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The correct title of this article is iPod. The initial letter is capitalized due to technical restrictions.
File:IPod 4G.jpg
A grayscale fourth-generation iPod with earphones. The iPod has a multilingual interface, seen here using Dutch

iPod is a brand of portable digital audio and video player designed and marketed by Apple Computer. Devices in the iPod family offer a simple user interface designed around a central scroll wheel. Most iPod models store media on a built-in hard drive, while the smaller iPod shuffle and iPod nano use flash memory. Like most digital audio players, an iPod can serve as an external data storage device when connected to a computer.

The bundled software used for uploading music and photos to the iPod is called iTunes. iTunes is a music 'jukebox' application that stores a comprehensive library of the music on a computer, as well as playing and ripping it. The most recent incarnations of iPod and iTunes have video playing and organization features. Other forms of data can be added to iPod as if it were any other data storage device connected to a computer.


Apple Computer often refers to the player as iPod, without use of the definite article the. Apple's web site reflects this usage (for example, "iPod incorporates the same touch-sensitive Apple Click Wheel that debuted on iPod mini"), which resembles Apple's use of the words Macintosh or iMac. The company has other products with a lowercase "i" in front of the name, including iSight, iChat, iTunes, iDVD, and iBook. When Apple first introduced the iMac, the "i" stood for internet, meaning that the iMac shipped with everything you would need for a connection, but the prefix stuck, as the brand recognition associated with it has positive effects on the sales of Apple products. Recently, some media have started referring to the generation primarily born in the late 1980s, and which in particular has made the iPod popular, as the iGeneration, suggesting that the "i" family of products may have a far-reaching cultural impact.


Tony Fadell first conceived the iPod outside Apple. When he demonstrated his idea to Apple, the company hired him as an independent contractor to bring his project to the market, putting him in charge of assembling the team that developed the first two generations of the device. Apple's Industrial Design Group, working under the direction of Jonathan Ive designed the subsequent incarnations.

Apple originally released the iPod on October 23, 2001 as a Mac-compatible product, but the company later released a format compatible with Microsoft Windows, before finally releasing a Windows version of the iTunes software that updates the iPod. As of October 2004, iPod dominated digital music player sales in the United States, with over 90% of the market for hard-drive-based players and over 70% of the market for all types of players. The iPod has sold at a tremendous rate, now past 30 million units in about four years. Apple has posited that the iPod has a "halo effect", encouraging users of non-Apple products to switch to other Apple products, such as to Macintosh computers.

Patent disputes

In March 2005, Apple Computer faced two pending lawsuits claiming patent infringement by the iPod and its associated technologies: Advanced Audio Devices claimed the iPod breached their patent on a "Music jukebox" and Hong Kong-based IP portfolio company Pat-rights filed suit on behalf of inventor Keung Tse Ho, claiming that Apple's FairPlay technology breached their patent on " Protection of software against unauthorized use". [1]

Apple's application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a patent on "rotational user inputs", as used in the iPod's interface, received a third "non-final rejection" (NFR) in August 2005.

Also in August 2005, Creative Technology, one of Apple's main rivals in the MP3 player market, announced that it too held a patent on part of the music selection interface used by the iPod (U.S. Patent No. 6,928,433: "Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata", which Creative dubbed the 'Zen Patent', granted on 9 August 2005). [2]



iPods can play MP3, WAV, AAC/M4A, Protected AAC, AIFF, Audible audiobook, MPEG-4, and Apple Lossless file formats. The fifth-generation iPod can play .m4v, .mp4 and .mov video files. The Windows version of iTunes can transcode WMA files without copy protection to AAC, MP3, or WAV format for later transfer to an iPod, however WMA files with copy protection cannot be played in iTunes or be copied to an iPod. Reviewers have criticized the iPod's inability to play some other formats, in particular the Ogg Vorbis and FLAC formats.

