A History Of The iPod
IT’S HERE. The original iPod ran for $399 and got you 5GB of storage — enough for “1,000 songs in your pocket.” It had a center select button and four auxiliary ones around the outside, along with had a mechanical scroll wheel, one of the great interfaces of all time, according to Steve Jobs a few years later.
The second generation had the same look as the first, but it could fit up to 4,000 songs and was Windows compatible (remember Musicmatch Jukebox?) The second generation iPod was available in either 10GB for $399 or 20GB for $499, and it had a touch-sensitive scrolling wheel and a new center button.
The thinner third generation iPod looked completely different, moving the auxiliary buttons from the outer wheel to just below the screen. It had a new dock connector and a backlight that glowed blue — though the buttons had an orange-red glow to them. There was a 10GB model for $299, a 15GB model for $399, and a 30GB model for $499 that could hold 7,500 songs.
The tiny Easter egg colored Mini iPods were the first to have a “clickwheel” and
flash storage (oops, they actually used microdrives, not flash storage). In other words, they were the future of the iPod way back in 2004. They were $249 for 4GB.
The fourth generation iPod incorporated the click wheel and minimalist style of the Mini, but kept its bigger size. The 20GB model now cost $299 and the 40GB model $399.
Bono and Jobs were homies, apparently? This was the first of several Bono-inspired iPod iterations and was pretty much the same as a regular iPod at the time except it was BLACK AND RED to coincide with U2’s new album and was signed by all the band members on the back.
It had a Hogwarts crest on the back.
Pretty much the same as the fourth generation iPod, but now it had COLOR and held itty bitty photos! It was originally available in 40GB for $499 or 60GB $599.
The Shuffle looked like a FunDip stick and got rid of the screen completely. It randomly shuffled your songs which was super annoying, but it was pretty cheap: 512MB for $99 and 1GB for $149.
Easter again! (Who picked these colors?) These minis were brighter and bigger than the originals, offering 6GB for $249 and 4GB for $199 but they still didn’t have a color display.
Apple ditched the minis in favor of the sleeker iPod Nano, which was just a little bit wider than the shuffle but had a screen with color. They were easily scratched, which ended in a big fat lawsuit for Apple. The 2GB ran for $199 and the 4GB for $249.
The fifth generation iPod was flatter than the last guy, not to mention it was the first iPod that could play video — TV shows, movies, and music videos. A 30GB model cost $299 and a 60GB model was $399.
They cut the old Shuffle in half and added a clip to the back in the second generation iPod Shuffle, which originally came in only 1GB and silver for $79.
The second generation Nanos had a scratch-resistant aluminum shell, were brightly colored and came in three different sizes: 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB for $149, $199 and $249.
With U2’s Bono back in action, Apple released a 4GB (PRODUCT) RED special edition iPod Nano to benefit The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Apple donated $10 to the cause for each red Nano sold.
With Minis, Nanos and Shuffles running amuck, Jobs called this the “classic” iPod for the first time. The sixth generation iPod was better in pretty much every way — thinner, clearer, longer battery life and more storage. There was an 80GB model for $249 and a 160GB model for $349 that came in black and silver, no more white. This is basically the iPod classic we’ve now had for five years.
The third generation Nanos were fatter and shorter than the previous versions, with a much bigger screen that could play video. The 4GB one went for $149 and was only offered in silver, the 8GB version went for $199 and came in all five colors.
This was the first iPod with multi-touch and Wi-Fi and it looked exactly like the iPhone that came out earlier that year. It had music AND the Internet, no scrolling wheel required. It originally was available in 8GB for $299 and 16GB for $399, and later in 32GB for $499.
The fourth generation Nanos returned to their tall and skinny roots, this time in every shade of the rainbow. Shaking them would switch songs and turning them horizontally would rotate the screen. They also had the “genius” feature that could create a playlist for you. The 8GB model cost $149 and the 16GB $199.
The second generation Touch was a little slimmer than the first but kept the smudge-inducing chrome back. It added a volume button and built-in speaker, but other than that it wasn’t much different than the old Touch. It came in 8GB for $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399.
The classic iPod kept the same shape and was also available in gunmetal grey. Apple added the genius feature but ditched the 160GB and 80GB options in favor of a 120GB model at $249.
The third era of iPod Shuffles looked like a USB drive or something — they didn’t have any buttons aside from power and shuffle. Apple added voice over, a pretty cool feature that let your little shuffle read you the current song, playlist or artist through your headphones. 4GB and $79.
The FIFTH GENERATION jesus christ of Nanos were pretty cool. They had a little bit bigger screen, FM radio, pedometer (track your mileage) and camera that could take photos and video. The 8GB ran for $149, but the larger 16GB model cost only $179 ($20 cheaper than its predecessor.)
This era of iPod Touches were beefed up on the inside to include the RAM, CPU and GPU internals of the iPhone 3GS — as well as a built-in accelerometer to enhance its multi-player game capabilities. Three sizes: $199 for the 8GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for 64GB.
Quick turn around on the Shuffle in 2009 to update the voice control and add more colors!
Mostly just a software update, but Apple resurrected the 160 GB size for $249.
Aaaaand Nanos are short and fat again! The sixth generation iPod Nano was pretty much nothing like any of the previous Nanos — the famed clickwheel was replaced with a touch screen and there’s no more video camera. Same cost as last time, 8GB for $149 and 16GB for $179.
Aaaand Shuffles are short and fat again! Long live the clickwheel in the Shuffle, if not the Nano. Five colors and 2GB for $49.
Front and back cameras! Retina display! The fourth generation iPod Touch was the first Touch that was essentially the iPhone sans phone-ness. It’s reallyyyy skinny and still has that chrome back — 8GB, 32GB and 64GB for $229, $299 and $399.
Apple seriously just cannot decide if they want this thing to be short and fat or tall and skinny — guess they met somewhere in the middle. More colors (less Easter more rave) a touch screen but no apps, and 16GB for $149.
SKINNIER BRIGHTER BETTER I have no more adjectives for iPods. $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.
The new Touch and Nano come in red, too, as part of Apple’s ongoing (PRODUCT) RED line that benefits The Global Fund.