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iPod reaches ninth birthday in transition

updated 05:45 pm EDT, Sat October 23, 2010

iPod hits 9th birthday in shift to phones

Apple today reached the ninth anniversary of the iPod in the midst of a shifting climate. The MP3 player was first unveiled on October 23, 2001 at a special event on Apple's campus. Early versions were Mac-only, used Firewire 400 to sync and had just 5GB of space, which at the time was enough to hold Apple's well-known 1,000 songs but also cost $399.

Today, the least expensive screened iPod, the iPod nano, is just a fraction of the size but holds 2,000 songs, shows photos and holds FM radio.

The birthday has come as Apple is rapidly transitioning away from the iconic jog wheel and music-first focus that defined the early players. Its best-selling device is now the iPod touch, which is not only a touchscreen player but has been pitched primarily as an apps and gaming device with video capture and chat as equally important. Only the iPod classic, which has remained largely unchanged in the past three years, still has a wheel for input.

The timing is unintentionally symbolic as Sony is ending cassette Walkman sales. The device helped pioneer portable album listening and was eventually replaced by CDs and later MP3 players, when Apple took over from Sony as the leader in portable music.

1,000 songs, 2001

2,000 songs, 2010

by MacNN Staff





  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPod 3G 40GB

    I still use mine every day! For the $500 I paid, it better last until it is 10 years old.

  1. chas_m




    Apple was smart to name it the "iPod" in the first place. They knew it would grow and mature.

    What a total success story. I still have my 3rd gen iPod, still works.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Wasn't it introduced in MacWorld Expo?

  1. martinX

    Joined: Dec 1969



    No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

  1. facebook_Christopher

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2010


    iPod 1st Gen

    Strange timing as I was cleaning out boxes that were in storage today and came across my 1st Gen iPod. I kept it in its original box, and found the components to be in excellent condition. Plugged it in the firewire wall charger, and the iPod fired up and played its contents without a hitch. I was instantly reminded of how superior that physical interface is, being able to spin my finger around the wheel and control the unit without looking. That thing will probably survive the apocalypse with the roaches!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'd love to speak to those pundits that

    claimed it was going to be a massive failure and that no one needed to carry 1,000 songs in their pocket. They sort of knew that the "iPod" (a seemingly silly name) was just an overpriced mp3 player from Apple that was no better than the dozens of other mp3 players. I'm rather certain that those claims are still being made today.

    The first iPod I ever bought was the 5G 30GB model. I keep it in an iHome clock alarm (my second one) and my iPod runs all night long and I've been doing this for a few years and I use it when I go running a couple of times a week. I personally replaced the battery (it stopped holding a charge after a couple of years) and now it works as if it were brand new. A few times over the course of years it froze and needed to be force rebooted, but other than that it's been perfect. Whatever I paid for it from the Apple Store when it was brand new has certainly been worth the price. It's a great little device. I'm set on getting a 64 GB iPod Touch one of these days and I hope it lasts as long as my 5G iPod.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I still have.......

    I still have my 10 gig touch wheel iPod, it's actually sitting on my desk, i gave my girlfriend my 20 gig iPod color after she got me a 120 gig iPod classic. My bro has an iPod mini, and i got my mom an iPod nano when i got myself the 20 gig color. I still use both my iPhone 4 and my iPod.

    I have a feeling the iPod classic is going to be with us a very long time, it's a simple rugged design that is very easy to use, and as hard drives adopt higher capacity vertical pattern data storage, thy could get thinner.

    - A

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Me too...

    I still have my 5GB iPod from 2001(?). Love the thing and it still acts as a local music player hooked up to my speakers in my bedroom. I don't think that the newer models are nearly as indestructible as this beauty.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Firewire FTW

    Firewire synchronizing was so much faster than USB. I wish they would have kept it.

  1. tsmelker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    LOVE the classic 1G design...

    I still have the 1G, the 2G, the 3G and the iPod photo (the 4G with color screen) as part of my Mac Museum. All 4 of them still work, but the 1G was (and is) my favorite, as it was the very first Apple product I ever owned. Also, I loved the simplicity of operation- with the scroll wheel. Beauty in design and simplicity of operation- the hallmark of every Apple Product.

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