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Apple releases iPod update with maximum volume limit

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
News Categories: iPod

In response to recent concerns of potential hearing loss, Apple has announced an iPod software update that provides the ability to set a personal maximum volume limit on the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The version 1.1.1 update also gives parents the ability to set a volume limit on their child’s iPod and lock it with a combination code. Update: An iLounge tutorial on the new feature is now available online.

Much attention has been paid recently to possible hearing problems caused by iPods. A Northwestern University professor and audiologist said in December that the type of earbud headphones that come with iPods can cause serious hearing loss. Apple was even sued by an iPod owner earlier this year who claims that the device causes hearing loss and Apple does not properly warn users of this danger. Apple has now set up a Sound and Hearing page on its site explaining audio volume and how to “listen responsibly.”

“As the leading provider of digital music players, Apple continuously brings iPod customers innovative and easy to use solutions,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “With the increased attention in this area, we want to offer customers an easy to use option to set their own personal volume limit.”

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Comments

21

The most annoying bug for me is the bug that prevents the use of the 5G iPod’s hold switch when you have the iPod radio remote connected.

It is sad that Apple does not support the older iPod models. I can see the next iPod update for the older iPods coming out when an issue with the FairPlay/iTMS is discovered.

Posted by Daveoc64 on March 29, 2006 at 9:28 AM (PDT)

22

Does anyone have any info about the other “bug fixes” that are included in this update? I don’t care about the volume governor, but I’d like to see two fixes for the 5G video iPods:

- eliminate the jerkiness in menu/screen motion during song playback

- adjustable brightness for the color screen (instead of just backlight on/off)

Probably some other tweaks needed, but these are the chief ones.

Posted by CT on March 29, 2006 at 9:32 AM (PDT)

23

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a variety of videos and music on my ipod all with varying volume levels. Some would be too quiet if in limited mode for whoever was listening. On the other hand, if the volume was adjusted for the quietest of these sources, many others would be dangerously loud.

Yes, I know I could use a program to normalize the volume levels or use Apples “sound check”, but I don’t like wasting my time or battery power.

I believe most people leave the source volumes alone and adjust accordingly while listening. Although this new feature may save ones hearing, I find this caveat not worth the annoyance and/or performance tradeoff.

I won’t use this feature, but all-in-all I can’t blame Apple for adding it, and I’m certain there will be some that find it beneficial.

Posted by slappe in Wisconsin, USA on March 29, 2006 at 9:32 AM (PDT)

24

I swear, people want to take no personal responsibility whatsoever.  It should be common sense that if you play your music loud, your hearing could be at risk.  This has been a known fact since headphones were invented.  Nobody tried sueing Sony when the Walkman became popular…  People are just cry babies these days and will try anything to blame a company for their own personal actions and will do anything to try to extort money from companies like Apple.  This feature add-on is a joke but it is a necessary feature add-on for Apple to show that they “care” and to cover their butts in court.  Unfortunately, I bet if Apple was sued and this update was never released, the people would win the case somehow.  I agree with the poster that PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is the ultimate product that would prevent hearing loss and it is available to everyone.  Problem is, nobody wants to use it because responsibility is almost no where to be found in society today.

Posted by Teqnilogik on March 29, 2006 at 9:39 AM (PDT)

25

Lord, I’m sick of all the whiners here.

WE ARE ALL SO LUCKY THAT APPLE EVEN UPDATES THEIR MUSIC PLAYER!

I’ve gone through so many MP3 players before getting my ipod (Sony, Philips, Dell), all full with shotty software and bugs…did they ever release updates every few months? I don’t think so.
God, some of you are just born to be miserable all the time.
Shesh.

And this update is awesome, so many times I’ve accidentally touched the click wheel and it turned the volume to full.
smile

Posted by David on March 29, 2006 at 9:50 AM (PDT)

26

now i’m just wating for an update to inverse the ipod’s white backlit screen :-D ...similar to how it looks when connected to the ipod hifi.

Posted by sdca on March 29, 2006 at 9:55 AM (PDT)

27

Don’t forget to wear your iDumb listening helmet.

Posted by SNM on March 29, 2006 at 10:16 AM (PDT)

28

Beware, people.  iPodObserver reports there MAY be a serious problem installing this update.  They say they tested it on a 4GB nano and the update “deleted all of the files and music that were on the iPod, and left it unmountable.”

Posted by Stymyx on March 29, 2006 at 10:26 AM (PDT)

29

OH! OH! WHO’S GOOD?? WHO?? That’s right, Wolfy!!

Last debate about iPod being too loud, I SO came up with this idea. C’mon somebody has to remember!! This is a VERY cool update!!

David is right. PEOPLE STOP WHINING! Music is music. If you don’t hear it it doesn’t exist. This way all this crap about stupid people hurting their ears will stop, and I can finally not have to worry about bumping the wheel to high and hurting my headphones or my ears.