Apple designed the iPod to work with the iTunes media library software, which lets users manage the music libraries on their computers and on their iPods. iTunes can automatically synchronize a user's iPod with specific playlists or with the entire contents of a music library each time an iPod connects to a host computer. Users may also set a rating (out of 5 stars) on any song, and can synchronize that information to an iTunes music library.

In addition to playing music and storing files, the iPod has limited PDA functionality: the unit can synchronize a user's contacts and schedule with programs such as iCal and Microsoft Outlook. Also, Mozilla's Sunbird and Calendar support the use of iCal (.ics) format calendar files. These programs may be used to update the iPod Calendar on any supported operating system, including Windows; originally, the files in Windows must be manually dragged and dropped into the Calendar directory on the iPod, but ever since the release of iTunes 5.0, Windows users were given the option to automatically synchronize their files to their iPod.

It can also display notes, and hence host simple games and store restaurant information. However, iPod has limitations as a PDA, since users cannot edit this information on the iPod but only on a computer.

iPods (with the exception of the iPod Shuffle) also feature games. 1G and 2G iPods feature "Brick", a clone of the Breakout arcade game from Atari (originally created by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak). 3G and 4G include Brick, along with three other games:

  • Parachute: a game in which the user controls a turret and attempts to shoot down paratroopers and the helicopters which release them. Parachute emulates the Apple II game Sabotage by Mark Allen.
  • Solitaire: a simple card game resembling the Klondike solitaire card game.
  • Music Quiz: an interactive music quiz featuring the user's own songs. The game plays a portion of a random song and prompts the user to identify it from a list of 5 (or of 4 on the iPod Mini). A song drops off the list every few seconds. The faster the users choose the right song, the more points they get. Music Quiz became available through a free firmware update for 3G iPods released in October 2003 and later came standard with the iPod mini and 4G iPods. No record is kept of the score, and there is no limit on the amount of songs played; however, the songs repeat after the first 100.


Except for iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and fifth-generation iPod, all previous models of iPod offered FireWire connectivity. Apple stopped shipping FireWire cables with iPods in favor of Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0), probably as a cost-cutting and size-saving measure since most Windows-based PCs do not have FireWire ports. iPods can recharge their internal batteries using either FireWire (all generations) or USB power (only 4G and later) while connected to a computer or to an iPod AC power adapter. Both USB-based and FireWire-based power adapters exist. First- and second-generation iPods had a standard FireWire connection port. Newer iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos use a proprietary 30-pin dock connector to connect the iPod to a computer’s FireWire or USB port with a proprietary cable. The iPod Shuffle has a USB connector that plugs into a standard USB port for recharging and for data transfer.

The first three generations of iPod used two ARM 7TDMI-derived CPUs running at 90 MHz, while later models have variable speed chips which run at a peak of 80 MHz to save battery life. iPods use 1.8-in (46-mm) ATA hard drives (with a nonstandard connector) made by Toshiba. The iPod mini uses one-inch hard drives made by Hitachi. The iPod has a 32-MiB flash ROM chip which contains a bootloader, a program that tells the device to load the operating system from another medium (in this case, the hard drive). All iPods, except for the 60GB fifth-generation iPod, have 32 MiB of RAM, a portion of which holds the iPod OS loaded from the firmware and the vast majority of which serves to cache songs loaded from the hard drive. For example, an iPod could spin the hard disk up once and copy about 30 MiB of upcoming songs on a playlist into RAM, thus saving power by not having the drive spin up for each song. (The 60GB fifth-generation iPod holds 64 MiB of RAM, to further extend battery life.)


All iPods come with earbud headphones with distinctive white cords, a color chosen to match the design of the original iPod. The white cords have become symbolic of the iPod brand, and advertisements for the devices feature them prominently.

Like most headphones that come bundled with other hardware, the stock white earbuds class as fairly low quality, and some users choose to replace them. Users rate the substandard bass response as the most apparent negative characteristic found in the standard headphones. They are also known to develop a clicking noise at volume peaks, due to the membrane being displaced. This is often easily solved by applying a small amount of suction to the problem earphone.

