We take a look at all of Apple's iPods past and present. It's sure been a journey since that chunky, black-and-white original.
The iPod has come a long way since the introduction of the original 5GB model in 2001. In 2002, Apple doubled the iPod's capacity and added the signature solid-state scrollwheel. A year later, the capacity had increased to as much as 40GB. And 2004 saw the introduction of several new iPods, including the mighty Mini, the pricey Photo, and the black U2 iPod. In early 2005, we witnessed the splashy arrival of the flash-based USB key Shuffle, the 30GB iPod Photo, and the updated Mini, which added a 6GB version to the series as well as improved battery life. Then came the 20GB photo-friendly iPod (Apple dropped "Photo" from the name of this and the 60GB versions) and the colourised iPod U2 Special Edition.
Late in late 2005, the dynasty continued with the arrival of the flash-based iPod wunderkind, the 1GB, 2GB and 4GB Nano in black or white. It meant the end of the line for the iPod Mini. Meanwhile the superthin 5G iPod (30GB and 60GB sizes, white or black) lost some weight but gained a bigger screen and an appetite for video. In 2006, Apple released a new metallic Nano, changed the Shuffle into a fashionable belt clip, and introduced the U2 Special Edition iPod (5G).
In late 2007, a new crop of iPods landed with a bunch of further tweaks. There were more subdued colours on Shuffle and Nano lines, with the third-gen Nano completely re-profiled (it became wider and shorter than before) so that it could play back video. Apple also increased the capacity of the hard drive-based iPod — now dubbed the Classic — to a capacious 160GB. The iPod interface underwent its biggest change in years, with the Nano and the Classic offering split-screen browsing with front-and-centre album art. And there was a new hero model, the iPod Touch, basically a thinner, phone-less iPhone. The Touch offered all the multimedia capabilities of an iPhone — Wi-Fi browsing included — you just couldn't make calls from it. And as icing on the cake, the Touch supported over-the-air purchasing of iTunes tracks.
In 2008 we saw revisions in all iPod offerings. The Touch received softer edges, an internal speaker and an App Store, while the Nano's form factor was whisked back to the taller, thinner silhouette of previous generations. Meanwhile the iPod Classic — the player that started it all — received a contentious update: its 80GB and 160GB versions were nixed in favour of a solitary 120GB model. And the Shuffle? It's still trucking along, with the only change being a revamp in colours for the new season.