Update: 42% report 4G iPod audio problems | iLounge News


Update: 42% report 4G iPod audio problems

picHaving problems with your fourth-generation (4G) iPod? You’re not alone. Three weeks after the release of Apple’s newest iPods, iLounge readers have reported that approximately 42% of their 4G units have manifested an audio defect identified by iLounge, while others have complained of receiving soiled or physically damaged hardware. The problems affect new-in-box 20 Gigabyte and 40 Gigabyte iPod models sold with a Click Wheel control system. Click “Read more” below for additional details.

On July 26, 2004, iLounge first reported the audio defect, which causes several seconds of static and hard drive sounds to overlap music played back through the 4G iPod’s headphone jack. A testing method to determine the presence or absence of the defect in a particular 4G iPod is available here.

Two days later, after iLounge provided two defective iPods to Apple at its request for testing, an update to the original story was posted, noting additional findings and addressing reader concerns. At the time, iLounge noted that 36.5% of responding readers had discovered the same problem with their new 4G iPods, while 63.5% reported no problems.

iLounge asked users with 4G iPods to post comments to these earlier stories indicating their positive or negative test results. Of the hundreds of responses received from users around the world, approximately 42% reported the audio defect in one or more of the 4G iPods they purchased or received in exchange. Users are asked to consolidate all of their future comments under the Comments box below for easier tracking

Notably, while some who have exchanged their iPods have received fully working replacements, others have not. Some replacement units, including one of iLounge’s two replacement iPods, continue to exhibit problems. Even after ordering iPods directly from Apple online and cooperating with the company to provide defective units for testing, iLounge was offered only an Apple Store credit, and not a full refund, when its third defective iPod was returned and the store had no units in stock for replacement purposes.

Apple has not provided updated information to enable prospective or affected 4G iPod owners to address their concerns. Based on numerous reader requests for follow-up, iLounge has made several formal requests for comment from Apple’s iPod team, and the company has not commented on the record since the end of July. Since then, iLounge readers have noted a variety of other issues affecting small numbers of 4G iPods, including dented rear metal casings, and scratches and sticky substances on the plastic front casings and Click Wheels of some units.

Given the apparent scope of these problems, and absent confirmation from Apple that any or all of them have been resolved, iLounge reluctantly but strongly cautions its readers to purchase their 4G iPods only from retailers with complete return policies, or to hold off until Apple confirms that the issues are being addressed.

Related Stories



No problems at all with my 20GB 4G iPod. No static, no marks, no dents, no nothing. I bought it at a local Best Buy about a week after they came out. I’ve done the audio test by ripping 5 Metallica tracks using Apple Lossless and cranked the volume up. I could feel the harddrive kick in as it loaded each song, but I heard nothing but music. I listen to my iPod using Sony EX71 ear phones. Not as good as some that people here use, but much better than the Apple supplied ones.

As for the 42%, I highly doubt that is true for overall 4G iPod owners. That is the percentage of people here on iPodLounge.

There are less than 28,000 members here and I just checked and Apple reporting selling 807,000 iPods in the second queart of 2004 alone. I have no idea how many total iPods have been sold, but it must be in the millions. So, even just taking the figure for a single quarter, iPodLoungers account for less than 4% of that total. So, 42% of 4% is less than 2%.

The vast majority of iPod owners don’t even know of iPodLounge much less took part in that survey. Most people don’t bother going to forums about their products unless they are having problems with it and are seeking out advice/solutions.

Posted by Shadow on August 19, 2004 at 10:56 AM (CDT)


People question if the problem can really be this widespread. Based on my three bad 40g in a row from different stores, statistical analasys would posit that it is even worse a situation than reported.

Posted by mike on August 19, 2004 at 10:56 AM (CDT)


What ipodlounge doesn’t say: I phoned apple twice, and two independent technical reps told me that the static problem has been corrected in the new ipods.  I emailed ipodlounge about this, and they never posted it.

Posted by jklj on August 19, 2004 at 11:00 AM (CDT)


I’m on my 3rd 4G 20GB I-pod.  They all do the same thing, they “lock-up” with the “Do not disconnect” screen and won’t reset.

I got mine from an Apple store.  They are “loath” to give me a full refund.  They just keep replacing mine with another one.

My 3rd one just did the same thing today.  It’s back to the Apple store again, tonight.  All of them work for about a day or two and then “hang”.  I’ve spent about $30 in gas just returning these things.

Think I won’t be so nice this time!

Posted by graphicguy on August 19, 2004 at 11:04 AM (CDT)


I have the whirring and static problem with my 20GB G4.  Headphones are Etymotic ER-4P.  The problem completely disappears when I pull the plug a fraction of an inch out of the headphone jack.  It is definitely a defect.  I bought from Amazon and am not sure that I will go to the hassle of a return.

Posted by Bob Goatse on August 19, 2004 at 11:13 AM (CDT)



I’ve had your “sound blip” Issue with my 3G 40GB as well, and received no real answer as well.  Maybe we can get a bug in Apple’s ear about this issue as well.

As for ideas about 4G static issues, can someone check out the headphone difference, even if it’s miniscule between the 3G/4G? I know the 3G has that plastic / rubber coating on the outside at the jack connector, perhaps the 4G uses a different material or less material which would help explain Randal-NY’s results with the scotch tape.  I don’t own a 4G, so I can’t compare on my own but if someone would like to try / investigate I’m sure it would be an interesting angle to look at.

