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Original iPod: A Look Back At Apple's Iconic MP3 Music Player

The iPod may seem like less of a relevant product these days, but the discontinuation of the entire lineup is still an important moment in time. The iPod lineup has been around for years, predating the original iPhone, and went a long way to establishing Apple as the company many now know today. Of course, with the iPhone having continuously matured in features and abilities, the end of the iPod was only ever a matter of time.

It is not only the hardware that has improved in such a way that reliance on single-purpose devices, like MP3 players, has been reduced. For example, Apple also offers its own Apple Music streaming service, making it possible for owners of just about any Apple device to listen to more than 90 million songs. This is not just the situation for iPhone and Mac users, with most consumers now able to listen to their favorite tunes on multiple devices in and around the home, and often irrespective of the general hardware limitations of a device.

Related: iPod nano Dummies Reveal How Different The MP3 Player Could Have Been

The original iPod launched all the way back in 2001. On October 23rd, Apple announced the iPod, referring to it as a “breakthrough MP3 music player” and going on to say how the company has “invented a whole new category of digital music player.” The original iPod came with a scroll wheel that could be physically turned to navigate through the various menus and settings. There were also Play, Menu, Next, and Previous controls surrounding the wheel, a 160 x 128 high-resolution LED backlight display, and a 60-mW amplifier. In terms of the software, the original iPod required iTunes 2 for transferring music and was advertised as capable of downloading an entire album in less than 10 seconds, or 1,000 songs in under ten minutes.

For those that opted to pick up the iPod (Scroll Wheel) at the time, the price was set at $399 in the United States. For that price, buyers were provided with a 5GB internal hard drive that could store up to 1,000 CD-quality songs. The most recent iPod touch, which is still available though the Apple Store (while supplies last), starts at $199 and comes with 32GB storage. The battery life on the original model was rated to last a maximum of 10 hours and this compares to the 40 hours of music playback offered by the most recent iPod touch. In fact, the newest iPod touch can last almost as long (up to 8 hours) when playing video as the original iPod could when playing audio.

The original iPod also came with support for MP3, MP3 VBR, AIFF and WAV formats, MP3 bit rates up to 320-Kbps, and a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. All purchases of the first-generation iPod were bundled with an iTunes 2 CD, earbuds, a FireWire cable, and a FireWire power adapter. Not too much changed in terms of what’s in the box over the years, although the newest iPod touch does come bundled with updated EarPods and a Lightning to USB cable.

Next: From An iPod To A Mac. How The iPhone Has Evolved Over The Years

Source: Apple, Apple Store

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