Apple announced earlier this week the discontinuation of the iPod touch. This was because it was the last iPod Music Player available for purchase. It effectively marks the end of the entire iPod line.
We thought it would be fun, to send the iPod on its journey, and to look back at some of our most memorable iPod releases over the past 21 years.
Original iPod (Music Players 2001):
The original iPod was launched in October 2001 as a device that could store 1,000 songs. It is one of Apple’s most well-known and iconic products and was responsible for Apple’s meteoric rise to fame.
The original iPod had a hard drive that could store 5GB and a Scroll Wheel that can turn. It is still the only iPod to have this design. It sold for $399 and featured a FireWire port that connected to a Mac. Apple’s second-generation iPod was almost identical to the first. It featured a capacitive touch wheel with click buttons on the sides. A third-generation iPod added a more refined Touch Wheel with buttons higher up. A Dock Connector was also included in the third-generation iPod.
The fourth-generation model was released in 2004. Apple introduced the Click Wheel. This version of the Touch Wheel also included the buttons. Apple used the Click Wheel throughout its fourth-generation model.
Apple’s fifth-generation iPod added video capabilities in 2005. This was also the first iPod to come in black, aside from the U2 edition in red and black.
Apple’s iPod video was followed by the iPod classic. Several versions of the iPod classic were released in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2009. All were identical in design. The iPod classic, Apple’s last iPod, was the 2009 iPod classic. It featured a 160GB hard disk, a Click Wheel, and widescreen color displays. It remained until 2014 when it was discontinued.
iPod mini (Music Players 2004):
The first iPod mini was released by Apple in 2004. It was smaller than the standard iPod. You could get it in a variety of fun colors, including pink, blue, and gold. It also had the standard Click Wheel.
The iPod mini was not a popular model and, although there was a second-generation version available in 2005, it was eventually discontinued in favor of the iPod nano.
iPod nano (Music Players 2005):
The iPod nano replaces the iPod mini and is Apple’s most popular iPod. This is due to the numerous design iterations it has seen over the years.
Apple began with a thin, aluminum-colored iPod. It featured a Click Wheel and flash memory. This allowed Apple to reduce its size. In 2006, the nano was replaced by the second-generation model. It had rounded edges, a smaller form factor, and brighter aluminum colors.
The third-generation iPod nano, which was released in 2007, went in a completely different direction. This nano was commonly known as the iPod “fatty.” It featured a larger, more squatter-like body and a wider display. There were also many color options.
In 2010, the nano received a major redesign that included a new sixth-generation version. This was a screen with a square-shaped frame. This version was the first to have a Click Wheel instead of a multi-touch screen. It also had watch straps, so it is a precursor of the Apple Watch.
Apple updated the design with the seventh-generation iPod nano in 2012. The device’s rectangular form was retained but the multi-touch display was kept in place. This nano was similar to an iPod touch of the same era, with a Home button as well as support for multiple applications. In 2015, the seven-generation iPod nano received new colors before was discontinued in 2017.
iPod shuffle (Music Players 2005):
The first iPod shuffle, Apple’s original iPod, was released in 2005 before the second-generation iPod mini. It looked very much like an Apple TV Remote. Apple’s first iPod without a display featured a control pad and doubled as a flash drive.
In 2009, Apple added voice technology to the iPod shuffle that allowed it to speak aloud songs and albums using text-to-speech. This model is where Apple removed the on-device controls and instead used headphones with an attached remote to playback.
The iPod Shuffle did not get any design updates. However, Apple did introduce new colors for the Shuffle in 2015. In 2017, it was finally discontinued.
iPod touch (Music Players 2007):
In 2007, the first iPod touch was released alongside the iPhone. It was an affordable alternative to iPhones that didn’t have cellular capabilities. It looked very much like an iPhone, with a multi-touch display of 3.5 inches and WiFi integration.
Although the design of the second and third-generation iPod touch models was identical, Apple also redesigned it for the iPhone 4 in 2010. The device had a front-facing facetime camera, a back camera, and support for iMessage. It was also available in white or black.
The design of the fifth-generation iPod Touch didn’t change. Apple introduced a sixth-generation model in 2017 and a seven-generation model in 2019 with new chips. The device was discontinued earlier this week, three years after the release of the seventh-generation iPod touch in 2019.
iPod Music Players Replacements
Apple stated that it had decided to end the iPod line-up because of the iPod’s capabilities being built into all Apple devices, including the iPhone and the iPad, as well as the Mac, Apple TV, and HomePod.