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.
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.
During Apple’s conference call expanding on its second-quarter financial results, Apple representatives have held to prior projections on availability of Hewlett Packard’s blue version of the iPod: “HP will ship this Summer as we indicated in last quarter’s call.” On the subject of HP/Apple iPod marketing and distribution by geographic region: “HP and Apple independently conclude who to sell to,” and there will be no restriction on HP sales of the iPod by region.
“The pocket-sized digital music player, which can store thousands of songs, is one of a series of banned gadgets that the military will no longer allow into most sections of its headquarters in the UK and abroad.
Devices with large storage capabilities—most notably those with a Universal Serial Bus (or USB) plug used to connect to a computer—have been treated with greater suspicion of late by government agencies and corporations alike.”
Update: The British Ministry of Defense has denied to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) that the military has imposed an outright ban on iPods or portable storage devices in general. A spokesman clarified that only specific secure areas are or will be deemed off-limits to such devices, and that the iPod was not specifically targeted by the government.
iLounger “vgirla” found an iPod on a flight and decided to use the forums to try and locate the owner. After posting her story and following advice from various members, she contacted Apple and passed them the serial number.
One day later, another iLounge user, “smacryan” claimed ownership of the iPod, and explained that a representative from Apple had called.
The moral of this story: register your iPod with Apple, and if you lose it, check the iLounge forums. This happy ending brought to you by yet another great iLounger - thanks “vgirla.”
A new London nighclub called Playlist is claiming to be “London’s First iPod Music Club” (NoWax started back in September 2003) is launching Saturday, August 7 at the Nambucca club on Holloway Road. The press release reads: You are the DJ. Bring your favourite 15-minute playlist on an iPod or other digital music player and play your songs, first come, first served. The best DJs win prizes from Belkin…
“Playlist celebrates digital diversity. It’s all about the music, not the genre. The principle is simple: if you want to share your music, just turn up, sign in and play out. If you want to judge other people’s music, turn up, sign up and speak out. If you simply want to party, just turn up, tune in, dance it out.
Amplifying concerns raised by iLounge in a feature story last week, Apple Computer has attacked Sony’s claims that its upcoming Network Walkman devices hold more songs than comparably equipped iPods. “We’re disappointed that Sony, which is new to this market, has decided to make their first impression by attempting to mislead the press and customers,” Apple told The Wall Street Journal, explaining that Sony had used unrealistically low bit rate compression to fool readers into thinking that the Network Walkman holds more music than an iPod. In a separate interview with MacCentral, Apple’s Greg Joswiak noted that similar tricks would render the 20GB iPod capable of holding 40,000 songs, but “[t]hat’s something we would never claim because that’s just not something a customer would do.”
MacMinute is reporting that “IDG, the company behind Macworld and more than 300 other publications, will soon launch iPodworld—a magazine dedicated to Apple’s iPod, iTunes and iTunes Music Store. iPodworld will feature iPod and music news, previews of upcoming products, software and hardware reviews, digital lifestyle how-to articles, and reviews of music available from the iTunes Music Store. It is not yet clear whether the magazine, which will be available on newsstands in August, will be a single issue, quarterly or monthly. IDG and Mac Publishing also plan to launch and heavily promote an iPod news Web site to support the new magazine.”
In “This Is London”, Mark Prigg, Evening Standard Technology Correspondent writes: “The Government today issued a warning over internet “pyramid” selling scams as sites such as eBay are being targeted by con artists.
But the offers are usually a scam with extremely small print, which reveals that the buyer will not get an iPod but simply a link to a website where they must pay to join a waiting list.
The buyer will only get an iPod when they reach the top of the list - and they will only move up it by getting other people to join - a scam similar to the pyramid selling schemes popular in the Eighties.
But the chances of getting to the top of the list are very remote - and in some cases non-existent because many of the websites are fakes.”
The Mac Observer reports “for the sixth straight year, Apple Computer has taken home another I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review award, this time for its iPod packaging.
Calling Apple’s iPod packaging ‘flawless,’ ‘inventive,’ and ‘utterly consistent with what we’ve come to expect,’ the judges awarded Apple with a ‘design distinction’ accolade. The judges praised the packaging of the original, white iPod for its ‘egg-carton’ design that slowly reveals the product.”
