This is something that I have been wanting to mention for a while, but have not found the proper existing thread to post. So here I am! I wanted to explore the 4G iPod and it's significance in the market. I feel that the significance of this iPod goes beyond the changes in it's physical form since the previous generation. Despite the exclusion of buttons (and 1mm of thickness) there is very little new to the appearance of the iPod. There are some who feel that the 4G iPod is nothing more than a 3.5G iPod. Naturally, I would disagree. The significance of this upgrade is Apple's understanding of market dynamics in the following areas: product simplicity, brand recognition/loyalty, and average product lifespan. Firstly, the removal of the buttons. Not only did the buttons pose some curious issues for ergonomics and one-handed operation, they were visually distracting from the design of the iPod overall. They always seemed out-of-place. By removing them, they revisited the design of the now nostalgic 1G and 2G iPods. The new design will enhance usability (though I am somewhat skeptical as to the lifespan of the Click Wheel). The simpler the product (with equal power) will attract a larger audience; and Apple knows this. Secondly, brand recognition/loyalty. Apple and HP announced the other day that the delay in the unveiling of the "hPod" was due to the fact that they would wait for 4G instead of continuing to produce the 3G as the hPod. (which is contratry to what I had suspected, but that is a different story) Apple has created an amazing amound of brand/product recognition for the iPod. However, many first-timers are unsure about Apple, and this device. By licensing it to HP, Apple now has an entirely new revenue stream and an entirely new set of loyal customers. HP has an incredible brand loyalty in my experience. Finally, and *most* importantly is Apple's consideration of average product lifespan. We Mac-heads are used to Apple reinventing the wheel every 6-12months. For a product like the iPod, this cannot be. Apple has taken a break, and has decided the rest of the industry catch up... not with competing products, but with accessories. Accessories drive iPod sales as well. They add features that Apple did not include, but moreover, make the iPod more usable on a day-to-day basis (i.e. iTrip, Belkin's Battery Pack, a variety of software apps, and a plethora of cases). Each of these additional items make the iPod easier to add to one's lifestyle, and each of those items takes time. They take time to design, manufacture, advertise, ship, etc. When Apple jumped from 1/2G to 3G, the existing peripherals didn't make the jump too. That was a problem. However, with this full generation jump, existing peripherals will still work. That is a *huge* statement to those on the fence about buying a new one, or buying one for the first time. Older peripherals will work, newer ones will come... faster this time. It's a win-win situation for Apple and the iPod. Thoughts?