A History of The iPod 0 replies

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#1 15 years ago

Heres a little something i found on the internet highway ;)


First announced on October 23, 2001, the original iPod cost $399 with a 5 GB hard drive. Critics panned the unit's price, but iPod proved an instant hit in the marketplace, quickly overtaking earlier hard drive MP3 players such as the Nomad Jukebox. Apple announced a 10 GB version ($499) in March 2002.

Apple designed a mechanical scroll wheel and outsourced the implementation and development to Synaptics, a firm that also developed the trackpad used by many laptops, including Apple's PowerBooks. The 1G iPod featured four buttons (Menu, Play/Pause, Back, and Forward) arranged around the circumference of the scroll wheel. Although superseded by nonmechanical "touch" and "click" wheels, the circular controller design has become a prominent iPod motif.

SECOND GENERATION Introduced on July 17, 2002, at Macworld in 10 GB and 20 GB capacities, the second generation iPod replaced the mechanical scroll wheel of the original with a touch-sensitive, nonmechanical one (manufactured by Synaptics), termed a "touch wheel". Due to the new Toshiba hard drives, the 20 GB iPod slightly exceeded its first generation counterpart in thickness and weight, while the 10 GB model was slimmer. The iPod 2G came with carrying cases and wired remotes and it was the first generation that was compatible with Windows.

THIRD GENERATION On April 28, 2003, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced an "ultrathin" iPod series. Slightly smaller than their predecessors, they had more distinctively beveled edges. Over the life of the 3G iPod series, Apple produced 10 GB, 15 GB, 20 GB, 30 GB, and 40 GB sizes.

These iPods use a 30-pin connector called the Dock Connector — longer and flatter than a FireWire plug. This allows them to fit more easily into the new iPod Dock which Apple introduced at the same time. The iPod Dock came bundled with all but the least expensive iPod, and also retails separately.

The 3G iPod featured touch-sensitive buttons located below the display. The new buttons featured red backlighting (controlled by the same preference as the screen backlight), allowing easier use in darkness. The touch-sensitive buttons, which build upon the touch-sensitive scroll wheel introduced in the 2G iPod, make the 3G iPod unique in that it has no external moving parts (other than the hold slider on the top of the unit) and is the only iPod that doesn't have its buttons surrounding around the wheel.

With the 3G iPod, Apple stopped shipping separate Mac and Windows versions of the unit. Instead, all iPods now shipped with their hard drives formatted for Macintosh use; the included CD-ROM featured a Windows utility which could reformat them for use with a Windows PC. These iPods also introduced Hi-Speed USB connectivity (with a separately sold USB adapter cable. The 3G iPod could not charge through USB 2.0 however).

When purchased through the online Apple Store, the iPod featured custom engraving: a purchaser could have two lines of text laser engraved on the back (for an additional charge, although currently free).

Although past models proved widely popular, after the release of the 3G model Apple's iPod sales skyrocketed, with a combination of effective advertising and celebrity endorsement making iPods a fashionable item.

FOURTH GENERATION In July 2004, Apple released the fourth generation iPod. In a new publicity route, Steve Jobs announced it by becoming the subject of a Newsweek magazine cover.

In the most obvious difference from its predecessors, the 4G iPod carries over the click-wheel design introduced on the iPod mini. Some users criticized the click wheel because it does not have the backlight that the 3G iPod's buttons had, but others noted that having the buttons on the compass points largely removed any need for backlighting. Apple also claimed that updated software in the new iPod allows it to use the battery more efficiently and increase battery life to 12 hours. Other minor changes included the addition of a "Shuffle Songs" option on the top-level menu to make it more convenient for users. After many requests from users asking for these improvements to operate on earlier iPods as well, Apple on February 23, 2005, released a firmware update which brings the new menu items to 1G through 3G iPods.

Originally, the 4G iPod had a grayscale screen and no photo capabilities, like its predecessors. It came in one of two sizes: 20 GB for $299 and 40 GB for $399 (Apple discontinued the 40 GB model in February 2005 and began solely selling a monochrome 20 GB version). The grayscale 4G iPod, slightly thinner (about 1 mm less) than the 3G iPod, introduced the ability to charge the battery over a USB connection.


Released on October 28, 2004, iPod photo (originally named iPod Photo — with a capital P for "Photo" — but renamed less than a month after its launch) featured a 220 x 176-pixel screen capable of displaying 65,536 colors, and the ability to store and display JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG images. One millimeter thicker than the standard grayscale fourth-generation iPod, iPod photo could also play music for up to 15 hours per battery charge. It originally came in 40 GB and 60 GB versions, which cost $499 and $599, respectively.

On February 23, 2005, Apple discontinued the 40 GB model; which included a FireWire & USB cable and a dock, introduced a lower-priced 30 GB model; which included only a USB cable and no dock, and dropped the price of the 60 GB model. However, unlike the first iPod photos, the lower-priced 60 GB and the new 30 GB models lacked the dock, FireWire cable, carrying case, or AV cables (accessories valued at approximately $120).

