Update: 42% report 4G iPod audio problems

Having 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.

Update: 42% report 4G iPod audio problems

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.