Great review.

I have to disagree with you on the packagin graphics. You're right, it certainly doesn't showcase the product. From graphic design and marketing point of view, it successfully takes on a different concept entirely. The strong colors and bold graphics convey the excitement that music can inspire. I think it is a more emotional connection with music rather than a glorification of the product's industrial design. It's just a different take on how to present the iPod.

By the way, the photos of all the iPod generations packages missed one. While it represented boxes for each generations, it left out the boxes with musicians (Billy Holliday, Dizzy, Hendrix, etc). I believe that was later part of Gen1. Like this current packaging, it didn't showcase the product, but rather it attempted to convey the love of music.

Posted by Starboard on July 27, 2004 at 8:19 AM (PDT) Comment 41

You guys complain way too much. the whole purpose of an ipod is to be the best digital music player and the ipod is the best. I agree everything else is second. The click wheel is so you can get to your songs faster!! Who cares how it looks?!??!

An ipod is an ipod and that is final.

Posted by itsanipod!! on July 27, 2004 at 8:32 AM (PDT) Comment 42

I was wondering if you could update the review, checking if Smart Playlists using the "playlist" and/or "grouping" fields on the G4 can update independently of iTunes?
As you might know already, using those fields on a G3 Smart Playlist required syncing to update the playlist.

Posted by Egosphere on July 27, 2004 at 8:47 AM (PDT) Comment 43

hey everyone....i just ordered a mini ipod and im deciding if i should change my order to the 4th gen. 20 gb ipod with the new click wheel. I think it looks 10x better then the 3rd gen one....but i still think its a little big but now that i d/l itunes....neone have a suggestion if i should keep my green mini(that looks really good in person) or get the new ipod

Posted by steve z on July 27, 2004 at 9:10 AM (PDT) Comment 44

"Nate: It's less than 1mm thinner, actually only .04". Thanks for pointing that out, it's been addressed."

.04" is more than a millimeter. An inch is 25.4 mm.

Btw., I think Apple only wanted to decrease the price (quite significantly, I must add) while maintaining margins... And address the battery issue.

I have no idea when the next generation comes out, but right now the iPod really "ain't broke." I'd like to think that a vastly improved 5th generation is coming for Christmas, but the iPod is selling so well that I don't think we'll see a generation leap for a year or so.

Posted by puiz on July 27, 2004 at 9:17 AM (PDT) Comment 45

Im waiting til this audio static problem clears up before I order mine.

Posted by Andrew on July 27, 2004 at 9:25 AM (PDT) Comment 46

Just buy a Creative Zen - I have one and they are so much better than smelly iPods.

Posted by Micky on July 27, 2004 at 9:30 AM (PDT) Comment 47

Jeremy, great review but i would still like a slight idea on how it sounds through the line-out port on the dock as this will be how i will mostly use it. i've never owned/listened to an iPod before so saying it compares to a 3G model means nothing to me... currently using a Zen Xtra through the head phone socket which sounds good but if the iPod sounds better then i'll go buy one.

many thanks smile

Posted by daevh on July 27, 2004 at 9:53 AM (PDT) Comment 48

So static noise from the disk, same distorting crap equalizer, that's for the power users. My a$$. Real power users buy Rio Karma, not this noisey toy.

Posted by Sebhelyesfarku on July 27, 2004 at 10:28 AM (PDT) Comment 49

I was wondering if they improved the recording capability of the 4G iPods so that it isn't stuck with the crappy 8KHz sampling rate. Does anybody know? If they did, I will consider replacing my 1st-gen 5GB model. Otherwise, I may be stuck getting a player from another manufacturer that can actually do recording useful for a musician such as myself.

Posted by SuperMatt on July 27, 2004 at 10:50 AM (PDT) Comment 50

steve z,
Well, I thought about getting a mini, but my wife got me a 3G 4 months ago. I went back to the store to see if they had any minis available. When they didn't and said it would be a month or two, I kept my 3G. To tell you the truth, I don't think the mini is small enough to justify the very small hard drive. My new 4G seems small to me and holds all of my 4,000 songs easily. Plus, it fits in every pocket of every pair of pants I wear. I thought the mini (green especially) looked really cool, but my 4G is WAY more efficient and practical for me. I hate manually selecting what songs I want, and having to recharch 1 to 2 times a day... that's why I upgraded from 15bg to 4G 20gb. If you don't have more than 1,000 songs though, keep the mini... I mean, why not, you know. BUT, if you have a nice growing collection and you want the extra play time... the little size difference is WAY WORTH IT. Go get a 4G. In fact, I am really surprised how many people have or want the mini more than the original. For me, a hard drive digital player MUST hold ALL of my tunes or it isn't worth the price. That's my advice, and please take it or leave it. It's just my opinion. Hope it helps!

Posted by Curtis on July 27, 2004 at 11:01 AM (PDT) Comment 51

Guys, guys...!
You've got it all wrong! An iPod is NOT just a "music player", it is an icon, a design piece, and a feat of engineering that portrays the very essence of Apple Computers - i.e. "Think Different".

Furthermore, the package in which it is delivered is very important indeed because Apple is all about style, and that style must be maintained. The care put into the previous boxes says something about Apple. Even the way the perfect cube splits into two equal halves says "this is whole-hearted".

Finally is as with all of Apples product line-up; either love it, or you hate it...

Posted by Malte Eriksen on July 27, 2004 at 11:07 AM (PDT) Comment 52

I've enjoyed my new 4G 20gb iPod for the past several days and am very impressed with it over my 2G ipod. I'd filled up the 10gb of space that I had on my older unit, so it was time to upgrade. I find that it was worth the money to get charging over usb2 and better battery life than the 3G ipods. It was also worth it to finally get the ability to make on the go playlists.

Personally, I like the new screen better than the screen on my 2G unit. I also notice that the 4G unit *sounds better*. I don't know why...and perhaps the 3G would have sounded better than the 2G also.....but it sounds cleaner...crisper. I'm hearing stuff in my tunes that I didnt' know was there. Bass without the equalizer seems more punchy than it was on my 2G. FWIW, perhaps it's just doing a better job with VBR files?? I don't know, but this is my opinion from using Etymotic 4P canalphones and 192kb VBR mp3 files.

Perhaps if you have a 3G ipod, the 4G upgrade isn't worth it. But coming from a 2G ipod, the changes are very noticable to me.

Posted by cecirdr on July 27, 2004 at 11:23 AM (PDT) Comment 53

Great review. Focusing on every detail makes it a great review. If the reader doesn't care about the package, or design they can overlook that and factor their own overall score. But it's nice to know these details before purchasing.

Posted by theanticrust on July 27, 2004 at 12:36 PM (PDT) Comment 54

I just bought a 4gen 20gb and i have a black backlighting instead of blue
Anyone else have this?

Posted by Col on July 27, 2004 at 12:55 PM (PDT) Comment 55

Thanks for a great in-depth review.

I still do not understand why some people had troubles with the controls on 3G models, that helped necessitate the click-wheel. I've had mine for a year and never once had problems controlling it, neither have any of my friends. So I find it a backwards move to depart from a nearly solid state device.

I also find the grey circle plain ugly and not as functional as having clear indicator lights at night of where the buttons are.


Posted by Tim on July 27, 2004 at 3:06 PM (PDT) Comment 56

Thanks for a great in-depth review.

I still do not understand why some people had troubles with the controls on 3G models, that helped necessitate the click-wheel. I've had mine for a year and never once had problems controlling it, neither have any of my friends. So I find it a backwards move to depart from a nearly solid state device.

I also find the grey circle plain ugly and not as functional as having clear indicator lights at night of where the buttons are.


Posted by Tim on July 27, 2004 at 3:08 PM (PDT) Comment 57

Like many others here, I find the complaining about the packaging and the color of the click wheel a bit trivial. If those are the main complaints about the 4G units then Apple has nothing to worry about. I dismiss such comments as justification for having a 3G model when something newer at a lower price appears. Happens all the time in this ever-changing field.

To me the important thing is that I was in the market for a player and at $100 cheaper with some additional features this became a no brainer for me. I ordered one (a 40G/4G) as soon as they became available and am very impressed with the bang for the buck. As far as I can tell my unit doesn't exhibit the HD access noise and everything about this unit meets or exceeds my expectations.

If I already owned a 3G I would have to weigh how important things like increased battery performance, some firmware enhances, etc. are. My guess is that most people would stay put unless you have to have the latest toy. But since I just happened to be in the market for an iPod or similar when the 4Gs appeared it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Posted by RAF on July 27, 2004 at 3:55 PM (PDT) Comment 58

The lack of the case is a really bad oversight - iPod's get scratched so so easy.

Still - they are a fair bit cheaper. Although i feel less "special" owning one now everyone else does...

Posted by Dave on July 27, 2004 at 4:34 PM (PDT) Comment 59

In regards to the grey click whell, it actually looks quite elegant in person. I was worried about this until I actually had the unit in my hand.

As an aside, I've owned every generation of iPod and am just as impressed with this version as the others. It's a beauty. And it sounds fantastic.

Posted by Wes Priest on July 27, 2004 at 4:41 PM (PDT) Comment 60

Well, I've owned my G4 for about 2 days and I can say that I love it. I previously owned a 1G and 2G, happy with those, but really thought that scroll wheel alone was always best. In the end, it is about the music -- itunes has created ipod fanatics -- the more they sell the better the next generation of ipods will be.

Posted by Ted Delisi on July 27, 2004 at 6:50 PM (PDT) Comment 61

You guys who complain about people who complain too much are also complainers. (As am I, apparently!)


Posted by Mortimer on July 27, 2004 at 7:09 PM (PDT) Comment 62

I was hoping the shuffle option would shuffle the contents of the current selections, or just turn on/off shuffle. Instead, it completely changes your music selection to "random of anything on the drive." I'm really disappointed with mine. I miss my Gen3 :(

Posted by CcntMnky on July 27, 2004 at 7:33 PM (PDT) Comment 63

"And I think most of the people whining about the grey click wheel probably haven't seen one in person. And they probably have a 3G iPod. And they're probably looking for something to criticize so they don't feel bad about not having the latest model.

By MT on Jul 27, 04 9:21 am"

Exactly. I was telling my best friend about the new 4G iPods coming out at the beginning of last week, and he asked me what was different about it over the iPod he has (3G). I listed the upgrades to him and he said "well, I don't consider that an's just as iPod."

He probably genuinely doesn't care that my iPod is newer than his, but with him, you never know...when I decided to buy an Alienware Area-51m laptop earlier this year, he decided to as well. Then, when I got my system configured with a 3ghZ P4 Processor, he had his configured with a 3.4ghZ P4.

Posted by nusilver on July 27, 2004 at 7:56 PM (PDT) Comment 64

The Bad: Click Wheel works a bit better than it looks,

<== do you mean looks a bit better than it works? cause i cant see anything bad in that it works better than it looks... i think it looks good!!

Posted by Thomas on July 27, 2004 at 8:40 PM (PDT) Comment 65
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