A Complete History of the iPod: From 2001 to 2022

It’s official — after more than 20 years, Apple will stop using the iPod. Apple has discontinued most versions of its MP3 players over the past few years, but as of 2022, production of the remaining models will also cease.

Looking back at the history of the iPod, you can see how deeply Apple was influenced by the success of the music player, and so was the rest of the world. Let’s look back at that history and remember the iPod — from its early days in 2001 to its final days in 2022.


2001-2003: First iPod

The first iPod was released on October 23, 2001. The size of a deck of cards and weighing 6.5 ounces, the all-white music player had 5GB of storage. This allowed it to hold and play around 1,000 songs, a number unmatched by other MP3 players at the time.

The first iPod set the standard for iPod classic design. These iPods were rectangular in shape with square screens, with scroll wheels and center selector buttons for navigating the device. The original iPod also had buttons around the scroll wheel, instead of being integrated with the wheel like later models. The additional buttons would last until 2004, with the development of the touch-sensitive click wheel and the iPod mini.

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Advertising for the iPod at this time advertised songs as much as the iPod itself. Songs would play as dark figures danced with their white iPods against a brightly colored background. These ads eventually became as iconic as the iPod.

By 2003, the storage capacity on the iPod had reached 40GB, coinciding with the launch of the iTunes Store and the need to store more songs. iTunes has existed as a media player since 1999, but the iTunes Store opened its doors on April 28, 2003. It is the only legal digital catalog for all major record labels and it allows you to purchase albums in MP3, as well as individual songs for $0.99 each.

2004–2005: iPod gets smaller

The iPod was always pretty small compared to other MP3 players back in 2001. However, that didn’t stop Apple from making it smaller. The iPod mini was released on February 20, 2004, and it weighed 3.6 ounces; almost half the weight of the first iPod. Like the early iMac models, the iPod mini comes in multiple colors. However, its storage space is relatively small – only 4GB. That might have changed if the iPod nano hadn’t been more popular, leading to the mini being discontinued.


Announced on September 7, 2005, the iPod nano measures 1.6 x 3.5 x 0.27 inches and weighs just 1.5 ounces. It comes in multiple colors and comes in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB capacities at release. It will be available in 8GB capacity in 2006.

2005 also saw another small iPod announced and released – the iPod shuffle. The 0.78-ounce shuffle doesn’t have a screen, and it only has 512MB or 1GB of storage (2GB capacity was offered in 2008). Mixers are cheaper than nano, but harder to navigate. The lack of a screen leaves users with only forward and backward buttons to scroll through the playlist inside.

Mix also cannot support playlists, instead allowing users to play songs in the order they were uploaded or in a random, “shuffled” order. So users traded in the number of songs they could listen to for size and travel convenience. For many, it was a worthy sacrifice. However, the fact that the iPod can support media other than music will complicate that choice for the next few years.


2005–2006: Don’t just listen, watch your iPod

In 2004, Apple released the iPod photo, an iPod with an LCD screen that could store and display photos. On October 12, 2005, Apple announced an iPod that could also play video. Video iPod has a smaller click wheel to allow more screen space. It can go up to 60GB in initial release, while the next generation goes up to 80GB, with longer video playback times.

You can include your own videos in iPod videos, and purchase and download TV episodes and movies from iTunes to include on your device. The purchase of digital movies and TV shows drastically changed media consumption over the next few years and kept the iPod extremely relevant for a long time. But Apple will change the game again by releasing the iPhone and the iPod will change with it.


2007–2008: iPod with touch screen

The release of the iPhone in August 2007 came after years of breakthroughs and firsts for smartphones, but it was arguably the smartphone that made smartphones a popular part of the world. variables of everyday life. The iPhone also helped create the iPod touch. The iPod touch was released in September 2007 and like the iPhone, it has a large touchscreen display, along with a Home button.

Like the iPhone, the iPod touch can access the Internet over Wi-Fi, allowing anyone to stream videos and music and download them to the device. People can also play the same game on both devices and use most of the same apps on both, including messaging apps.

The main difference between iPhone and iPod touch is that touch can’t connect to cellular data and it doesn’t have a camera like the iPhone did. The lack of these features makes the iPod touch a bit cheaper than the iPhone, so it’s a great choice for people who want certain iPhone features but don’t need a full-fledged smartphone. .

The release of the iPod touch saw generations of iPods based on the first iPod design being named iPod classic instead of just iPod. It also saw iPod nano generations with touchscreens descending the line.

2009–2013: Play with shapes and features

Over the next few years, Apple made a number of physical changes to the iPod nano, but not many fundamental changes to the iPod classic or iPod touch.

September 2010 saw the launch of the fifth-generation iPod Nano, believed to be the forerunner of the Apple Watch. The iPod is a small square with a touch screen and a clip on the back, allowing the user to clip it to themselves or to a wristwatch. The first screen will show the time to the touch, allowing it to become an iPod as well as a digital clock.

The iPod touch also had a camera in 2010, allowing it to make FaceTime calls, just like the iPhone could.

Additionally, battery life has improved on most iPod models, and storage capacity has increased across the board. VoiceOver was added to most iPods and some models with voice control included. Some iPods can connect to FM radio bands to listen to music directly.

Even so, the iPod is basically the same. They are digital music players, with some top features. Perhaps this relative stagnation indicates what is to come, the end of the iPod.

2014–2022: The final chapter of the iPod

In 2014, Apple announced that it was discontinuing production of the iPod classic. Similar announcements were made for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle in 2017. The iPod touch was still in production but no updates were available mid-July 2015, when the sixth generation of the touch was released. and May 2019, when the seventh generation came out.

The seventh-generation iPod touch turned out to be the last iPod that Apple made. It comes with an A10 processor and has a 256GB storage option. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, unlike modern iPhones that don’t have a headphone jack. However, 3 years later, in May 2022, Apple announced the discontinuation of iPod touch production. As of this writing, iPods can be purchased from Apple, but only until supplies run out.

Given that many people are wondering what to do with their old iPods instead of buying them these days, Apple’s decision to discontinue the iPod shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is remarkable that such a popular device has failed in a relatively short amount of time.

The end of an era

The iPod has gone from being an absolute must-have to being meaningless in two short decades. In many ways, the iPod is responsible for the way we tend to consume music today and the explosion of digital media purchases. These innovations paved the way for streaming platforms, where the iPod sadly couldn’t keep up. It ushered in an era where it could not compete.

So while we say goodbye to the iPod knowing that Apple was right to let it go, we do it knowing that without the iPod, many of the technologies we love would not exist. in. So thank you, iPod — we can’t imagine the world without you!


Apple stops producing the outstanding iPod

Apple reserves the right to discontinue iPod production, unfortunately

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https://www.makeuseof.com/history-of-the-ipod/ A Complete History of the iPod: From 2001 to 2022

Sarah Ridley

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