Posted by SpeedNut in Allentown, PA on August 19, 2004 at 11:18 AM (CDT)


Well, my 40GB iPod is being replaced by apple for this problem. Waiting for it to ship back to me. *crosses fingers*

Posted by GoodFellas on August 19, 2004 at 11:21 AM (CDT)


Apple never has, and apparently never will, understand quality control. Sad.

Posted by webdog on August 19, 2004 at 11:24 AM (CDT)


Well, I’ve had my 4g 20gb ipod for a few weeks now…and have had no problems…I also have two friends who bought the same one with no problems…performed the test on all three.

Posted by riffraff on August 19, 2004 at 11:35 AM (CDT)


i ordered my 4g 40GB the day it was announced and it died 2 weeks after i received it. The battery was fully charged and it was not on hold ad the clickwheel would do nothing to wake it. Took it into the Apple Store in Pasadena California and they replaced it on the spot with a replacement. The new one has vertical rainbow streaks on the LCD face and does have the chirp problem when advancing, but at least it has not died. YET….

Posted by chris on August 19, 2004 at 11:47 AM (CDT)


Tested my 40 gb bought directly from Apple. No static problems, but I do notice it does sometimes play the last second or so of the previous song before playing a song I select. Didn’t have that problem on my 3g.

Posted by eric r on August 19, 2004 at 11:50 AM (CDT)


My first 20GB came with the sticky residue on the wheel and after 3 days of perfect performace it would no longer respond w/o a soft reset every time I went to use it.

My current 20GB is so far so good after 5 days.

Posted by VD on August 19, 2004 at 11:51 AM (CDT)


I traded my 15G to 20G (4G) yesterday at Best Buy.  I don’t have any problems with the audio.  In fact, it sounds more clear in my car using my Itrip than my old 15G.  I also notice that when I use my headphones, it’s much clearer and louder which is good.  So far, no problems yet.  I love Best Buy, they have good customer service.  They let me trade my old one to a 4G.  So far, I’m loving my 20G, wish they have new covers for them.

Posted by hellokittypod in Seattle on August 19, 2004 at 11:52 AM (CDT)


American corporations search the globe for the cheapest possible labor. No wonder quality and production issues pop up. When I checked the FedEx tracking number after ordering my 20GB 4G iPod I was troubled to learn that my iPod was shipping from China. It seems ironic that a company like Apple that sybolizes innovation and creative freedom would utilize the labor pool from a country with a oppressive government. That said, I have not experienced the forementioned issues with my iPod. It seems to be working properly.

Posted by Greg on August 19, 2004 at 12:00 PM (CDT)


i have the problem… i’ll bet a lot more people have this problem too and just don’t realize it (yet).  you cannot notice the problem with the cheap earbuds that are provided with the pod.  apple’s selling damaged goods and we need to *DEMAND* a recall

Posted by faze on August 19, 2004 at 12:34 PM (CDT)


I had the audio problem and a slightly misaligned clickwheel on my 40GB.  The iPod was ordered the day it was announced.  So I sent the unit back to Apple and got a brand new one a week later with no problems at all.

Posted by madjinx on August 19, 2004 at 12:39 PM (CDT)


just my $0.02….

i’m on my second, soon to be third, 20GB 4G ipod because of noise issues.  my observations:

- the problem is worst with the apple in-ear headphones, and it’s still very noticible with the included earbuds.  i’ve tried other earbuds, and the noise is even more faint.  it can barely be heard in my two sets of large headphones (sony/AKG), and if these were my main headphones for the ipod, i probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

- i can hear the noise with the volume of music set to *nothing* (i.e. no sound)

- the best way to replicate it (for me):  play some music, set the volume to the lowest possible setting, hit pause, and skip forward/backward.  whenever the drive spins up, there’s an electronic whine accompanied by a brief burst of static.  (bonus fun:  do the same, but play the “music quiz” game, which spins the disk up pretty frequently.)

i’m just trying to post some neutral observations.  hope someone finds this useful.

Posted by david on August 19, 2004 at 12:44 PM (CDT)


I’m by no mean an apple user, I’m actually pretty big on PCs and Windows, but I think its really funny to listent o everyone bash on Apple.  Customer service should be a top priority to any major company, but this just seems a bissle ridiculous, maybe they are just hoping that everyone who currently has a 4g ipod will just stop using their Lossless thingamajig and get back to basics…mp3s?

Posted by robbiesan in Arlingotn, VA on August 19, 2004 at 1:17 PM (CDT)


Also, the lounge needs to be weary of reporting that 42% of users are having this issue… all that it means is that 42% of 4G ipod users who are on ipodlounge are having this problem, which probably doesnt compare to the number of people who own 4G ipods… this way of reporting this statistic is bogus and needs to be re-written.

Posted by robbiesan in Arlingotn, VA on August 19, 2004 at 1:37 PM (CDT)


I agonized over purchasing one when I saw this problem first reported…. but ultimately decided to roll the dice… and ended up losing.

Now after 2 ipods with the audio defect, I’m a bit torn over what to do.  Part of me wants to say “just deal with it, it sounds great after the first couple seconds,” but damn, those few seconds are so annoying!

The fact that some people received replacements that did not have the defect gives me hope that I will eventually get a properly functioning ipod, so I’m gonna give it another roll. 

Oh, and robbiesan—it’s not lossless that’s causing the problem.  ANY time the hard drive spins, even when it’s filling the memory buffer with 128kbps mp3’s, it makes the noise.

Posted by MJB on August 19, 2004 at 2:09 PM (CDT)

Page 3 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy