradual evolution of closeout deals following the discontinuation of earlier models, ending in stronger (but very limited quantity) discounts several months later. Tax and shipping will be extra.
Apple’s comments come some weeks after Toshiba publicly announced that it was already supplying Apple with hundreds of thousands of 60 gigabyte, 1.8” drives per month, an announcement which was subsequently said to have angered otherwise secretive Apple executives. Whether these drives will be used in future music-centered iPods, or in other devices, is currently unknown.
MacMinute is reporting that “as part of a pilot program, Duke University has teamed up with Apple to give iPods to all 1,800 incoming freshmen this fall. The fourth generation iPods will be pre-loaded with school calendars and other information. Students will also be able to download supplementary class material in addition to being able to play music.” Lucky Blue Devils. Will these iPods be used for Intro to Copyright Law, or Music Appreciation 101?
iPod Updater 2004-07-15 supports all models of iPod and iPod mini, including the new Click Wheel iPod. This update includes the latest available software for each model of iPod or iPod mini. Download and install the iPod Updater 2004-07-15 then connect your iPod or iPod mini to your computer. The iPod Updater will automatically determine if an update is required.
- New for Click Wheel iPods
- Shuffle songs with one click
- Create multiple On-The-Go playlists
- Delete songs from On-The-Go playlists
- Select reading playback speed for audiobooks
- Hear the clicker user interface sound through headphones
- Charge via USB 2.0 connection
- Enjoy improved playback performance
- Updates for iPod with a Dock connector and iPod mini
- Compatibility with iTunes 4.5 or later and the iTunes Music Store
- Improved playback performance
- Support for the Apple Lossless Encoder, to enable compressed music encoding at high quality
- Updates for iPod without a Dock connector
- Compatibility with iTunes 4.5 or later and the iTunes Music Store
- Improved playback performance
Following a weekend trickling out of initial product details, Apple Computer has this morning officially premiered a “remixed” fourth-generation (4G) iPod on its web site. Confirming initial reports, the 4G iPod offers 12 hours of battery life and, while available in two familiar capacities, has dropped in price: 20 gigabytes ($299) and 40 gigabytes ($399). No 15 gigabyte version is available, nor is any size larger than 40 gigabytes. The 4G iPod also features a gray and white plastic Click Wheel controller (see iLounge Backstage for additional discussion), the familiar black and white backlit two-inch screen, Apple’s proprietary Dock Connector on the bottom, and the Signature iPod white and chrome case design familiar from prior high-capacity iPod hardware.
Contrary to initial reports, however, the 4G iPod’s body has not changed dramatically in size: the 20GB unit measures 4.1"x2.4"x0.57” and weighs 5.6 oz., while the 40GB unit measures 4.1"x2.4"x0.69” and weighs 6.2 oz. But iPod packages have changed, generally for the better: each iPod now includes a USB 2.0 cable, removing a separate but frequently necessary $19 purchase for 3G iPod consumers. However, only the 40GB iPod includes a new Dock ($39, new part number M9602G/A)
the 20GB iPod loses these optional accessories.
The 4G iPods are the beneficiaries of additional firmware features, as well. Version 3.0 of the iPod’s firmware allows multiple on-the-go playlists to be created and audiobook playback speed (faster/slower) to be adjusted - but apparently not other audio. Menus have also changed slightly to create easier access to certain key features, including shuffled playback, and Apple’s site lists another new feature: “Clicker playback through headphones,” which lets users optionally hear their Click Wheel adjustments through headphones. Additional languages have also been added to the iPod, however, game and other menu offerings remain the same as before. Packed-in software also remains largely the same: the 4G iPod ships with the current (4.6) version of iTunes.
Apple claims immediate availability of the new iPod, and Hewlett-Packard has confirmed that its HP-branded version of the iPod will be based upon the fourth-generation design, and available in September. As of the time of this article’s publication, Apple’s online store currently shows 1-2 business day availability for the new iPod, and international orders are being taken. Free laser engraving is also available.
UPDATE (10:39AM PST): After posting specifications for the new 40GB iPod this morning,Apple has changed the list of pack-in items to reflect the removal of two accessories from the box - while the Dock ($39) is still included with the 40GB unit, Apple will apparently no longer include the iPod wired Remote ($39) or the fabric carrying case ($39) with either of the new iPods.
