Happy Birthday iPod! Celebrating 15 years of bringing music to our ears

Published October 25th, 2016 - 10:00 GMT
Steve Jobs with the iPod in 2004. (AFP/File)
Steve Jobs with the iPod in 2004. (AFP/File)

The first time I saw the iPod ages ago, it was like, "dang, what is this"?

Took me not too long to figure out what it was - music to my ears, both literally and figuratively.

Music freaks like yours truly would surely appreciate an innovative product - especially one that has changed the entire music industry.

And to mark its 15th anniversary, we take a look back at every iPod model that has ever been released. And you'll be pleased to know that after each, you'll find out what minimum Mac or Windows version your iPod - all the way to the original one - needs for you to be able to sync it.


iPod Classic (1st generation)

October 23, 2001: The original iPod featured a ground-breaking mechanical scroll wheel, connected via FireWire, came in 5GB and (later) 10GB models and offers "1,000 songs in your pocket". (Mac OS 9, 10)


iPod Classic (2nd generation)

July 17, 2002: Touch-sensitive wheel introduced, 5GB dropped and 20GB added. Synced to Windows via Musicmatch. (Mac OS 10.1; Win 2000)

. By the end of 2002, 600,000 iPods were sold.


iPod Classic (3rd generation)

April 28, 2003: First major redesign featuring an all-touch interface and dock connector. USB added (for charging only), and 15GB, 30GB and 40GB models debuted. Musicmatch support ditched in favour of what would become an app powerhouse: the iTunes Store(Mac OS 10.1; Win 2000)

Other milestones in 2003:

. iTunes sells one million songs in its first week.

. In June, the one millionth iPod was sold.

. In September, over 10 million songs were downloaded on iTunes.

. In October, the iTunes Music Store was made available to Windows users.

. In December, iTunes downloads pip 25 million.


iPod Mini (1st generation)

January 6, 2004: First major resizing featured debut of the Click Wheel, but came in only 4GB. Had five colours(Mac OS 10.1; Win 2000)

. In March, iTunes downloads top 50 million.

. In June, the iTunes Music Store goes international, launching in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Also in this month, German drivers get the first car audio system with iPod integration.


iPod Classic (4th generation)


July 19, 2004: Adopts Click Wheel from the Mini and now connects via FireWire or USB. (Mac OS 10.2; Win 2000)

. iTunes downloads surpass 100 million in this month.


iPod Classic (4th generation) Photo

October 26, 2004: Premium version of the main iPod line had a coloured LCD that showed 65,536 colours. 60GB added.(Mac OS 10.2; Win 2000)

In October, iPod U2 Special Edition launched.

In December, iTunes downloads top 200 million.

. iPods sold through 2004: 10 million


iPod Shuffle (1st generation)

January 11, 2005: New entry into line-up had no screen and used flash memory. Connects via USB and came in 512MB and 1GB. (Mac OS 10.2; Win 2000)


iPod Mini (2nd generation)

February 22, 2005: The last in the Mini line had brighter colours, had Click Wheel characters matching the finish and longer battery life. Would later be supplanted by the Nano line-up. (Mac OS 10.2; Win 2000)


iPod Classic (4th generation) Color

June 28, 2005: Basically, the coloured screen of the Photo was integrated into the rest of the iPod line. (Mac OS 10.2; Win 2000)

. In July, iTunes downloads cross half-a-billion. 

. In August, Japan gets the iTunes Music Store.


iPod Nano (1st generation)

September 7, 2005: The successor to the Mini came in black and white, used flash memory of 1GB, 2GB and 4GB, and used USB to connect (FireWire for charging only). (Mac OS 10.3; Win 2000)


iPod Classic (5th generation)

October 12, 2005: Second full redesign featured a slimmer finish, larger screen and video playback. 80GB model introduced.(Mac OS 10.3; Win 2000)

. In October, iTunes expands to include TV shows and music videos; one million videos sold in less than three weeks.

. iPods sold through 2005: 42 million.

. In February 2006, iTunes sells its one billionth song.

. In May, Nike+iPod launched.


iPod Nano (2nd generation)

September 12, 2006: Six colours in anodised aluminium introduced, plus 8GB model added. (Mac OS 10.3; Win 2000)


iPod Shuffle (2nd generation)

September 12, 2006: Launched alongside the second Nano, the new Shuffle had a smaller clip-on design. (Mac OS 10.3; Win 2000)


iPod Classic (6th generation)

September 5, 2007: First of three new iPods unveiled on this day, this was the first time the "Classic" suffix was actually introduced, and subsequently used for its predecessors. 120GB and 160GB model added. This was also the swan song of the Classic line; it was discontinued on September 9, 2014. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)

In September, iTunes begins selling full-length feature films.