The signature earphones have such good recognition characteristics that they can become a liability — after crime in the NYC subway system rose immensely due entirely to iPod theft, the New York Police Department issued a warning advising iPod owners to replace the earphones, so as to not make themselves a target. [3]


The original iPod interacted only with Macintosh computers running Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X, but on July 17 2002 Apple began selling a Windows-compatible iPod, with its internal hard drive formatted in FAT32 instead of the original HFS Plus. [4] Apple released a Windows version of iTunes on October 16, 2003 [5]; previously, Windows users needed third-party software such as Musicmatch Jukebox (included with Windows iPods before the release of the Windows version of iTunes), ephPod, or XPlay to manage the music on their iPods.

An iPod with its hard drive formatted as HFS+ operated only with a Macintosh, because Windows did not recognize HFS+, but since the Macintosh could handle FAT32, an iPod formatted as FAT32 could operate with a Macintosh as well as with a PC. HFS+ leaves slightly more space available to store data, and it allowed the iPod to serve as a boot disk for a Macintosh computer. The ability to use an iPod as a boot disk for a Macintosh computer was lost when Apple removed FireWire with the introduction of the fifth-generation iPod since none of the G5-based Macintosh models can boot from an external USB drive.

The iPodLinux project has successfully ported an ARM version of the Linux kernel to run on iPods. It currently supports first through third generation iPods, and features simple installers for Mac OS X and Windows. A SourceForge project exists for the project [6], and copious documentation appears online. [7]

The iPod uses standard USB and FireWire mass-storage connectivity, and therefore any system with mass-storage support can mount it and use it as an external hard drive. The iPod will also charge from any powered USB or Firewire port, regardless of software support. A special database file serves to list the songs available to play, however, so users require a program such as iTunes to upload songs. As of 2005 only gtkpod offers such functionality for Linux and other Unix variants. Apple has not yet released a Linux version of the software used to flash the firmware of the iPod.


Jeff Robbin headed the iPod firmware team at Apple. His team integrated the core firmware from PortalPlayer with the user interface library developed by Pixo. (The founder of Pixo had worked on the Apple Newton, a personal digital assistant formerly produced by Apple.) The Pixo libraries provide the user interface, though the iPod photo has incorporated some visual elements from Mac OS X, such as the animated Aqua style progress bar. More recent iPods, such as the nano and 5th Generation, also incorporate the "brushed-metal" effect, previously used in iTunes before version 5.0, in their stopwatch and screen lock features. Until the release of iPod mini, the user interface of all iPods used "Chicago", the font used on the original Macintosh computer from 1984. The iPod mini uses the "Espy Sans" font (previously seen in eWorld, the Newton, and Copland), while the color fourth-generation iPods (previously known as iPod photo) and fifth-generation iPods use Myriad Pro, Apple's current corporate typeface.

This photograph shows the internal view of a third-generation iPod:

From left to right:

  • An intact third-generation iPod.
  • The front of the iPod casing (facedown). The lighter green circuit board controls the iPod (and leaves room for the battery to fit beside it), and the darker green board beneath it controls the touch-scroll wheel and the buttons. Note three connectors: the battery connects in the lower-right corner; the hard drive connector lies to the left of the black area in the lower left; and the headphone jack, wired remote control jack, and Hold switch (all located on the top of the iPod) connect as a single plug in the top right.
  • The lithium ion battery.
  • The hard drive, surrounded by a layer of soft rubber which also extends beneath it to insulate it from the circuit board. The layer of rubber also helps to protect a spinning hard drive from shock damage while the owner of the iPod moves about.
  • The rear of the iPod. Wires connect the ports and switch on the top of the case to a small plug. A hole on the bottom of the case allows access to the dock connector port on the circuit board.

