It’s official: Apple has announced that it is retiring the iPod, meaning that the era of just music is properly finished. But looking back, which of these music devices were the most iconic?
Apple has finally thrown in the towel with its iPod lineup, as no more products are going to be released under the iPod branding anymore, with only the 7th-generation iPod Touch still available on the Apple Store while stocks last.
Seeing as the range is well and truly coming to an end after 21 years, we thought that we would take a look back at some of the most iconic models. Keep reading for a great nostalgia throwback and to find out which iPod models we loved most.
This is where it all began. The very first iPod launched in 2001 and came with either 5GB or 10GB of storage, which was pretty hefty at the time. The slogan of the first iPod was ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’. Compare that to the 70 million songs that are readily available on Spotify, and you can see how far we have come in terms of music consumption.
This iPod packed an LCD display and a 1.8-inch hard drive. The mechanical scroll wheel was revolutionary and made it easier to navigate through your songs, though later iPod models would move over to static touch-sensitive wheels. The 5GB variation cost $399/£399, while the 10GB variation, which was launched a couple of months later in 2002, cost $499/£499.
iPod 3rd Generation (2003)
Also known as the iPod Dock Connector or iPod 3G, the 3rd Generation model was introduced in 2003 and brought about a couple of key updates. Starting with the controls, Apple ditched the mechanical wheel and instead implemented four control buttons, alongside a touch-sensitive wheel.
This was also the first iPod to introduce the 30-pin dock connector, which was a port that could carry audio, video and power. The 30-pin dock was the most common Apple cable before the birth of Lightning, being utilised in multiple iPods and iPhones during its heyday.
The iPod 3G was thinner than its predecessors and came in three flavours: 10GB, 15GB and 30GB. This iPod was compatible with both Mac and Windows out of the box, with a battery life of eight hours.
At launch, you could snatch up the smallest storage option for $299/£299, with the 15GB and 30GB options coming in at $399/£399 and $499/£499, respectively.
For me, this will always be my favourite iPod. It was the first piece of tech that was actually my own and I didn’t have to borrow from my Dad. I remember pooling together multiple rounds of birthday and Christmas money to finally be to afford it and I wouldn’t let it out of my sight once it arrived.
iPod Nano 1st Generation (2005)
The first iPod Nano launched in 2005 and, as the name suggests, put a lot of emphasis on its small size. Unlike the chunky first iPod, the Nano was a mere 40mm wide, 90mm long and 6.9mm thick, weighing in at a barely-there 42 grams. When it was announced, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed to the small watch pocket on his jeans and asked, “Ever wonder what this pocket is for?”. And thus, the iPod Nano was born.
The screen was just 38 millimetres and had a resolution of 176×132 pixels with support for 16-bit colour, which was more than enough to get a good look at the title of your favourite song. The battery life took a jump up to 14 hours, but the storage went all the way down to 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities. The iPod Nano was cheaper though, with the 4GB model costing only $249/£249 at launch, and the 2GB hitting $199/£199.
When we reviewed the iPad Nano shortly after its launch we said, “The iPod nano is the kind of product that just makes you stop and stare – anyone that you show it to just wants to hold it and play with it, a bit like when I first showed people my PSP back in January.”
iPod Mini 1st Generation (2004)
The Mini series of iPods only ever saw two generations, and they both look almost identical. The first generation was launched in 2004 and it came in five colourways: Silver, Blue, Pink, Gold and Green. Instead of keeping the same design as the iPod 3G, Apple ditched the four individual buttons and added them as mechanical switches beneath the static wheel, which is why it was called a ‘click-wheel’.
This model came in just one storage size, 4GB, and was quoted as having a battery life of around eight hours. The shorter battery life hit a nerve with fans, which is why the second generation iPod Mini, which came out in 2005, had a nominal battery life of around 18 hours. The 1st-generation iPod Mini could be purchased for $249 at launch.
While we didn’t review the first iPod Mini, we did review the updated second version. At the time, our review said, “With the new iPod mini, Apple has increased its capacity by a third, battery-life by two-and-a-half times and improved sound quality. It’s a pretty impressive triple whammy and as long as its capacity is large enough for you, the iPod mini would be our recommended digital audio player.”
iPod Shuffle 2nd Generation (2006)
Next up, is the ‘most wearable iPod ever’, otherwise known as the second-generation iPod Shuffle.
Coming in at just 15.5g, it was similar in size to the iPod Radio Remote and could easily fit into the palm of your hand. The 2nd-gen Shuffle also included the new built-in belt clip, which made it easier to carry around.
This iPod didn’t come with a screen, though the power/shuffle/no shuffle switch from the first generation variation was separated into two controls to avoid confusion. This iPod Shuffle only had one flavour when it launched: a 1GB model in a silver aluminium case that cost $79, making it one of the cheapest iPods Apple came out with. The company did later release coloured variations of the Shuffle, in Blue, Green, Red and Pink.
iPod Photo (2004)
The iPod Photo launched in 2004 and was the first iPod to have a colour screen, with the Photo’s key selling point being that you could store and display your pictures on your device, as well as music.
The 220×176 LCD display was capable of displaying up to 65,536 colours, with the first model coming with 30GB storage, though 40GB/60GB models were released at a later date. The battery life went up to 15 hours, with the same static wheel that allowed users to scroll through songs and pictures with ease. You could buy the 40GB model when it launched for $499/£499 and the 60GB model for $599/£599.
Our reviewer at the time was far from a fan of the slightly chunky body, saying “Adding colour to the iPod does make it an even better product to use, for music as well as photos. But while being able to carry round a slideshow in your pocket is great, the 60GB unit loses points for its chunky chassis.”
iPod Touch 1st Generation (2007)
The first iPod Touch was a revolution in the iPod series, coming with a 3.5-inch display similar to the iPhone line and support for both Wi-Fi and a multi-touch interface. You could watch YouTube, access the iTunes Store and use Safari on the first iPod Touch, resulting in it becoming an instant hit with Apple fans.
The starting price for the first iPod Touch was $299.99/£299.99 when it launched, and you could find it in three flavours, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB storage. Apple claimed that the iPod Touch had a battery life of 22 hours for audio playback and five hours for video playback.