Additionally, and contrary to Apple’s press release this morning, iLounge has confirmed that Apple retail stores do not yet have the new iPod in stock, with some stores claiming availability “in about a week.” More updates are available at backstage.ilounge.com.
Apple today introduced the new iPod, the fourth generation of the world’s number one portable digital music player, featuring Apple’s patent pending Click Wheel, which combines the smooth and continuous scrolling of a touch-sensitive wheel with five push buttons for superior one handed navigation. The new iPod also features up to 12 hours battery life and Shuffle Songs, a new command in the main menu which gives users instant access to one of the most exciting new ways to listen to their music library. All iPods work effortlessly with Apple’s iTunes, providing music fans with the best digital jukebox on either a Mac or Windows computer and access to the iTunes Music Store, the number one digital music service in the world. The new iPod is available immediately in a 20GB model for $299 and a 40GB model for $399.
“The best digital music player just got better,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The fourth generation iPod features Apple’s amazing Click Wheel for superb one handed control, 12 hour battery life and the new Shuffle Songs command in the main menu—all in an even smaller design that puts up to 10,000 songs in your pocket.”
“HP has chosen iPod and iTunes as the best products to integrate in to our digital entertainment strategy,” said Carly Fiorina, chairman and chief executive officer at HP. “We decided to wait for this amazing new fourth generation iPod, as it will offer our customers an even better experience. HP’s version of the new iPod will be available in September.”
iPod features Apple’s patent pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads an entire digital music library onto iPod and keeps it up-to-date whenever it is plugged into a Mac or Windows computer using FireWire or USB. Users can transfer two songs per second from their Mac or Windows computer and can now conveniently charge iPod with either the included FireWire or USB cable.*
Pricing & Availability
The new 20GB and 40GB iPods are available immediately for a suggested retail price of just $299 (US) for the 20GB iPod and $399 (US) for the 40GB iPod through the Apple Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. Both iPods include earbud headphones, 1.2m 30-pin to FireWire cable, a 1.2m 30-pin to USB cable, and a CD with iTunes 4.6 for Mac and Windows computers. The 40GB model also includes an iPod dock.
Need something to do while waiting for more details on the fourth-generation iPod? Formerly available through Audible’s web page (linked below), Apple has added 36 free downloads from Audible and C-SPAN to the iTunes Music Store’s Audiobooks section, encompassing hours of testimony before the 9/11 Commission in Washington, D.C. dating from March to June 2004. Highlights include former and current U.S. Attorneys General Reno and Ashcroft, former and current Secretaries of Defense (Cohen and Rumsfeld) and State (Albright and Powell), and former and current Mayors of New York City Giuliani and Bloomberg.
Newsweek has revealed some details on the upcoming new iPod in its “advance peek” article. The fourth generation iPod has a new “click wheel” similar to the iPod mini, “where the controls are placed on the compass points of the circular touchpad that lets you scroll through menus.” Other new features include: a more efficent menu - “‘Music’ is a first-level entry, and now a single click initiates the popular technique of shuffling your library for playback.”; you can create mulitple on-the-go playlists and delete on-the-go playlists; listen to audio books or music “at normal speed, slower or 25 percent faster”; the battery is rated for 12 hours of power, a 50% increase; and new lower prices - 40GB for $399, 20GB for $299, and the 15GB has been dropped. The new iPod is also about one millimeter thinner than previous models, and contrary to rumors there are no new colors being offered except classic white.
As discovered by MacMinute, Apple Computer has used the cover of Newsweek Magazine to reveal the newest generation iPod. White like the third-generation iPod, the newest iPod now sports a Click Wheel and thickness similar to the iPod mini, in addition to a six-line (3G iPod-style) black and white screen. In the original photograph (right, credit Newsweek via MacMinute), the screen appears to suggest that Apple has preserved the traditional iPod font and interface, but modified the menu structure to further simplify access to the device’s multiple features. Kudos to Steven Levy on securing the exclusive Newsweek article.
Update: Having obtained an advance copy of Newsweek’s iPod article, The Mac Observer reports that Apple will formally announce the new iPod on Monday, July 19, 2004, and notes that additional photos indicate that in addition to being thinner than current 3G iPods, it may also have a slightly smaller footprint. Check back with iLounge for additional photos and details soon.