Today in Apple history: iPod gets a new Click Wheel

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The fourth-generation iPod brought key improvements like the Click Wheel, but still left some people disappointed.
The fourth-generation iPod brought key improvements, but still left some people disappointed.
Photo: National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution/Flickr CC

July 19: Today in Apple history: Fourth-generation iPod gets Click Wheel interface July 19, 2004: The fourth-generation iPod brings neat innovations to the popular audio device, including the Click Wheel interface recently introduced on the iPod mini.

“The best digital music player just got better,” says Steve Jobs on the day the product launches. And yet some people feel disappointed.

HomePod 2 concept brings iPod click wheel to Apple’s speaker

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HomePod
Which HomePod would you pick?
Photo: Martin Hajek

Apple’s new HomePod is flying off shelves with shipping times already slipping, but some Apple fans are already dreaming up what the next generation HomePod will look like.

Concept designer Martin Hajek published a beautiful new set of renders that imagine what HomePod might look like if Apple expands the product category to include larger and smaller versions of the HomePod just like with the iPhone. One of the mockups even brings back the iPod’s iconic click wheel.

Take a look:

The real reason iPhone didn’t inherit iPod’s click-wheel UI

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iPhonealternate
Yep, this is how the iPhone could have looked -- had project P1 taken off.
Photo: Apple

Former Apple VP Tony Fadell has dispelled the popular rumor that Apple had two rival teams working on different user interfaces for the first prototype iPhone.

Video of two prototype operating system builds for the original iPhone surfaced this week as Apple celebrated the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. One of the UIs proposed adopted the iPod’s click wheel interface and, according to Fadell, it actually worked really well.

There was just one problem: It sucked at making calls.

This is the iPod-style UI originally built for iPhone

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Good thing Apple didn't ship this.
Good thing Apple didn't ship this.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

The original iPhone nearly came with a digital click wheel that mimicked the iPod’s interface, according to video of an alleged prototype running the software that has not previously been made public.

Former Apple engineers confirmed in the past that Apple created a click-wheel-based solution for the iPhone’s software during the early stages of development, but until now, no one outside Apple had seen what it looked like.

Apple Ordered To Pay $3.3 Million For Infringing On Japanese Inventor’s Click Wheel Patents

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ipod_clickwheel_games

Apple was hit with a Y330 million (about $3.3 million) bill  by the Tokyo District Court on Thursday after the company was found guilty of patent infringement. Japanese inventor Norihiko Saito was awarded by Presiding Judge Teruhisa Takano after the court ruled that Mr. Saito’s patent, which had been filed in 1998, covered technology for the Click Wheel controller Apple added to the iPod back in 2004.

One Glorious Decade: An Ode to the iPod Click Wheel

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The iPod Click Wheel’s days seem numbered at Apple.  With the iPod nano having abandoned tactile functionality for a touchscreen (and iWatch emulation), and the iPod shuffle never having earned the honor, only the iPod Classic (itself a senior citizen) now sports the versatile, groundbreaking interface.

Many a jogger, commuter or pocket-iPod user has spent countless hours twirling the Click Wheel dial and listening to music – not to mention playing Brickles!

Or sometimes, you make music with the Click Wheel.  As nostalgically shown by Matt and Keith over at Matt’s Macintosh (who clearly seems to be enjoying his Final Cut Pro workstation)!