On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs announced that Apple was
venturing into the field of music and unveiled the very first iPod
in a small room. Although the reaction from the crowd was positive,
there was a whole lot less fanfare than today's release events
Why music? Jobs asked in his introduction. Well, we love music,
and it's always good to do something you love. More importantly,
music is a part of everyone's life. Everyone! Music's been around
forever; it will always be around. This is not a speculative
20 years on, Apple's pocket digital music and media player has
evolved through multiple generations, designs, functions, and
styles, such as the Mini, Nano, Shuffle, and Touch models, and
inspired some of Apple's greatest products, including the iPhone
Apple die-hards likely remember and may even still own several
of the many iPod iterations. In honor of the 20th anniversary of
the initial product launch, let's take a look at the timeline of
the iPod's colorful life.
October: An iBook is really portable, Jobs
boasted at the iPod unveiling, but this is ultra-portable!
At 6.5 ounces, 2.4 inches wide, four inches tall, and made with
barely over ¾-inch thick stainless steel, the first iPod ($399) was
designed to be the size of a deck of cards and hold $1,000 songs.
Users navigated songs with a mechanical scroll wheel on a
monochrome LCD display and had a 5GB hard drive that filled up
using a FireWire port.
The original iPod with
the Click Wheel.
March: Apple released a 10GB version of the
iPod for $499, twice as much storage for $100 more than the
original 5GB version.
July: The second-generation iPod gained a
solid-state Touch Wheel and contained double the space. The product
was released in both 10GB ($399) and 20GB ($499) models.
April: The iPod got a big third-generation
makeover in 2003, with the addition of four buttons that glowed red
and a new connector, the 30-pin dock connector. Sensing the needs
of obsessed music lovers, the company introduced a new 30GB model
($499), along with 10GB ($299) and 15GB ($399) choices.
The third-generation iPod.
September: The latest third-generation iPod
models jumped to 20GB and 40GB, replacing the 15GB and 30GB models,
respectively. Windows users got their first taste of the iPod via
MusicMatch Jukebox, opening up the iPod to a whole new
January: A new version of the iPod called the
iPod Mini ($249) debuted at Macworld San Francisco in gold, pink,
blue and green models at the beginning of 2004. Made of anodized
aluminum and containing a Click Wheel that replaced the four
auxiliary buttons, this petite 4GB model is closer in size to a
business card than a card deck and is only ½ inch thick.
Also in January, a 15GB third-generation iPod was offered for
$299, the same price as the previous 10GB model.
July: The fourth-generation iPod (20GB for $299
and 40GB for $399) was released with the same Click Wheel as the
The iPod mini.
September: Apple drops 20GB ($299) and 40GB
($499) versions of the fourth-generation iPod branded with the HP
October: Bono and The Edge from Irish rock act
U2 announced a 20GB branded U2 Special Edition iPod ($349), a black
model with a red wheel, monochrome screen and the band's signatures
laser-etched on the back. The Special Edition included a $50
discount on The Complete U2 digital box set.
The 40GB ($499) and 60GB ($599) color-screen iPod Photo models
were also released in the fall of 2004. Photos appeared in
January: The first-generation iPod Shuffle hit
the dancefloor at the beginning of 2005. The randomized music
player, a tiny silver wonder which weighs under one ounce and looks
like a pack of gum, was made available in 512MB ($99) and 1GB
February: The iPod Photo was released in a 30GB
model for $349, while the iPod Mini got a second-generation
facelift with 4GB ($199) and 6GB ($249) versions in new
The iPod Shuffle.
June: The iPod U2 Special Edition got a
color-screen upgrade and a $20 price break in the summer of 2005,
bringing the cost down to $329. Apple also launched the
revolutionary iTunes Music Store for easily purchasing and
transferring songs to the iPod.
September: Farewell, iPod Mini; hello, iPod
Nano! The first-generation Nano (2GB for $199 and $GB for $249)
measures ⅙ inches by 3.5 inches, weighs 1.5 ounces and packs 14
hours of battery life.
October: iPod graduated to its fifth-generation
release (30GB for $299 and 60GB for $399), now with video playback
and a larger screen.