On June 28, 2005, Apple Computer merged the iPod and iPod photo lines, removing all grayscale models from the main iPod line, giving the 20 GB iPod all of the capabilities of the former iPod photo line for $299, the same price as the previous grayscale version. The price of the 60 GB iPod photo, now known as iPod 60GB, dropped from $449 to $399, and Apple discontinued the $349 30 GB iPod photo model. Apple Computer — as well as prominent fan sites (such as iLounge) — continued to refer to this lineup as fourth-generation iPods. Along with the new lineup, Apple also updated iTunes to version 4.9, which added podcasting capabilities to iTunes and to iPod.

To manage the photo library on iPod, Mac users use Apple's iPhoto software, while Windows users can use Adobe Photoshop Album or Elements, or use a limited set of features within the free iTunes for Windows software. New Mac computers are bundled with iPhoto, while Windows users must either use the limited features within iTunes for Windows or purchase either of the Adobe products (a limited version of Adobe Album is available for download for free).

As of June 28, 2005, iPod came bundled with a USB cable and an AC adapter. Popular optional accessories include the dock, a FireWire cable (which owners can use in lieu of USB), an iPod AV cable (to view photo albums on a TV set), and an iPod Camera Connector (to transfer and view images directly from a digital camera to an iPod).

The fourth-generation line of iPods/Color iPods have a glitch that causes them to pause on their own, despite the hold switch being activated. A headphone contact switch, in coordination with iPod's auto-pause feature, is supposed to pause the music playback if the headphones are disconnected, but incorrectly detects that the headphones have been removed. This erroneous detection occurs with some third-party headphones (such as Sennheiser models), but users have also reported experiencing the problem with the supplied Apple earbuds. The likely cause for this malfunction is that a small metal disk on the base of the earphone plugs makes electrical contact with the metallic back of iPod, tripping the detection mechanism. To fix this problem, a small piece of cellophane wrap with hole in it or a thin, non-conductive washer may be placed between the headphone jack and the plug.

iPod U2 Special Edition Color U2 iPodOn October 28, 2004, Apple released a black-and-red edition of the fourth-generation iPod called iPod U2 Special Edition. Originally retailing for $349, it had a black front with a red click wheel (the colors of U2's latest album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb), and featured the signatures of U2's band members engraved on the back. It also included an iTunes Music Store coupon redeemable for $50 off of the price of The Complete U2, a "digital boxed set" featuring over 400 tracks of U2 music.

On June 28, 2005, at the same time as the announcement of the merger of the iPod and the iPod photo lines, Apple added a color screen and photo capabilities to the iPod U2 Special Edition while dropping the price to $329.

On October 12, 2005, Apple discontinued the iPod U2 Special Edition with the introduction of the fifth-generation iPod.

Harry Potter Collector's iPod Harry Potter 20GB Collector's iPodOn September 7, 2005, Apple released a limited-edition Harry Potter fourth-generation 20GB iPod that featured a laser engraved Hogwarts crest on the back. This model was superseded on October 12, 2005 with a fifth generation Harry Potter 30 GB Collector's iPod. The iPod was launched along with the Harry Potter audiobooks on the iTunes Music Store. The only way to get a Harry Potter Collector's iPod is to buy it online along with the complete set of Harry Potter audiobooks, at a combined price (as of October 25, 2005) of $548 USD.

FIFTH GENERATION On October 12, 2005, Apple announced at the "One more thing..." event, the fifth-generation iPod, which featured the ability to play MPEG-4 and H.264 video with resolutions of up to 480 x 480 and 320 x 240, respectively (videos purchased from the iTunes Music Store are limited to 320 x 240.) The new models are available in 30 and 60 GB capacities and are priced the same as the previous generation at $299 and $399 USD.

It has a 65,536 color (16-bit) screen, with a 320 x 240 QVGA transflective TFT display, and is able to display video on an external TV via the AV cable accessory, which plugs into the headphone minijack and splits into composite video and audio output connectors with RCA jacks. It can also display video on an external TV using the iPod AV or S-video cables with the iPod Universal Dock. The screen size is now 2.5" (6.35 cm) diagonally, 0.5" larger than the previous iPod. It is also 30% thinner than the previous full-size iPod.

The reported battery life for the 30 GB is 14 hours and for the 60 GB is around 20 hours. Watching movies reduces that amount to 2 and 3 hours respectively.

The click wheel design is the same as the previous generation, but is marginally smaller than before. Apple has stopped using the click wheels used in the 4G iPod and iPod mini from their previous supplier, Synaptics Inc of San Jose, CA, and now uses an in-house solution.

The headphone jack has been moved from the center of the top to the right of the top, while the hold switch has been moved to the left side of the top. Gone from the fifth-generation iPod is the remote control accessory port, previously found beside the headphone port, meaning that accessories such as the Griffin iTrip will no longer work. Griffin has, however, released a new version of the iTrip for the new iPod, which mounts to the dock connector on the bottom of the unit. The fifth-generation iPod no longer supports file transfers via FireWire, but still supports charging using FireWire.