. In October, Apple announces the new iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition to benefit The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

. iPods sold through 2006: 88 million

. In January 2007, the iPhone is introduced. On iTunes, two billion songs, 50 million TV episodes and 1.3 films sold.

. In April, the 100 millionth iPod is sold.

. In May, iTunes U is launched on the iTunes Store.

. In July, three billion songs have been sold on iTunes.


iPod Nano (3rd generation)

September 5, 2007: Smaller Click Wheel and two-inch QVGA screen introduced; 2GB model ended. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)


iPod Touch (1st generation)

September 5, 2007: The star of this day's show was the first in the iPod line to take on an iPhone-esque look. It was also the first iPod with Wi-Fi, a multi-touch interface and wireless access to YouTube and the iTunes Store. 8GB, 16GB and (later) 32GB models available. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)

. iPods sold through 2007: 141 million.

. In January 2008, Apple premieres iTunes movie rentals with all major film studios.

. In April, the iTunes Store pips Wal-Mart to become the US' No.1 music retailer.

. In May, movies become available for sale on iTunes the same day as their DVD release.

. In June, iTunes sells over five billion songs.

. In July, the App Store debuts as the iPhone 3G hits shelves. iPhone and iPod Touch users download 10 million apps in App Store's first weekend.


iPod Nano (4th generation)

September 9, 2008: The first of two launches on this day saw the Nano line go back to its taller form and was available in nine colours. Accelerometer for shake and horizontal viewing added and was available 4GB (selected markets), 8GB and 16GB.(Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)


iPod Touch (2nd generation)

September 9, 2008: Came with iOS 2.0 and App Store access, plus volume buttons, built-in speaker and Nike+ functionality. Bluetooth support added but was not available until iOS 3.0. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)

. In September, App Store downloads top 100 million. Over 90 per cent of new cars in America offer iPod connectivity. 

. In October, iTunes goes high-definition with HD TV shows from major US networks.

. iPods sold through 2008: 197 million.

. In January 2009, all iTunes songs offered DRM-free.


iPod Shuffle (3rd generation)

March 11, 2009: Slimmer design, revamped controls and featured VoiceOver. More colours added to the original two in September. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)

. In March, films can be bought or rented in HD on the iTunes Store.

. In July, App Store marks first anniversary with over 1.5 billion songs downloaded.


iPod Nano (5th generation)

September 9, 2009: Two new iPods were launched on this day, and leading the way was the first iPod to have a video camera. Had a larger screen, pedometer, speaker and the same colours of its predecessor. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)


iPod Touch (3rd generation)

September 9, 2009: Retaining the looks of its predecessor, its main upgrade was the inclusion of the innards of the iPhone 3GS. Had Voice Control support and remote headphones included. (Mac OS 10.4; Win XP)

. App Store downloads top two billion.

. In November, over 100,000 apps were available on the App Store.

. iPods sold through 2009: 250 million.

. In January 2010, App Store downloads top three billion.

. In February, over 10 billion songs sold on iTunes.

. In July, App Store downloads cross five billion.


iPod Nano (6th generation)

September 1, 2010: The first of three iPods released on this day, the new Nano is the first in the line to have a multi-touchscreen, video playback and Bluetooth. Goodbye to the clip, though. (Mac OS 10.5; Win XP)


iPod Shuffle (4th generation)

September 1, 2010: Back to a smaller, square build, featured Voice Over and had five colours(Mac OS 10.5; Win XP)


iPod Touch (4th generation)

September 1, 2010: Featured two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording, slimmer design, Apple A4 chip and Retina Display similar to that of the iPhone 4. (Mac OS 10.5; Win XP)

. Over 250,000 available on the App Store at this point.

. iPods sold through September 1, 2010: 275 million.


iPod Nano (7th generation)

September 12, 2012: The first of two launches on this day saw the return (again) to a tall form factor for the Nano, with video playback restored, Bluetooth added, a larger 2.5-inch multi-touch screen and the demise (again) of the clip. (Mac OS 10.6; Win XP)


iPod Touch (5th generation)

September 12, 2012: Siri makes its debut on the iPod, better cameras and Apple A5 chip integrated and a longer four-inch Retina Display. First 16GB models had no colour choices and iSight cameras; these were eventually introduced in early 2014.(Mac OS 10.6; Win XP)


iPod Touch (6th generation)

July 15, 2015: The last (so far) to be released in the iPod family feature new cameras, the Apple A8 chip with the M8 motion coprocessor, five colours and a new 128GB option. (Mac OS 10.10; Win 7)

By Alvin R Cabral


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