The unit's case snaps together, with no screws or glue involved (though the 4G has some glue holding the battery in place). The plastic front of the case has clips which lock under a ridge inside the rim of the metal case back. A servicer can pry the iPod open by carefully inserting a small non-metal screwdriver to pull the metal away from the clips.

iPod contains a small internal speaker which generates the scroll-wheel clicks and alarm clock beep sound, but this internal speaker cannot play music.


iPods (other than the iPod shuffle) have five buttons:

  1. 'Play/Pause'
  2. 'Menu' (which backs up one level in the menus)
  3. 'Previous' (which skips back through tracks in play)
  4. 'Next' (which skips forward through tracks in play)
  5. 'Select' (the button in the center of the scroll wheel; this selects a menu or a song to play).

(Note that fourth and fifth-generation iPods, iPod minis, and iPod nanos incorporate these buttons into the "click wheel" scroll wheel.)

A 'Hold' switch also exists on the top of the unit. Setting this switch to display orange will make the buttons and scroll wheel unresponsive, so that users do not activate them accidentally.

Fourth and fifth generation iPods, second generation iPod minis, iPod nanos and iPod shuffles also automatically pause playback when headphones are unplugged from the headphone jack.

iPods with FireWire ports can be put into FireWire Disk Mode, in which it behaves like a FireWire hard drive without any of the additional iPod functionality.

An iPod unable to start (due to either a firmware or a hardware problem) displays the "sad iPod" image, reminiscent of the sad Mac icon of earlier Macintosh computers.


File:Lightmatter ipodvsmini.jpg
A first generation pink iPod Mini (left), and a first generation iPod (right)

Apple currently markets three distinct players bearing the iPod name. Some models come with different capacities (a higher capacity allows the storage of more music) or with different designs. The model range as of October 12, 2005 includes:

  • iPod (30 GB and 60 GB).
  • iPod nano (2 GB and 4 GB).
  • iPod shuffle (512 MB and 1 GB).
  • Harry Potter 30GB Collector's iPod.

The iPod mini (4 GB and 6 GB and in various colors) was discontinued. It was replaced by the iPod nano. The iPod U2 Special Edition was discontinued. The Harry Potter 20GB Collector's iPod was replaced by the Harry Potter 30GB Collector's iPod.

Several product revisions have taken place since the original model of iPod appeared, leading to the existence of five distinct generations. As with most hard drive-based devices, the actual drive space available for music, photo, video and data storage does not quite attain the advertised capacity. This comes about because the capacity advertised uses metric prefixes, not binary prefixes. For example, a 4 GB iPod mini actually had 3.77 GiB of usable storage. Some of this is also taken up by the iPod's firmware.


While all iPods have roughly the same size and the same capabilities, the design has undergone several revisions since its introduction to the market. Five distinct generations of iPods exist, commonly known as: 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G (these designations do not relate to the Power Mac G3, G4 or other Macintosh model designations, and are not related to the storage capacity of the model).

Within any generation of iPods, various models with different sizes of hard drives have come onto the market at different price points. During the third generation, three sizes of iPods have coexisted in the marketplace at any given time, priced at US $299, $399, and $499. Currently, Apple sells two sizes of iPod: a 30 GB hard drive for $299, and a 60 GB model for $399. Note that Apple claims that 1 gigabyte of storage will hold 250, 4-minute songs in 128 kbit/s AAC. Encoding songs at higher bitrates will take up more space on the hard drive. One can scale this proportion up; the current 30-gigabyte iPod can hold roughly 7,500 songs, though the Apple website states that 'actual formatted capacity may be lower.'

First generation

First announced on October 23 2001, the original iPod cost $399 with a 5 GB hard drive. [8] 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

20 GB 3G iPod.

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. These buttons and 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).

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).

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

File:IPod with iTrip01.jpg
Fourth-generation iPod with an iTrip

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.

iPod photo / Color iPod
File:Ipod Photo.JPG
An iPod photo with color screen
For more information on iPod photo prior to its merger with the main iPod line, see iPod photo.