Like the iPod nano, it comes in two colors, white and black, and it features the World Clock, Stopwatch, and Screen Lock apps.

The fifth-generation iPod also comes with a thin slip case, most likely in response to many complaints concerning the iPod nano's easily scratchable surface.

Other notable improvements include the eliminiation of minor audio defects, such as hard drive noise being heard through the headphone jack, as well as an increase in recording quality to 44.1 KHz stereo, 22.05 KHz mono. A third-party addon will still be required in order to record audio on the iPod, as it was in previous generations.

Harry Potter Collector's iPod On October 12, 2005 Apple reintroduced the Harry Potter collectible iPod along with the update of the iPod line. The new Harry Potter iPod retains the laser engraved Hogwarts crest on back of the device and is sold with the "complete Harry Potter" (the first 6 books in the Harry Potter series). The capacity of the iPod was increased to 30 GB from the previous 20 GB. The price point remains the same as the fourth-generation model.


Coming late 2006/early 2007


First Generation iPod mini in Dock with Belt ClipOn January 6, 2004, Apple introduced the first iPod mini. It had 4 GB of storage and a price of $249 (at the time, only $50 below the 15 GB third-generation iPod). Critics panned it as too expensive, but it proved to be overwhelmingly popular, and Apple Stores had difficulty keeping the model in stock.

iPod mini introduced the popular "click wheel" that was incorporated into later iPods: the touch-sensitive wheel means that users can move a finger around it to highlight selections on the screen, while the unit's Menu, Back, Forward, and Play/Pause buttons are part of the wheel itself, letting a user press down on part of the wheel to activate one of those functions. The center button still acted as a select button.

Apple initially made iPod mini devices available in five colors: silver, gold, blue, pink, and green. Silver models have sold best, followed by blue ones.


In February 2005, the second-generation iPod mini came on the market with a new 6 GB model at $249 and an updated 4 GB model priced at $199. Most notably, both models featured an increased battery life of up to 18 hours. In addition, they featured richer case colors (though Apple discontinued the gold color) and other minor aesthetic changes (the color of the lettering on the click wheel now matched the color of the iPod mini). Also, the 2G iPod minis did not include the AC adapter or the FireWire cable bundled with previous models.

With the introduction of the iPod nano, the iPod mini was discontinued.


An iPod shuffle with earphones.Apple announced iPod shuffle at Macworld Expo on January 11, 2005 with the taglines "Life is random" and "Give chance a chance". iPod shuffle introduced flash memory (rather than a hard drive) to iPods for the first time. The shuffle comes in two models: 512 MB (up to 120, 4-minute songs encoded at 128 kbit/s) and 1 GB (up to 240). Unlike other iPod models, iPod shuffle cannot play Apple Lossless or AIFF encoded audio files—possibly due to the iPod shuffle's smaller processing power. The shuffle has a SigmaTel processor. One review regards it as having one of the best-sounding audio systems of all the iPod models.

The iPod shuffle has no screen and therefore has limited options for navigating between music tracks: users can play songs either in the order set in iTunes or in a random (shuffled) order. Users can set iTunes to fill iPod shuffle with a random selection from their music library each time the device connects to the computer. The iPod shuffle weighs less than one ounce (0.78 oz. or 22 g) and approximates in size to a pack of chewing gum (originally, the iPod shuffle website contained a footnote advising people not to eat the iPod shuffle like gum; it was later removed, possibly because several users photographed themselves with their iPod shuffles in their mouths.) Like the rest of the iPod family, iPod shuffle can operate as a USB mass storage device.


On September 7, 2005, Apple announced the successor to the iPod mini, the iPod nano. Based on flash memory instead of a hard drive, the iPod nano is 0.27 inches (6.9 millimetres) thick, weighs 1.5 ounces (42 grams), and is 62% smaller by volume than its predecessor. It has a 65,536 color display that can show photographs, and connects to a computer via USB 2.0. The headphone jack is located on the bottom. It retains the standard 30-pin dock connector for compatibility with third-party peripherals. This is the first dock connector iPod that cannot sync to any PC (Windows or Mac) via FireWire cable, but the nano can still be charged via a Firewire connection.

The iPod nano introduced several new features to the iPod operating system, including the addition of world clocks, a stopwatch, and a screenlock option. With the world clock, users were given the ability to set the time in cities around the world, and set alarms for each time zone. The clocks could be set to automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time. The stopwatch feature allowed users to press a button and start the iPod's timer, and stop it with another button. There was also a button for timing individual laps. The nano saves the user's stopwatch stats for multiple timing sessions, which is useful for comparing times. The screenlock option lets users set a 4 digit passcode for their iPod, and once the screenlock is activated the only buttons that can be pressed are the skip forwards and backwards buttons. The click wheel is used to input the digits to the passcode.

The iPod nano is available in white and black, in both 2 GB (US$199) and 4 GB (US$249) configurations.