February: iPod Nano becomes available in a 1GB
model ($149). In addition, the iPod Shuffles prices drop (512 MB
for $69 and 1GB for $99). The $69 model becomes the lowest price
iPod to be offered.
June: U2 fans get a new iPod U2 Special Edition
fifth-generation iPod, the third in the U2 series, for the same
price of $329.
The U2 Special Edition iPod.
September: The iPod fifth-generation and U2
Special Edition models both see Enhanced versions with a new search
function. The iPod Nano moves into its second-generation with 2GB
($149), 4GB ($199) and 8GB ($249). The iPod Shuffle also advances
to the second-generation model ($79), with 1GB of storage.
October: The second-generation iPod Nano
becomes available in (Project) Red.
January: The iPod Shuffle's second-generation
arrives in pink, blue, green, and orange (1GB for $49 and a new 2GB
model for $69) with a smaller case and a built-in belt clip. The
original silver color is still available in this release cycle,
The third-gen iPod nano.
September: The original iPod, now in its sixth
generation, is dubbed the iPod Classic (80GB for $249 and 160GB for
$349). The third-generation iPod Nano jumps in with a larger
display and equivalent resolution to the larger video iPod. And the
first-generation iPod Touch arrives (8GB for $299 and 16GB for
$399) taking a page from the iPhone with a 3.5-inch multi-touch
display, web browsing, and messaging.
September: The iPod Classic adds a thinner
120GB version ($249) to replace the previous 80GB and 160GB models.
Also in this fall wave: the fourth-generation iPod Nano and
second-generation iPod Touch.
The iPod Classic.
March: The iPod Shuffle ventures into
third-generation territory, with a new mostly buttonless design
that relied on VoiceOver technology to play music. It's available
in 2GB ($59) and two 4GB ($79-99) options. The pricier 4GB model is
made of all stainless steel.
September: The iPod Shuffle's fourth-generation
adds five colors and costs $59 for 2GB and 4GB for $79, while the
third-generation iteration of the iPod Touch arrives with minimal
changes (8GB for $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399) and the
second-generation iPod Touch (8GB for $229, 16GB for $299 and 32GB
for $399) brings improved hardware.
September: iPod Nano cycles into its sixth
generation (8GB for $149 and 16GB for $179) with a design that's
reminiscent of the Apple Watch, while iPod Shuffle‘s
fourth-generation introduces yet another new design. Also, the
fourth-gen iPod touch gets FaceTime capability.
The sixth-gen iPod nano.
October: The fourth-generation iPod touch was
introduced in white and the same 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB models as from
the previous year.
October: The new fifth-generation iPod touch
was the most colorful upgrade to date, with six hues that wrap
around the sides and cover the back, while the iPod Nano reached
its seventh generation with a more iOS-like interface. Both got
Meanwhile, the fourth-generation iPod Shuffle came back with new
color options and the fifth-generation iPod touch was released in
32GB and 64GB models.
The iPod touch.
May: Priced at $229, a silver budget version of
the iPod Touch with 16GB of storage and no rear-facing iSight
camera emerged in the spring of 2013.
May: The fifth-generation iPod touch grew to
include 32GB ($299) and 64GB ($399) models in 2014. The price of
the 16GB model dropped to $199.
July: After two and a half years of
fifth-generation iPod touch products, Apple released the
sixth-generation iPod touch (16GB for $199, 32GB for $249, 64GB for
$299 and 128GB for $399) with an A8 processor and M8 coprocessor in
the summer of 2015.
The fifth-gen iPod touch.
The company also brought out new versions of the
fourth-generation iPod Shuffle in six colors instead of the
previous eight colors. Meanwhile, the latest seventh-generation
iPod Nano dropped from seven to six colors. Both, however, are
still available in (Product) Red in this release cycle.
May: The seventh-generation iPod touch is Apple's most
recent iPod release to date. The surprise refresh was the first in
four years and came with an A10 processor, a 3.5 mm headphone jack
and a new 256GB storage option ($399), in addition to 32GB ($199)
and 128GB ($299) models. It's available in blue, pink, silver,
gold, space grey and (Prod