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European iPod Buyers Decry Volume Limits

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Thursday, July 3, 2003
News Categories: iPod

There is considerable discussion on Apple’s iPods discussion boards from European owners of new iPods regarding volume limitors that are present in the European models—but not in US models.

Because of EU health regulations, European models are not capable of producing the same volume levels as their US brethern, causing considerable indignation from buyers who were not made aware of these limits.

Apple has not responded to any user feedback or comment on the subject, nor have any fixes been offered by the company or users.

iPod advertising, packaging and user information makes no note of these limits.

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Comments

81

Pac3r

just to clear one thing up. Its Communism, not Mcarthyism when the state decides what is best for you and me.

Posted by gozorak on July 6, 2003 at 5:51 AM (PDT)

82

@gozorak

so it was communists who were telling americans that the could not believe in communism during that period?

Um.

Think differently? != Think !This

Posted by Pac3r on July 6, 2003 at 8:59 AM (PDT)

83

Someone said something interesting in another thread:

“If you look at the 2.0.1 updater (in Windows) using a hex editor you can see somewhere the help for some command line switches, one of which is ‘/v Change volume on chip [0-9]’ - wonder how this is executed, hmm?”

So hex editor analysis of the 2.0.1 updater might be interesting !

Posted by carrott head on July 6, 2003 at 10:18 AM (PDT)

84

Oh for Christ’s sake - someone reverse engineer the bloody things and get this sorted.  I cannot believe there’s a Euro version and the rest of the world version of the IPOD - it’s just a software issue surely - some bright spark’s gotta sort this out and pronto.

I agree with the people who are complaining about this though - I really REALLY hate living in a nanny state where you can’t even take a dump without someone checking you out for piles.

Posted by Peddler on July 6, 2003 at 10:44 AM (PDT)

85

Wow..
Too Many Comments.
You Guys Calm Down..

Posted by 20GB iPod in Canada on July 6, 2003 at 12:02 PM (PDT)

86

Interesting you should say ‘nanny state’ - in the 2003 GCSE (for American’s that compulsory examinations for 15/16 yr olds in the UK) the English exam paper was on how America is the most paranoid nation when it comes to the subject of parenting. Apparently you can be arrested for leaving your kids in the car when buying petrol in some states?!!

Back on topic however, I doubt this volume limiting feature is hurting Apples sales nearly as much as some of you would have us believe. Weren’t Apple claiming over 1 million had been sold on the day of WWDC? I am surprised the iPod cannot be clever enough to only limit the volume to the iPod if the user is using French to navigate the menu’s/uses a French computer. Who knows, maybe in the next software update they’ll [apple] will wise up and do this.

BTW, has anyone actually read up on the French laws to confirm that is it only France that cares about lower volumes? In other words, has it actually been proven (or is it just people wishing to blame the French for everything!?) [sorry for the long post]

Posted by Alex on July 6, 2003 at 12:06 PM (PDT)

87

Maybe Apple will fix it on the next update but they are not saying that to people asking for refunds. So who knows ?

It is particularly infuriating that Apple are silent on this. They prefer to be silent at present and just accept a stream of people wanting refunds. God knows why ?

Posted by spudulike on July 6, 2003 at 12:17 PM (PDT)

88

Like Alex said, I should imagine that the number of returns is not excessive. Though if word gets out that it’s a wimpy walkman the lack of “cool” factor might well see this rise.

Can you imagine how infuriating it would be to spend that much money on a decent walkman and have a colleague comment that it looks great but they prefer to *listen* to music wink

Still a hack seems likely.

Pac3r

Posted by Pac3r on July 6, 2003 at 12:52 PM (PDT)

89

indeed. i will be using a hex editor tommorow and playing - hey its going back weds anyway!

Posted by troublemaker on July 6, 2003 at 4:10 PM (PDT)

90

I think the idea of reverse engineering, will be the only way that this thing gets fixed.

Good luck Troublemaker.  Let us know what you find?

