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The iPod is useless! Our 11 favorite variations of Apple’s game-changer


In 2001, an unassuming white field arrived and altered the gadget world.

Good job it did, too – if Apple had carried on simply making computer systems, we would all be strolling round listening to MiniDiscs, taking pictures on compact cameras and making cellphone calls on our Nokias. Think about! However the iPod modified every thing.

Now, in 2022, Apple has lastly killed the iPod useless. The writing was on the wall as early as 2017, when all fashions save the iPod Contact had been discontinued, and now that model too goes the best way of the dodo.

It’s an inauspicious finish to a cellular gadget that dramatically modified Apple’s fortunes. Regardless of some early fumbles – the iPod was Mac-only and FireWire at first – Apple’s music participant was transformative, and the right instance of taking one thing that already existed however bettering it immeasurably.

When it comes to design, the unique iPod was a basic. The scroll wheel was a stroke of genius that in some ways beats a touchscreen for the tactile pleasure of scanning from Abba to Zappa. Add within the iTunes Retailer and a brand new method to hearken to music emerged.

Then Apple began iterating. Smaller. Thinner. Extra buttons. No buttons. The iPod turned a playground, and even a U2 particular version couldn’t derail the road’s march in the direction of ubiquity. Different gamers turned an irrelevance, till the iPhone confirmed up and right away made each iPod look out of date. Apart from the iPod Contact… which is now additionally out of date.

So on a day like immediately, there’s just one factor left to do – doff our caps and make the definitive record of one of the best iPods ever…

1) iPod, first era (2001)

The unique iPod had a scroll wheel that really turned, and 4 buttons across the wheel that made a satisfying click on when pressed.

With a then-generous 5GB of storage, and (in contrast to its rivals) an interface that didn’t make you need to punch your individual face off, Apple’s first iPod was nonetheless derided by loads of individuals who didn’t see the potential – together with some naysayers within the Stuff workplace.

Little did they know that individuals love usability — and are prepared to pay for it.

2) iPod Nano (2005)

2) iPod Nano (2005)

After solely 18 months, the iPod mini was useless, and Apple’s obsession with miniaturisation started in earnest. The iPod Nano was the end result.

Out went exhausting drives and in got here SSD. Out went capability, too, with the high-end model packing 4GB and the low finish a measly 1GB. Nonetheless, that was greater than sufficient for our health club playlists, and the Nano was an excellent working companion (notably when mixed with the Nike+iPod package that arrived the following 12 months).

This meant the Nano caught round and quickly turned a playground for Apple’s {hardware} designers, the gadget getting a radical overhaul nearly yearly.

3) iPod Contact (2007)

Sorry, purists – we’ve determined the iPod Contact is a ‘correct’ iPod and never an old-school iPhone somebody ran over with a steamroller and hacked the Telephone app off of utilizing a chisel. However why’s it so excessive up on this record? As a result of it was good.

For a comparatively small outlay, you bought the iPhone’s most necessary bits – a touchscreen show and entry to the App Retailer. And it was absurdly gentle – the ultimate iteration weighed simply 88g. Coupled with the tiny type issue, it was nice for teenagers or for slinging in a pocket. Attempting to cram an iPad into our denims simply isn’t going to be the identical.

4) iPod, third era (2003)

3) iPod, third generation (2003)

Glowing buttons and a contact wheel on the third-generation iPod made you are feeling a bit such as you had been residing sooner or later. And it was additionally a future that Home windows customers had been now correctly invited to.

Whereas the second-generation iPod had Home windows compatibility via Musicmatch, now iTunes moved to Home windows, enabling the 95 per cent or so of people that weren’t Mac customers to get pleasure from its charms.

And what a listing of charms it had: that beautiful, rounded case, a throne-like dock, plus an additional 5 minutes of skip-protection (as much as 25 minutes), a minor miracle for these nonetheless used to babying their CD Walkmans.

5) iPod shuffle, second era (2006)

4) iPod shuffle, second generation (2006)

The unique iPod shuffle appeared like a USB reminiscence stick, however with playback controls connected.

And that’s in all probability as a result of that’s kind of what it was. That screenlesss iPod was additionally designed that can assist you rediscover your music, by autofilling and randomly taking part in again songs.

