Apple celebrated the iPod's 10th birthday recently. The iPod embarked upon its journey a decade ago and managed to create a heritage by leaping through generations and generations of devices. Through the years Apple devices have shed weight, been tweaked about and even surprised us by being completely unique. So a quick walk down memory lane reminds us about this iconic product, the first of the “i” generation of devices to make it out of Apple. Here's a brief history on the transformation this ‘i’ device has undergone from its launch 10 years ago.
iPod Classic (2001 – 2009):
The year was 2001, the month October, when the term iPod was coined. Some of us were in our teens and others much younger when the revolution began. It has shown a drastic transformation from the days of the 5GB hard drive, mechanical wheel and its attempt to lure people through the slogan ‘1000 songs in your pocket.’ The improved second and third generation iPod Classic's didn’t take too long to show up either – July 2002 and April 2003 respectively. In July 2004, the fourth generation iPod Classic adopted the click wheel and came with what was then considered, massive storage space of 40GB.
Where it all began…
There were even a few sepcial edition Classics that made it out like the the special U2 and Harry Potter editions that were released in 2006. The fifth generation iPod Classic appeared in October 2005 with a more polished and sophisticated look. In 2006, it received the iPod Video functionality and Apple also stopped bundling the iTunes CD which was then made available through the online Apple store. All through the years, Apple maintained the classic touch of this device and in 2007 introduced the slimmer, glossier iPod Classic with a whopping 160GB of space. The actual iteration terming it ‘Classic’ came to be around this time. The device further evolved into a slimmer 120GB model but soon enough it re-adopted the voluminous space of 160GB in a sleeker profile.
iPod Mini (2004 – 2005):
The mid-range iPod Mini product line didn’t see the light of the day for too long and only two models made an appearance before it was completely replaced by the iPod Nano. The first generation was launched in January 2004 in five hues with of 4GB storage while its successor followed about a year later in February 2005 with 4GB and 6GB memory options. However, the Mini’s design is well depicted in a few of the Nanos that followed.
For those with shallower pockets
iPod Nano (2005 – 2011):
The Nano has also come a long way after completely replacing the iPod Mini lineup in 2005 with a 1.5-inch screen and 14 hours playback (that Apple claimed), took cues from the latter’s design scheme. The following models witnessed better anodized aluminuim casings (scratch-resistant) and a drove of color choices which kept improving and expanding. In September 2006, the second generation of this series stepped in while the same year Apple got philanthropic and dipped the device in red to form Product Red.
The third generation Nano underwent a design makeover (not for any good unfortunately) in September 2007. Reaching the fourth generation in 2009, Apple retained the older form, in fact it got much sleeker. In 2009, the fifth generation Nano was much slimmer and came equipped with a camera along with Live Pause for FM radio, a built-in pedometer, Nike+iPod Support and a built-in speaker. The sixth generation saw a design overhaul and turned heads over its tiny Shuffle-like square form factor integrated with a 1.54-inch touchscreen. Introduced in September 2010, it promised 24 hours of music on a single charge and also bid goodbye to the click wheel and the camera. This year at Let's Talk iPhone, Apple decided to simply touch up the Nano’s UI with resizable home buttons, enhanced fitness app and sixteen new clock faces.
iPod Shuffle (2005 – 2010):
Several reasons may have compelled Apple to dish out what we now call the Shuffle. This most affordable device of the lot weighing in at a mere 22 grams launched in January 2005 was the first to employ flash memory. Just a year later, the company unfurled the second generation of this minuscule device which had the USB connector replaced by a docking station (for data transfer and recharging). It also garnered accolades for its clip-on design making it exteremely convenient for the avid gym enthusiast and others who liked keeping their hands and pockets free. Soon enough, in 2007, Apple decided to push in four new colors. In the same year, the lineup was refreshed with more color options as well as Product Red.
The first time the iPod 'flashed' you
In March 2009 came a design overhaul and the much talked about VoiceOver functionality that read artist names, albums, playlists and more. The Apple earphones integrated with the remote didn’t really seem to appeal to many Apple loyalists. The lack of physical keys on the device could also have been one of the reasons it didn't fare as well as the others, but there was no denying the fact that in the design segment it was as chic as they came. Moving into the fourth generation, Apple decided to go back to the older form but in a much sleeker profile with a Voice-over button. Though the third generation Shuffle was available in 4GB, the most recent iteration can be picked up in 2GB storage capacity as well.
iPod Touch (2007 – 2011):
Arguably the most celebrated iPod, the iPod Touch entered the tech terrain in September 2007. It was initially available in 8GB, while 16GB and 32GB models were added later. It took forth the large touchscreen fad with a 3.5-inch capacitive display not very unlike the iPhone's. In 2008, Apple decided to rock it with the second generation iPod Touch that had a sleek new chrome back and frame alongside a few notable differences. The third generation iPod Touch roped in the newer version of the operating system (needless to say) and also enhanced internal components. Last year in September, the fourth generation iPod Touch came with the now much reknowned Retina display, a front facing camera for Apple's Face Time chat app and a rear camera that was capable of 720p recording. At the Let's talk iPhone event, the company delved into details of the latest iPod Touch to ship with iOS 5 and an angelic white option apart from the regular slick black coloration.
Can touch this!
Whether one may agree or not, Apple has created a niche market for its products and has an exetremly loyal fan base. After the recent birthday bash, it would be interesting to know what the company has on the iPod platter for future.
Here's another quick look at the timeline of the iPod –
Click to enlarge
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