Posted by Tony on July 6, 2003 at 4:59 PM (PDT)

91

Alex my good friend I agree that we here in the US are lurching further and further toward Nannydom. Its a sad state of affairs I admit but holding parents accountable for child safety is not nearly as bad as being told and forced to listen to personal music at a volume proscribed by a volume Nazi. But then again we have food and health Nazi’s here so its not an AMerican versus European delima. Its about freedom. There are lifestyle fascists here and over there. It is our task as freedom loving individuals to stand up to these ninny nannies and tell them to mind their own P & Q’s. So all of you nannies out there put that in your pipe and smoke it. Oh, sorry that might get you arrested.

Posted by gozorak on July 6, 2003 at 6:42 PM (PDT)

92

Pac3 my good friend. Whatever you might think about Joe Mcarthey and his witch hunts for commies in the US government and entertainment industries(they were there of course and of course McCarthey went too far), the House Unamerican Activities Committee or whatever it was called didnt tell you where you would work, where you would live, how much food you would have, how many children you could have, what music you could listen too, what books you could read, etc, etc. Uncle Joe Stalin however did make these decisions for those poor souls who lived under his boot.

Posted by gozorak on July 6, 2003 at 6:48 PM (PDT)

93

indeed i shall.

out of sheer anger at the way apple have been handling this product - be it this absurd volume cap, the “is it white, is it blue” screen lights or the breaking remote cables they have a right to admit openly and in an adult manner their “teething troubles” with the product.

I reckon if they are setting the value of the chip (by the look of the makers specs it is simply a voltage issue) in hex on the updater then it should be relatively easy to manipulate. i WAS told by apple UK it was firmware, and i doubt there is hardware differences between the models!

anyway….......lets see.

Posted by troublemaker on July 6, 2003 at 10:50 PM (PDT)

94

@troublemaker

It would drive the manufacturing costs of the iPod too high, if there were hardware differences which are based on the geographical location of the purchaser. On the other hand, it appears from Apple’s logistics web-site that units are manufactured on request (hence, knowing the country it is shipped to, just like most car companies work). But it is quite easy to set the region code in flash memory (two letters following the model number in the about-box) at the end of the production line.

@all electrical engineers
If the volume is simply controlled by setting the voltage, then US iPods (using a higher voltage) would have a shorter uptime, i.e. it consumes more battery power.

@all electrical engineers
Could this way of controlling voltage also explain the distortion on music with a lot of bass-frequencies. Using the hip-hop EQ setting, for instance. I.e. the amplifier cannot “generate” sufficient power to drive the headphone.

In our quest for a perfect iPod…

mage

Posted by mage on July 7, 2003 at 2:54 AM (PDT)

95

@gozorak

We’re not really in the right place for that debate.

Suffice to say that if Apple’s flagship product were called Stalintosh I’d be making use of any reference wink

Still, in my experience the most egregious wrongs are those commited on me and those I love… However petty those wrongs might be in the greater scale of things.

Pac3r

Posted by Pac3r on July 7, 2003 at 7:26 AM (PDT)

96

Someone please check out registry settings:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER / software / apple computer, inc / ipod / UserReg


UK country code is 826. What is US country code ?

Posted by macintosh on July 7, 2003 at 8:56 AM (PDT)

97

I have also recieved confirmation from Apple Support ppl that infact there is a volume cap in european versions—- this is both from Apple support Ireland and Apple support Taiwan ( from where I am getting my new non european version soon )...

I think its good that this subject gets the attention it deserves - and to all u people who are happy with ur iPODs and are telling us unhappy Europeans to shut up - come on think twice before u make complete fools of urselves.

We are here to try and teach Apple the error of their ways - and thous make a good product ( EU version ) great !!!

Posted by Sam Jones on July 7, 2003 at 3:48 PM (PDT)

98

What is the Apple UK helpdesk number? I can’t seem to locate it in my packaging. I want to call to voice my dissatisfaction as well. Thanks.

Posted by Sam Martin on July 8, 2003 at 1:29 AM (PDT)

99

Die Apple die !!!

Posted by silver pedestal on July 8, 2003 at 1:49 AM (PDT)

100

0870 8760753 .... I phoned them yesterday and they were not able to confirm which Euorpean law the sound level conforms too. They wouldn’t take my ipod back as it is about 5 weeks old and said I would need to talk to the company I purchased it from (John Lewis).

Posted by Rich on July 8, 2003 at 2:16 AM (PDT)

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