It actually got here of age, although, with the dinky second-generation ‘clip’ mannequin, which was good for listening to music whereas on the health club. Its proprietary dock was actually terrible, however we had been too besotted by its dinky proportions to essentially discover.

After a second of insanity (see later), Apple kind of returned to this mannequin’s set-up for the fourth era, which survived till the road was axed solely.

6) iPod Traditional (2007)

5) iPod Classic (2007)

The unique iPod lastly advanced into the iPod Traditional in 2007, solely receiving probably the most primary of incremental updates thereafter.

By 2009, it boasted a 160GB exhausting drive, and appeared moderately lengthy within the tooth in comparison with touchscreen-based upstarts. But it remained widespread with hardcore music followers, performing as a type of badge of honour that confirmed how unimpressed you had been with low bit-rate streaming companies.

An absence of options implies that nostalgic streaming refuseniks will nonetheless pay a princely sum for a second-hand Traditional. That’s partially due to its iconic design, but in addition due to the promise of a distraction-free listening expertise that we nonetheless generally pine for (till our fingers begin jabbing away at Twitter once more).

7) iPod nano, sixth era (2010)

6) iPod nano, sixth generation (2010)

For the sixth era of iPod nano, Apple went sq.. It was a curious contraption, half embiggened iPod shuffle and half wannabe iOS gadget, with an interface that resembled (however wasn’t truly associated to) the one on the iPhone.

However its type issue additionally made it attainable to show into one thing vaguely resembling a watch. Think about thatan Apple Watch!

Love for such an thought quickly light for most individuals when the restrictions of the expertise turned clearer — the necessity for the gadget in addition after inactivity; calls for for fixed syncing, and charging points. Limitations that, it’s honest to say, Apple nonetheless hasn’t fully conquered with the true Apple Watch.

READ MORE: iPod Traditional obituary: thanks for the music

8) iPod with video (2005)

7) iPod with video (2005)

Whereas the Nano battled with making iPods tiny, the unique slowly plodded alongside, steadily including options. In 2004, the Mini’s click on wheel was adopted, and a color display screen appeared.

However in 2005, the fifth-generation iPod went a bit skinnier and added video playback. It was nice for watching dodgy ripped episodes of your favorite sit-com, on a tiny display screen, which you’d spent ages getting right into a format that iTunes would truly play.

Nonetheless, that was a breeze in comparison with ripping our VHS assortment for an early Archos jukebox only a few years earlier. ‘Driver not discovered!’

9) iPod mini (2004)

8) iPod mini (2004)

One other nice instance of how individuals will purchase one thing if it’s genuinely beautiful, the iPod Mini appeared attractive, with its brightly-coloured anodized aluminium end.

It felt it, too, with its intelligent click on wheel interface. Though it solely sported solely a 4GB drive when the usual iPod by that time began at 10GB and went as much as 40GB, the Mini was a very lovely piece of package.

Its type issue alone gained it loads of followers, however in simply two years it was changed by the impossibly tiny Nano, which took the baton for Apple’s weeny music gamers all the best way to 2012.

10) iPod Nano, fifth era (2009)

9) iPod Nano, fifth generation (2009)

Between 2005 and 2008, the iPod Nano had gone all vibrant, changed into a squat credit-card-sized gadget, after which turned ultra-streamlined. With the fifth-gen, the case remained pretty just like that of its rapid predecessor, however the expertise inside was rather more fascinating.

The revised unit added radio and iPod tagging, VoiceOver, Nike+ integration, and – for the primary time in an iPod – a video digicam.

Truly recording with the factor was fiddly, and also you solely acquired VGA (640×480) output, but it surely’d be one other 12 months earlier than the iPod contact line would blaze previous with its fancy HD video recording.

11) iPod Shuffle, third era (2009)

10) iPod Shuffle, third generation (2009)

The maddest iPod Apple ever designed, the third-generation Shuffle probably streamlined issues a bit too far.

Whereas its predecessors did away with screens, this mannequin additionally determined controls had been an insignificant distraction and banished them to the earbuds. Simply one other reminder that Apple’s obsession with eradicating ports and buttons and goes manner again into the pre-iPhone days.

Nonetheless, there was one saving grace: the introduction of VoiceOver to learn aloud music, artist and album names for tracks which may have been dug up from the depths of your assortment.

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