“Companies should consider banning portable storage devices such as Apple’s iPod from corporate networks as they can be used to introduce malware or steal corporate data, according to an analyst.
Small portable storage products can bypass perimeter defences like firewalls and antivirus at the mailserver, and introduce malware such as Trojans or viruses onto company networks, claimed analyst Gartner in a report issued this week. Analysts have warned for some time of the dangers of using portable devices, but the report points out these also now include ‘disk-based MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPod, and digital cameras with smart media cards, memory sticks, compact flash and other memory media.’”
iPod Hacks reports that Tim Monroe, a member of Apple’s QuickTime engineering team, recently wrote a how-to article titled “Snow Day: Developing QuickTime Applications for the iPod” in the April 2004 issue (vol. 20, no. 4) of MacTech Magazine. “In the article, Tim dispells the widely held belief that the iPod is a closed system and that writing custom applications for the device requires expensive and hard to obtain development tools. As the reader is taken through the process of developing an application from the ground up that will perform QuickTime movie playback on the iPod’s screen, it becomes clear that the iPod is a viable development platform indeed.” Unfortunately, the article turned out to be nothing more than a late-arriving April Fools joke, but an amusing one nonetheless.
MacMinute reports Apple’s iPod “Silhouette” advertising campaign has won a Media Lion Award at the 51st annual Cannes Lions Festival, which celebrates the best in international advertising, marketing and creativity. The iPod campaign included TV, outdoor, print and in-store advertising and was honored in the “Young Adults (18-34)” category, reports Apple UK.
MacNewsWorld interviewed Dr. Michael Bull or “Professor iPod”, a lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK who is studying the cultural impact of iPods and other digital music technology. MNW asked Dr. Bull, “What kinds of questions did you ask the people who responded?” “I gave them a 32-page questionnaire that included questions about their playlist, what they like best about their iPod, what they don’t like. I asked how they listen to music, how they select music in relationship to mood, and about relationships they have to their environment and other people when they’re listening. I’m quite interested in how people manage their relationships through technology,” Dr. Bull also noted, “Nearly all are amazingly positive about the machine,” but the battery was a huge negative.
Jim Dalrymple of MacCentral.com talked with Apple and BMW executives about the recent release of an iPod integration adapter. “We are beginning a really big push into a world we all spend a lot of time in—our cars,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, told MacCentral. “So many people invest in great cars that have great stereos, but one thing they don’t have is access to their music library. Now you can put your iPod in your BMW or Mini and have all of your music everywhere you go.” Phil Schiller also noted that this is the first of many more partnerships.
“We know that a lot of BMW owners are people that achieve success early in life—they are work hard, play hard kind of people and they adopt new technologies that help them save time or empower them,” said Jim McDowell, vice president marketing BMW North America. “We knew when we saw the iPod come out that it was something that would appeal to a lot of BMW owners.”
Editor’s note: Apple and BMW claim to be the first to provide a complete in-car audio solution, but we beg to differ. Dension was the first company to offer iPod integration with their ICE-Link Auto Integration Kit, and it’s available for many car models.
Apple has been nominated for three Cannes Lions Awards at the 51st International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France. Apple is up for awards for its billboard announcement of Apple Store Ginza, Japan, its joint “Pod’s Unite” ad promotion with Volkswagen in the U.S., and its media marketing for the iPod and its billboard ads. “Over 16,000 ads from across the world are showcased at the event, which also offers seminars from industry leaders.”
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MacMinute reports that “in an interview with Neil McIntosh of The Guardian, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the iPod is no longer meant to lead PC users to switch to the Mac platform. ‘We brought the iPod to Windows. That was a big decision. That was basically a decision not to use the iPod to drive people to Macs,” Jobs said after Tuesday’s iTunes event in Europe. ‘We’re going to use it as a music device, and we’re going to put it on Windows. The majority of iPods we sell are used on Windows.’”
Apple knocked $20 off the factory-refurbished iPod 20GB to $279. 30GB and 40GB models were also dropped to $319 and $379, respectively. All come with a one-year warranty and shipping id free.