Posted by Werewolf on March 29, 2006 at 10:42 AM (PDT)

30

I’ve installed the update now, and have a few notes. I’ve seen no problems so far and it seems to fix the endless star-ratings screen bug. The new volume limiter works as advertised and you can set a maximum volume with or without a code lock. I think this feature could prove handy in a variety of situations, including the mentioned one of just preventing yourself from accidentally spinning the volume up to painful levels - I’ve done that a few times myself! I have never needed to set the volume past the halfway point at the most, so why not limit the volume to halfway and avoid a potential headache? If the need should ever arise to go higher than that, such as plugging in less efficient headphones or a noisier environment, I can easily enough move the maximum back up.

Posted by sjonke in Maryland, US on March 29, 2006 at 10:45 AM (PDT)

31

All you people talking about personal responsibility:

THIS IS FOR KIDS.

It’s a take-it-or-leave-it update.  For those with kids, it’s likely very well-received.

Don’t use Apple’s updates as your opportunity to rant.  It’s dumb.

Posted by Justin on March 29, 2006 at 10:49 AM (PDT)

32

I still don’t understand APPLE.  Is it that hard for them to mention the exact bugs being fixed and new features added?  MAKE A DARN UPDATE LOG!  They only mention some bugs fix and I WANT TO KNOW EXACT WHICH BUGS THE FIXED.  They like to keep us guessing I guess.  STUPID!

Posted by honestgigi on March 29, 2006 at 10:52 AM (PDT)

33

Hey man, there’s a Preamp slider in iTunes but I don’t know how to use it.  Can one of you l33ts show me?  TIA!!

Posted by iCrackpipe on March 29, 2006 at 11:12 AM (PDT)

34

This update is merely in response to Apples pending lawsuit with a person who experienced hearing loss from alleged over-exposure to loud music… When the consumer is the one with the control over the volume. How dumb are you that people do not understand this concept? Blaring music everyday for ten hours equals hearing loss! This makes me so angry. I am an emergency/trauma RN/BSN and I see (every day!) people doing stupid things to themselves… This does not mean that Apple is in any way responsible for someone else’s sheer stupidity. I will even go as far as to equate this (in a very loose fashion) with the woman who literally won millions from McDonalds when she scalded her nether regions after putting scalding hot coffee between her legs. “McDonalds never told me that the coffee was hot?… This update is ridiculous. I’m not going to say that people “deserve” what they get (because that is just flat out wrong), But if you are that flat out stupid not to control the volume of your ipod, then you just don’t deserve to own one… Period!

Posted by Larry on March 29, 2006 at 11:15 AM (PDT)

35

OMG PEOPLE SHUT UP!! What a bunch of whining sissy nerds! This is a good update. I’ve based my whole life on music so I really need my ears and it bugs me so much when the volume gets bumped up. I know, there’s a hold switch for that but I often forget to use it. This update not only makes things more convenient for people who use their iPods all the time but it also does a lot for the parents of kids my age. I’m 14 and my friends all play their music up to the highest level possible and end up blowing out their headphones. If I was a parent I would be worried!! Nobody said you have to use this update and nobody said that you needed it. It’s there if you want it. I HATE people bashing crap on the internet like this. Especially on a site like iLounge. Can’t you guys just appreciate the fact that Apple is working to make their awesome products even better? 


Bite Me

Posted by Werewolf on March 29, 2006 at 11:23 AM (PDT)

36

Hey wouldja lookit that… there’s PAGES on the comments now! lol That’s interesting….

Posted by Werewolf on March 29, 2006 at 11:26 AM (PDT)

37

You didn’t have to tell us you are 14, Werewolf.  We can tell by your coments.  Especially the one about telling everybody here to shut up.

This is an area for DISCUSSION.  That’s what we’re doing.

Do you go to movie theaters and complain that movies are being shown there?

Posted by Stymyx on March 29, 2006 at 11:35 AM (PDT)

38

I think Apple should dedicate an entire website to this issue, since they invented headphones and abuse of the volume knob has become so rampant.  Perhaps they could model it after Phillip Morris’ anti-smoking website.

Posted by icough on March 29, 2006 at 11:44 AM (PDT)

39

“Nobody tried sueing Sony when the Walkman became popular.”

Wrong.

BTW, I just love how people whine about “whiners.”

Posted by Goleck on March 29, 2006 at 12:16 PM (PDT)

40

Apple is known for the lack in support to thier products. especially iPods. Why? so they can make new ones and sell them back to you. Well, i am sick of this myself. I’ve already bought 2 ipods in my lifetime, one of which is the latest 5G ipod. Now they are talking about making a phone ipod. I mean give me a break. Is your 5G video ipod 1 year old yet?

Posted by iSick on March 29, 2006 at 12:41 PM (PDT)

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