Original iPod (2001)
Introduced in October 2001, the original iPod was a device that could fit 1,000 songs in your pocket. It became one of Apple’s most iconic and recognizable products, and one of the devices that brought Apple back to life.
The original iPod offered a hard drive with 5GB of storage and a scroll wheel that physically turned, and it’s still the only iPod with that design. It also has a FireWire port for connecting to a Mac and sells for $399.
Apple introduced the nearly identical second-generation iPod in 2002, which featured a capacitive-sensing touch wheel and click buttons on either side, and the third-generation model added a more refined touch wheel with buttons on it. The third-generation iPod also added a Dock connector.
With the introduction of the fourth-generation model in 2004, Apple introduced the Click Wheel, an iteration of the touch wheel that also included buttons. Apple will continue to use the click wheel for years to come.
Later in 2004, the iPod photo with a color display followed the fourth-generation model, and Apple expanded the color display to all models in 2005 with the iPod with a color display. Both products are considered part of the fourth-generation lineup.
Apple added video capabilities to the fifth-generation iPod in 2005, which was the first to have a black iPod other than the special black and red U2 version.
After the iPod video, Apple introduced the iPod classic, and several versions in 2007, 2008, and 2009, all of which were similar in design. The 2009 iPod classic was Apple’s last iPod in size, and it featured a 160GB hard drive, a click wheel, and a widescreen color display. It lasted until it was discontinued in 2014.
iPod mini (2004)
Apple’s first iPod mini came out in 2004, and it was much smaller than the standard iPod. It comes in a few fun colors, including yellow, blue, pink, and gold, and it has a standard click wheel.
The iPod mini didn’t last long, and although there was a second-generation version in 2005, it was discontinued after that in favor of the iPod nano.
iPod nano (2005)
The series replaced the iPod mini, and the iPod nano is one of Apple’s most interesting iPods, as it has gone through many major design iterations over the years.
Apple started out with a slim, aluminum-colored iPod with a click wheel, color screen, and flash memory that allowed Apple to cut down on size. In 2006, the nano was replaced by a second-generation version with more rounded edges, a smaller form factor, and a bright aluminum color.
Apple went in a completely different direction with the third-generation iPod nano, which came out in 2007, colloquially known as the iPod nano fatty. It has a wider, flatter body, has a wider display, and is available in several colors.
The nano fatty lasted only a year before being replaced by the slimmed down fourth-generation iPod nano, which had a whole rainbow of colors. It has a taller screen, a curved front, and an accelerator for a “shake” function that lets you shake the iPod to chop songs.
Apple’s 2009 fifth-generation iPod nano was similar to the fourth-generation model, but had a taller screen and gained a camera and a microphone. It’s also available in brighter colors, but Apple has maintained a broad color selection.
In 2010, the sixth-generation version of the nano underwent a major overhaul in design, it was just a screen with a square body. Instead of a click wheel, it used a multi-touch display, which was also the version people attached straps to, making it the predecessor to the Apple Watch.
In 2012, Apple changed the design on the seventh-generation iPod nano, returning to a rectangular shape but retaining the multi-touch display. The nano from this era looked similar to the smaller iPod touch, with a home button and support for multiple apps. The seventh-generation iPod nano got a new color in 2015 before being discontinued in 2017.
iPod shuffle (2005)
Apple’s first iPod shuffle, launched in 2005 before the second-generation iPod mini, looked a lot like an Apple TV remote. It was Apple’s first iPod without a display, with nothing but a control panel to reduce size, plus it doubled as a flash drive.
The second-generation iPod shuffle underwent a major redesign in 2006, with Apple shrinking it to half its original size and adding a belt clip. It was billed as the world’s smallest MP3 player at the time, and there was even a small iPod shuffle dock for charging it through the headphone jack. It launched in silver, but Apple eventually launched other colors like pink, blue, green, and orange.
The iPod shuffle got another redesign in 2009, when Apple added a voice feature that lets it speak the names of songs and albums aloud via text-to-speech. In this model, Apple does away with on-device controls and instead uses headphones with a remote for playback.
In 2010, Apple decided that not having on-device controls was a bad idea and launched the fourth-generation iPod shuffle. The fourth-generation model was the last iPod shuffle, with bright colors, a smaller chassis, and the return of the control panel.
The iPod Shuffle hasn’t received any other design updates, although Apple introduced new colors in 2015. It was finally discontinued in 2017.
iPod touch (2007)
The first iPod touch was launched in 2007 withiPhoneCame out together, it was a more affordable iPhone alternative without cellular phone capabilities. It looks a lot like an iPhone, with a 3.5-inch multi-touch display, WiFi support, integrated Safari browser, and apps like YouTube, Mail, Maps, and Weather.
The second and third generation iPod touch models had the same design, but when the iPhone 4 came out in 2010, Apple also redesigned the iPod touch to have a similar look. It includes a front-facing FaceTime camera, a rear camera, and supports iMessage, plus it’s available in black or white.
Apple redesigned the iPod touch again in 2012, the fifth-generation model had a larger display and a thinner body, and it was the first iPod touch to feature bright colors. Released at the same time as the iPhone 5, it was a pocket computer with an A5 chip.
After the fifth-generation iPod touch, the design hasn’t changed, but Apple introduced a sixth-generation model in 2017 and a seventh-generation model in 2019, both with newer chips. After the seventh-generation iPod touch was released in 2019, the device hadn’t been updated for three years until it was discontinued earlier this week.
Apple says it decided to let the iPod lineup go downhill because the iPod’s functionality is now built into every Apple device, from the iPhone andiPadto Mac, Apple TV, HomePod and Apple Watch.
Almost every modern Apple device supports Apple Music, which Apple launched in 2015, and is also available on the web, on Android devices, and more, making the iPod redundant. Apple is selling the iPod touch while supplies last, but it’s sold out in the US.