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, [9] 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

On 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. [10]

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 iPod

On 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 12th, 2005 with a fifth generation Harry Potter 30 GB Collector's iPod. [11]. 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 [12] 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..." [13] 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.

QVGA (videos in the iTunes video store) compared to VGA. Click for actual size.

It displays over 65,000 colors [14] with a 320 x 240 QVGA transflective TFT display, and is able to display video on an external TV via the AV cable accessory [15], 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 [16]. 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. However, Apple have stopped using click wheels from the supplier of the click wheels for 4G and Mini iPods, 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.

The selling of videos on iTunes for the fifth generation iPod sparked considerable debate as to whether there was a paying audience for programming already available for free on TV. As MP3 Newswire pointed out [17] users are not so much paying for the TV programs themselves. Instead they are really paying for a service, a service that offers:

  1. The convenience of someone else digitizing free broadcast episodes for them for their portable device.
  2. Broadcast episodes in commercial-free form.
  3. A convenient place to select and download individual shows as opposed to recording them in real time. Through an updated version of Quicktime users can create their own videos for the iPod, which includes digitized versions of programs recorded from their VCR as long as they have the right equipment.

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 fifth-generation collector's iPod
Fifth-generation Harry Potter 30GB Collector's iPod

On October 12th, 2005 Apple reintroduced the Harry Potter collectible iPod along with the update of the iPod line. The new Harry Potter iPod retained the laser engraved Hogwart's crest on back of the device and was sold with the "complete Harry Potter" including the 6 current books in the Harry Potter series. However the capacity of the Harry Potter iPod was increased to 30 GB from the previous 20 GB along with the increase in the screen size. The price point remained the same as the fourth-generation model.

iPod mini

Main article: iPod mini.

Apple entered the market for "mini"-form-factor digital audio players in January 2004, with the introduction of the iPod mini, competing directly with players like Creative's Zen Micro and Digital Networks' Rio Carbon. The iPod mini had largely the same feature set as the full-sized iPod, but lacked support for some third-party accessories. Its smaller display had one less line than previous models, limiting the on-screen track identification to title and artist only.

iPod minis used Microdrive hard drives for storage.

The iPod mini was discontinued on September 7, 2005 after Apple announced it was to be replaced by the iPod nano, which was 62% smaller by size and included a color screen.

First generation mini

First Generation iPod mini in Dock with Belt Clip

On 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.

Second generation mini

In February 2005, the second-generation [18] 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.

iPod shuffle

Main article: iPod shuffle.

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.

iPod nano

Main article: iPod nano.

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 (0.685 centimetres) 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.

Battery life

Apple designed the iPod with an internal lithium ion battery that users cannot easily replace. Like most lithium-ion batteries, the iPod battery lasts roughly 500 full recharge cycles. In other words, the battery will continue to have a useful life through the equivalent of five hundred complete discharges and recharges; through time and use, the life of the battery will generally decrease until eventually it is not able to power the iPod for more than a few minutes. Apple has published guidelines on its web site for maximizing the life of an iPod battery.

The battery in all iPod models cannot be removed or replaced by the user without levering the unit open. This is unusually difficult for a consumer device, but at least half a dozen well-known rivals to the iPod have a similarly enclosed battery. Compounding this problem, Apple would not replace worn-out batteries either. The official policy was that the customer should buy a refurbished replacement iPod, at a cost almost equivalent to a brand new iPod.

