Sunday, September 30, 2007

iPod: Past, Present, Future

The first iPod was unveiled to the world in October 2001. They used 5 Gbyte hard drives the size of a coin. The wheel of controls on the front was revolutionary at the time, and remains integral to the design of all iPods to the present day. Critics did not universally welcome the device. In particular, the $400 price tag was thought extortionate.

Although the classic was updated and improved, it was not until 2004 that a major new product was added to the iPod range. The Mini launched with a 4 Gbyte capacity, 8 hours of batter life and a $250 price tag. A 6 Gbyte version was added early in 2005 which had more than double the battery life.

By 2005, the iPod had become such a cultural icon it was being used as a marketing platform. U2 and Apple created a black and red version to coincide with the launch of the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

Apple supreme Steve Jobs had always dismissed the flash memory stick form of music player, and the iPod’s success had certainly suggested he was right. But in January 2005, he made a U-turn on that philosophy with the launch of the Shuffle. The $99 512 Kbyte memory stick was directly aimed at undercutting the budget Flash device market.

Introduced in September 2005, the tiny Nano replaced the Ipod Mini. It was available in either 2 or 4 Gybte versions and came in a simple choice of black or white. A new scroll wheel was introduced that worked with a light stroke of the finger.

Only a month later, Apple launched the Video Ipod. The unit looked like an overgrown Nano, but packed a massive 60 Gbytes of storage in the highest capacity version. Software on the Nanos and Video Ipods was also becoming more sophisticated with the inclusion of calendar and address book viewers.

The smallest iPod ever created was introduced in September 2006. The Shuffle Mini is little larger than a book of matches, and features the scroll wheel on the front, and a clip on the back so that it could be attached to clothing. It became an instant hit with gym junkies who bought it in several colours to match their lycra fitness outfits.

In the first week of September this year, a complete overhaul of the iPod range was announced. The Nano is shorter and wider than its predecessor, but the same thickness. It is available in five colours and two capacities – 4 or 8 Gbytes.

The original high capacity iPod has been renamed the Classic. The top of the range 160 Gbyte version sells for around $350 in the US. New 2 Gbyte Shuffles have also been released that retail for around $80.

The most dramatic leap forward in the new family is the iPod Touch. The scroll wheel has disappeared – at least in a physical form – but you can still operate the device using a virtual wheel that appears on the screen. A Gbyte16 version will set you back over $400.

1 comment:

chase said...

i have an 4GB ipod mini.
i think its one of the 1st gen cheap ipods released.
i treasure it. 'coz i didn't cost me a cent.