The Walkman may have started the first portable music revolution, but the iPod began the second. It increasingly put thousands upon thousands of songs in your pocket, and made it so that no one ever had to leave behind a track from their library again. And beyond all of that, it just happened to kickstart Apple’s dominating position in mobile.
Today, just shy of the 13th anniversary of its initial release, the classic iPod is finally being discontinued. Here’s a look back across the revolutionary line of MP3 players, from its simple beginnings, to its flashy days of glory, right down to its final redesign.
Lead image by Michael Shane.
3rd generation iPod classic from Matthew Pearce (Flickr).
- First generation, 2001. The original iPod famously put “1,000 songs in your pocket.” It had a scroll wheel that physically rotated, a giant FireWire port on top for charging and syncing, and was available in 5 and 10GB models for $399 and $499 respectively.
- Second generation, 2002. The iPod’s second version was almost identical to its first, but it replaced the original device’s mechanical wheel with a touch-sensitive one. Storage space was also doubled at both price points, and for the first time it supported use on Windows.
- Third generation, 2003. For its first redesign, the iPod slimmed down drastically, dropping FireWire in favor of the 30-pin connector that Apple used for nearly a decade afterward, and turning the playback controls into capacitive touch buttons. Base storage stayed at 10GB, but 30 and 40GB models were also offered. (Image credit: Matthew Pearce / Flickr)
- Fourth generation, 2004. The iPod’s next redesign introduced the Click Wheel, with playback controls built right into the scroll ring. It came in 20 and 40GB models, and an updated model featuring a color display was introduced just months later.
- The iPod didn’t just sell itself. Apple ran an aggressive — and soon iconic — advertising campaign for several years that featured silhouetted figures dancing to music played off bright white iPods. They were hard to miss, and hard not to like.
- Fifth generation, 2005. The penultimate iPod redesign was the first classic to be available in both black and white. It had a flat front, a color display, and was offered in 30, 60, and 80GB models. Also known as the iPod video, it was the first iPod to support movie playback.
- While the initial iPod ads featured solid, brightly colored backgrounds, the later ones got a little more complicated with scattered backgrounds, eclectic colors schemes, and more detailed models. Even so, they were as fun and energetic as ever.
- Sixth generation, 2007. The iPod’s final redesign, and how it stayed for over six years. It replaced the iPod’s iconic white front with silver and black brushed aluminum options, and was offered at various times in 80, 120, and 160GB models. Its debut also coincided with two major changes for Apple's MP3 players: the suffix “classic” across the iPod line, and the introduction of the very first iPod touch.