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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 10:21 EDT

Apple iPod

The iPod is designed and marketed by Apple Inc., first released on November 10, 2001. It is a portable media player with four current versions, iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and the iPod Classic. It not only can play music, it also can be used as an external data storage device. Depending on the model, storage ranges from 2 GB for the iPod Shuffle up to 160 GB for the iPod classic, all the devices use Samsung, ARM and the Apple A5 CPUs.

Files can be transferred from computers using certain versions of Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems with Apple’s iTunes software. These files include music, photos, videos, games, e-mail contacts, web bookmarks, and calendars.

The first iPod was unveiled on October 23, 2001; it was Mac compatible with a 5 GB hard drive capable of storing 1,000 songs. The actual iPod name was trademarked by Joseph N. Grasso in July of 2000 for use as internet kiosks (pay per use internet access devices usually in hotel lobbies) with the first one demonstrated in March 1998 and the first one used in January 2000; but use of the kiosks was discontinued by 2001. The trademark was assigned to Apple Computer Inc by Grasso in 2005. Worldwide sales of all versions of iPods since its inception are over 300 million.

The iPod classic version:

First generation released on October 23, 2001 has a 5 or 10 GB storage capacity, 10 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 9 and 10.1 computers.

Second generation released on July 17, 2002 has a 10 or 20 GB storage capacity, 10 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.1 and Windows 2000.

Third generation released on April 28, 2003 has a 10, 15, 20, 30, or 40 GB storage capacity, 8 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.1 and Windows 2000.

Fourth generation released on July 19, 2004 has a 20 or 40 GB storage capacity, battery life is 12 hours of audio and is compatible with Mac 10.2 and Windows 2000.

Apple also released the iPod photo on October 26, 2004, and the iPod color on June 28, 2005.

Fifth generation released on October 12, 2005 has a 30, 60, or 80 GB storage capacity, battery life is 14 hours of audio, 2 hours video in the 30 GB, 20 hours of audio, 3 / 6.5 video in the 60 / 80 GB version, and is compatible with Mac 10.3 and Windows 2000.

Sixth generation released on September 5, 2007 has a 80, 120, or 160 GB storage capacity, battery life is 30 hours of audio, 5 hours video in the 80 GB, 36 hours of audio, 6 hours of video in the 120 GB, 40 hours audio, 7 hours video in the 160 GB version, and is compatible with Mac 10.3 and Windows 2000.

The iPod mini version:

First generation released on January 26, 2004 has a 4 GB storage capacity, 8 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.1 and Windows 2000 computers.

Second generation released on February 22, 2005 has a 4, or 6 GB storage capacity, 18 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.2 and Windows 2000 computers.

The iPod nano version, replaces the iPod mini:

First generation released on September 7, 2005 has a 1, 2, or 4 GB storage capacity, battery life is 14 hours of audio, 4 hours of slideshow and is compatible with Mac 10.3 and Windows 2000 computers.

Second generation released on September 12, 2006 has a 2, 4, or 8 GB storage capacity, battery life is 24 hours of audio, 5 hours slideshow, and is compatible with Mac 10.3 and Windows 2000.

Third generation released on September 5, 2007 has a 4, or 8 GB storage capacity, battery life is 24 hours of audio, 5 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP.

Fourth generation released on September 9, 2008 has a 4, 8, or 16 GB storage capacity, battery life is 24 hours of audio, 4 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP.

Fifth generation released on September 9, 2009 has a 8, or 16 GB storage capacity, battery life is 24 hours of audio, 5 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP.

Sixth generation released on September 1, 2010 has a 8 or 16 GB storage capacity, 24 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.5 and Windows XP.

Seventh generation released on September 12, 2012 has a 16 GB storage capacity, battery life is 30 hours of audio, 3.5 hours of video, and is compatible with Mac 10.6 and Windows XP.

The iPod shuffle version:

First generation released on January 11, 2005 has a 512 MB or 1 GB storage capacity, 12 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.2 and Windows 2000 computers.

Second generation released on September 12, 2006 has a 1 or 2 GB storage capacity, 12 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.3 and Windows 2000.

Third generation released on March 11, 2009 has a 2, or 4 GB storage capacity, 10 hours of audio battery life and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP.

Fourth generation released on September 1, 2010 has a 2 GB storage capacity, battery life is 15 hours of audio and is compatible with Mac 10.5 and Windows XP.

The iPod Touch version with touch screen capabilities:

First generation released on September 5, 2007 has a 8, 16, or 32 GB storage capacity, battery life is 22 hours of audio, 5 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP computers.

Second generation released on September 9, 2008 has a 8, 16, or 32 GB storage capacity, battery life is 36 hours of audio, 6 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP.

Third generation released on September 9, 2009 has a 32, or 64 GB storage capacity, battery life is 30 hours of audio, 6 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.4 and Windows XP.

Fourth generation released on September 9, 2010 has a 8, 16, or 32 GB storage capacity, battery life is 40 hours of audio, 7 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.5 and Windows XP.

Fifth generation released on September 12, 2012 has a 16, 32, or 64 GB storage capacity, battery life is 40 hours of audio, 7 hours video, and is compatible with Mac 10.6 and Windows XP.

Original versions of the iPod connected to the host computer by FireWire to download songs or recharge battery. There was also a power adapter for recharging included in the first four generations. The third generation has a 30-pin dock that would allow the firewire or a USB cable connection for use with non-Apple machines, eventually the iPod discontinued using the firewire and went solely to a USB connection and added the 3.5 phone connector for using headphones. On September 12, 2012 with the introduction of the fifth generation iPod touch and the seventh generation iPod nano, Apple replaced the 30-pin dock with an 8-pin dock.

Some accessories for the iPod include the iPod Hi-Fi, sound recorders, FM radio tuners, wired remote controls, audio/video cables to connect to a TV, external speakers, wireless remotes, and wireless earphones.

BMW was the first to release an automobile interface compatible with the iPod, and in 2005 Apple announced similar systems for other vehicles including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Acura, Audi, Honda, Renault, Infiniti, and Volkswagen. Scion comes standard with iPod connectivity.

JVC, Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, Sony, and Harman Kardon have iPod intergration in there systems.

The iPod uses several formats for its audio, video, and image files: MP3, AAC/M4A, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Audible audio book, and Apple Lossless for audio files. JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG for image files was introduced in the fifth and sixth generation iPod classic and the third generation iPod Nano. Video formats used are MPEG-4 and Quick Time. Every time the iPod is connected to a host computer it will sync with iTunes either automatically or manually, giving the user the ability to access play lists, and music libraries.

Most iPods have five control buttons on the interface with later versions having the buttons on the click wheel. The buttons are menu, play, pause, next track and previous track. The click wheel is used for scrolling through menus and controlling volume.

Games can be played on certain versions of the iPod. The game Brick came with the original iPod, and later versions included the games Parachute, Solitaire, and Music Quiz.

In 2006 the iTunes store started offering games for purchase compatible with the fifth generation iPod. These include Bejeweled, Cubis 2, Mahjong, Mini Golf, Pac-Man, Tetris, Texas Hold ’Em, Vortex, Asphalt 4, Elite Racing and Zuma, with other games continually being offered. All these games work with the fifth and sixth generation iPod classic and fourth and fifth generation iPod Nano.

The iPod battery was not designed for user replacement. Originally Apple would not replace worn out batteries and suggested buying refurbished iPods, but on November 14, 2003 Apple began offering battery replacement.

Image Caption: The Apple iPod family with, from the left to the right, the shuffle 4G, the nano 7G, the classic 6G and the touch 5G. Credit: Kyro/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)

Apple iPod