This situation led to a small market for third-party battery replacement kits. On November 14, 2003, Apple quietly announced a battery replacement program that initially cost $99 [19] (now $59), and one week later offered users the option to extend the warranty of their iPods for $59. [20]

On November 21, 2003, a short film produced by iPod owners The Neistat Brothers hit the internet. The movie, apparently made before the change in policy, expressed anger because the battery on their early model iPod had failed after eighteen months and Apple refused to replace it. The movie depicted the Brothers vandalizing Apple ads in the New York City area with graffiti proclaiming that "iPod's unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months." [21] The movie was widely linked and viewed, with much of the commentary failing to mention Apple's recent change in policy. Some iPod users also defended Apple by pointing out that their iPods had lasted longer than 18 months, while other viewers suggested that the brothers had attacked Apple solely for the sake of publicity. [22]

As a response to the battery problem, multiple 3rd parties [23] have appeared that are selling iPod battery replacement kits for one third of the price that Apple charges customers for a battery replacement. These batteries often contain more capacity than the standard Apple batteries.

iTunes integration

Apple Computer endorses only one official method for synchronizing with the iPod: iTunes. But several projects addressed synchronization of the iPod with other players, most notably the ml_iPod plugin for Winamp, that allows users to manage their iPod content through Winamp, and even allows functionality not available through iTunes, such as the copying of music off the iPod.

iTunes Music Store

Main article: iTunes Music Store.

Introduced on April 28, 2003 the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is an online music store run by Apple and built into iTunes. The music bought from it can be downloaded onto the iPod and the store has become the dominant online music service, helping the sale of iPods.

Apple encrypts the AAC audio files using the controversial FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) system, so that only authorized computers (up to five) and unlimited iPods can play them. However, the files can also be burned to CD, at which time those DRM restrictions are removed.

No portable music player other than the iPod can play the DRM-enabled files sold on the iTMS, and the iPod cannot play files protected with other DRM technologies, such as Microsoft's DRM format or RealNetwork's Helix-DRM system. Microsoft and RealNetworks have accused Apple of using iPod, the iTunes Music Store, and FairPlay to lock iPod users into using iTunes exclusively (and vice versa), creating a vertical monopoly. For a short time in 2004, RealNetworks had advertised that tracks purchased from their RealPlayer Music Store could be played on an iPod through the use of their Harmony technology; however, an iPod update released at the time of the iPod Photo launch disabled files created by Harmony, and RealNetworks has abandoned the technology.

Steve Jobs has stated "We would like to break even (or) make a little bit of money (on the iTunes Music Store) but it's not a money maker."

Third-party accessories

iPod has created a large and growing aftermarket accessory industry; in the 2005 Macworld keynote, Steve Jobs referred to it as "the iPod economy." The large availability of these aftermarket products may be one of the reasons that the iPod is so popular among consumers.

iPod accessories include memory-card readers, FM tuners, and voice recording modules. Some of the accessories, like the speaker systems made by Bose and the in-car audio interfaces for BMW, make use of the docking connectors found at the bottom of the iPod and have the user dock the unit in the device. Several other carmakers such as Audi plan to make iPod connections available in certain models in 2006. These connectors provide control and information as well as a path for the sound signal and power to run the iPod or accessory.

Software utilities

Third-party software tools supporting iPod include:

  • AmaroK, an audio player for KDE that has integrated iPod support.
  • Banshee, a GNOME audio management and playback application that has full iPod support, using new iPod technology in GNOME (libipoddevice) and Mono (ipod-sharp).
  • CopyPod is a backup tool for the iPod that allows to back up the music content of the iPod (songs + meta data) either straight to the iTunes library or to a determinated folder.
  • EphPod, a Windows application that duplicates many of the features of iTunes. EphPod also allows copying of music from an iPod to a computer.
  • foobar2000, an free audio player for Windows that can interact with iPod with the optional installation of the foo_pod plugin.
  • iLinkPod A tool for Macintosh computers that aids in the removal of music from an iPod
  • iPodLinux Project, a Linux based OS made for the iPod. It currently offers support for the first, second, and third generation iPods. While it may work for the other generation iPods, including the mini, it is not officially supported.
  • RhythmBox, a GNOME-based iTunes clone.
  • gtkpod, an iPod-targeted GTK+-based iPod manager for systems using the GTK+ toolkit.
  • GNUpod, a set of Perl applications for Unix-like systems. It uses its own XML database so users can easily edit specific tags on songs, or create playlists, then can re-compile iTunesDB so the iPod can use the database
  • SharePod (Windows-based) and YamiPod (Windows/Mac OS X), free applications that reside on your iPod and let you play music from your iPod without iTunes, copy music to and from your iPod, and perform other iPod management tasks.
  • Pod Player, a free application that allows you to play music from your iPod while it is connected to your Windows or Mac OS X computer.
  • Winamp, a popular audio player under Windows that supports iPods with the installation of the open-source plugin ml_ipod.
  • PodPlus, an all-in-one utility that lets you get your music off your iPod as well as putting your contacts, emails, RSS feeds, podcasts and more on to it.
  • iPod Media Studio, lets you convert DVDs with a few clicks to your iPod as well as putting home movies, TV and other video on to it.
  • Videora iPod Converter, converts all your movies (.avi, .wmv, .vob etc) into MP4 format so your iPod can play them. Includes a number of useful features too, such as cropping your movies so they don't appear stretched on your iPod. Their website contains easy and helpful conversion guides.
  • iPodWizard is a Windows program which allows a user to edit the graphics, fonts, and strings of any generation of iPod.
  • XOPlay, text-based games for the iPod

Hardware accessories

  • iPod Replacement Batteries
  • Griffin Technology makes several iPod accessories, including the iTrip, iBeam, iTalk, PowerPod, iFM and EarJam.
  • Belkin makes several iPod accessories, including the TuneCast, TuneCast II, TuneFM, TuneBase, TuneBase FM, TuneStage, TuneDok, TunePower, TuneTalk, Power Pack, and Cassette Adapter for iPod.
  • SendStation Systems makes several popular iPod accessories, including the PocketDock (various iPod adapters for FireWire, USB and audio line out connections).
  • XtremeMac iPod Accessories
  • naviPod by TEN Technology is a 5-button infrared remote control for the Apple iPod.
  • The inMotion Speakers by Altec Lansing act as a charging station as well as a dock while turning the iPod into a speaker system. The designers have made the iMmini variation on these speakers for compatibility with the iPod mini.
  • BMW released the first iPod automobile interface to come from an automotive company. [24] The interface allowed drivers of late-model BMW vehicles to control their iPod through the built-in steering wheel controls and the radio head unit buttons. The iPod attached to a cable harness in the car's glove compartment and allowed the driver to create up to five unique "BMW playlists" that were displayed through the vehicle's radio head unit.
  • Apple announced at Macworld Expo in January 2005 that Mercedes-Benz USA, Volvo, Nissan, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari would offer similar systems. [25] [26] [27]
  • Apple announced in September 2005 that they now have deals with Acura, Audi, Honda and Volkswagen to integrate iPod into their car stereos during the year. With these deals Apple now has 15 car companies worldwide planning to offer iPod integration. More than thirty percent of the cars in the United States now include iPod support. Honda will be the first to include text-to-speech capabilities that allow drivers to search for playlists, artist and album names or genre. [28] [29]
  • One alternative method to the dealership installation of an iPod adapter is available at MP3yourcar.com. This website sells aftermarket adapters that integrate your iPod to the factory stero system. This option enables you to use your regular stereo controls similar to the dealership option. However the website does not inform you how to install the adapter but this option has received good reviews on Edmunds.com.
  • A wide variety of other third-party products also exists and more appear every day, from voice recorders through games and other iPod-based software to various connection devices and adapters.
  • A large accessory market has grown up around the iPod, including cases and tattoos such as those made by Hotromz which feature unusual cases made from faux fur, feathers, organic hemp fiber and mohair; or by foof, who offer fabrics made from tweed, corduroy and kimono obi.

iPod sales

On the 7 September 2005 "special event," Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that "as of the end of last quarter, that's the end of June 2005, Apple had sold almost 22 million iPods."

Fortune magazine reported on 27 June 2005 that Apple had sold over 15 million iPods, including 5.3 million in the first quarter of that year. [30] The iPod currently dominates the digital audio player market, frequently topping best-seller lists. [31] According to the latest financial statements, iPod's market share accounts for 74% in July 2005. Within one year from January 2004 to January 2005, its market share tremendously increased by 34% from 31% to 65%. This success was especially based on the introduction of the iPod mini. Therefore, Apple succeeded in chipping away at the mainstream Flash player market. That is why Flash players at the beginning of 2005 account for less than half the market share they did in 2004. Their market share decreased from 62% in January 2004 to 29% in January 2005 [32]. In its fourth quarter results of 2005, Apple reported earnings of $430 million — its highest revenue for Q4 in the company's history. [33]. Apple shipped 6.16 million iPods during the quarter that ended on June 25, 2005, a 616% increase over the year-ago quarter. Most recently, Apple shipped 6.45 million iPods during the quarter that ended on September 24, 2005, a 220% increase over the year-ago quarter. [34]

On January 8, 2004, Hewlett-Packard announced that they would license the iPod from Apple to create an HP-branded digital audio player based on the iPod. The HP models were the same as the Apple iPod except for the inclusion of an "HP" logo on the back under the Apple logo and "iPod" label They were sold as the "Apple iPod + hp". Retailers of this model included (among others) the retail giant Wal-Mart, which included a disclaimer explaining that it would not work with its own online music service. In July of 2005, HP reversed its decision and announced they would stop reselling the iPod by September 2005, when existing stock were projected to be depleted. Sales by Hewlett-Packard made up 5% of all iPod sales. [35]

iPod sales according to Apple's yearly financial results:

Fiscal year iPods sold
2002 381,000 [36]
2003 939,000 [37]
2004 4,416,000 [38]
2005 22,497,000 [39] [40] [41] [42]
Total 28,233,000

iPod sales according to Apple's quarterly financial results:

File:Ipod sales graph.png
iPod Sales according to Apple
Fiscal quarter iPods sold
2003 Q4 336,000 [43]
2004 Q1 733,000 [44]
2004 Q2 807,000 [45]
2004 Q3 860,000 [46]
2004 Q4 2,016,000 [47]
2005 Q1 4,580,000 [48]
2005 Q2 5,311,000 [49]
2005 Q3 6,155,000 [50]
2005 Q4 6,451,000 [51]
Total 27,249,000


File:Places toronto billboard iPod.jpg
An iPod billboard in midtown Toronto.
File:Wrap advertising light rail.jpg
iPod Lightrail Wrap Advertising

Apple has promoted the iPod and iTunes brands in several successful advertising campaigns.

  • The first iPod ad, featuring the tagline "A thousand songs, in your pocket" was launched alongside iPod in November 2001. The ad can be viewed on Apple's web site. [52]
  • In April 2003, Apple introduced a new ad campaign in conjunction with the launch of the iTunes Music Store. The ads featured informally dressed persons wearing iPods and giving a capella renditions of popular songs, accompanied by dancing, air guitar, and other performances. The commercials featured a wide range of music, including The Who's My Generation, Sir Mix-a-lot's Baby Got Back, Pink's There You Go, and Eminem's Lose Yourself.
  • In October 2003, Apple changed their TV ads to align with their print ad campaign, featuring people in silhouette against a solid color background, dancing to music on prominently featured iPods and iPod headphones. These commercials featured popular songs, such as The Vines' Ride, The Caesars' Jerk it Out, Gorillaz' Feel Good Inc., Jet's Are You Gonna Be My Girl, N.E.R.D.'s Rock Star (Jason Nevin's Mix), Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out, and many more. To commemorate the launch of the U2 iPod, Apple released an ad featuring the music video of Vertigo (changed to characteristic iPod silhouettes). [53]
  • On October 12, 2005 Apple introduced an ad for the iPod 5G featuring U2 as well as Eminem's Lose Yourself. [54]

Key personnel


See also

External links


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