iPod is a brand of portable media players designed and
marketed by Apple and launched
The product line-up includes the hard drive-based
, the touchscreen iPod Touch
, the video-capable iPod Nano
, and the compact iPod Shuffle
. The iPhone
can function as an iPod but is generally treated as a separate
product. Former iPod models include the iPod
and the spin-off iPod Photo
(since reintegrated into the main iPod Classic line). iPod Classic
models store media
on an internal
, while all other models use
to enable their smaller
size (the discontinued Mini used a Microdrive
miniature hard drive). As with many
other digital music players, iPods can also serve as external
data storage devices
Storage capacity varies by model.
software can be used to
transfer music to the devices from computers using certain versions
of Apple Macintosh
and Microsoft Windows
operating systems. For users who choose not to use Apple's software
or whose computers cannot run iTunes software, several open source
alternatives to iTunes are also available. iTunes and its
alternatives may also transfer photos, videos, games
, contact information, e-mail
settings, Web bookmarks, and calendars to iPod
models supporting those features. The Apple iPod is the only device
compatible with iTunes, although select devices from Archos
are compatible. As of , more than 220,000,000
iPods had been sold worldwide, making it the best-selling digital audio player
History and design
The iPod line came from Apple's "digital hub" category, when the
company began creating software for the growing market of personal
digital devices. Digital cameras, camcorders and organizers had
well-established mainstream markets, but the company found existing
digital music players "big and clunky or small and useless" with
user interfaces that were "unbelievably awful," so Apple decided to
develop its own. As ordered by CEO Steve
, Apple's hardware engineering chief Jon Rubinstein
assembled a team of engineers
to design the iPod line, including hardware engineers Tony Fadell
, and design engineer Jonathan
. The product was developed in less than one year and
unveiled on 23 October 2001. Jobs announced it as a Mac-compatible
product with a 5 GB hard drive that put "1,000 songs in your
Apple did not develop the iPod software entirely in-house, instead
's reference platform
based on 2 ARM
cores. The platform
had rudimentary software running on a commercial microkernel
embedded operating system. PortalPlayer had previously been working
on an IBM-branded MP3 player with Bluetooth
headphones. Apple contracted another
, to help design and implement the
user interface under the direct supervision of Steve Jobs. As
development progressed, Apple continued to refine the software's
look and feel. Starting with the iPod
, the Chicago
replaced with Espy Sans
. Later iPods
switched fonts again to Podium Sans
font similar to Apple's corporate font, Myriad
. iPods with color displays then
adopted some Mac OS X
themes like Aqua
progress bars, and brushed
meant to evoke a combination
. In 2007, Apple modified the iPod interface again with the
introduction of the sixth-generation iPod
and third-generation iPod Nano
by changing the font to Helvetica
most cases, splitting the screen in half by displaying the menus on
the left and album artwork, photos, or videos on the right
(whichever was appropriate for the selected item).
In September 2007, during the course of a lawsuit with patent holding company
Apple drew attention to a patent for a similar device that was
developed in 1979. Kane Kramer
the idea of a "plastic music box" in 1979, which he called the IXI.
He was unable to secure funding to renew the US$
120,000 worldwide patent, so it
lapsed and Kramer never profited from his idea.
The name iPod
was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance
copywriter, who (with others) was called by Apple to figure out how
to introduce the new player to the public. After Chieco saw a
prototype, he thought of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey
the phrase "Open the pod bay door, Hal
which refers to the white EVA Pods
researched the trademark and found that it was already in use.
Joseph N. Grasso of New Jersey had originally listed an "iPod" trademark with the
in July 2000 for Internet kiosks
. The first iPod kiosks had
been demonstrated to the public in New Jersey in March 1998, and
commercial use began in January 2000, but had apparently been
discontinued by 2001. The trademark was registered by the USPTO in
November 2003, and Grasso assigned it to Apple Computer, Inc. in
The iPod line can play several audio
, Audible audiobook
, and Apple
. The iPod Photo introduced the ability to display
, and PNG
image file formats. Fifth and sixth generation iPod Classics, as
well as third generation iPod Nanos, can additionally play MPEG-4
) and QuickTime video formats
, with restrictions on video
dimensions, encoding techniques and data-rates. Originally, iPod
software only worked with Mac OS
software for Microsoft Windows
launched with the second generation model. Unlike most other media
players, Apple does not support Microsoft
audio format—but a converter for WMA files without Digital Rights Management
provided with the Windows
of iTunes. MIDI
files also cannot be played,
but can be converted to audio files using the "Advanced" menu in
iTunes. Alternative open-source audio formats, such as Ogg Vorbis
, are not
supported without installing custom firmware onto an iPod (e.g.
During installation, an iPod is associated with one host computer.
Each time an iPod connects to its host computer, iTunes can
synchronize entire music libraries or music playlists either
automatically or manually. Song ratings can be set on an iPod and
synchronized later to the iTunes library, and vice versa. A user
can access, play, and add music on a second computer if an iPod is
set to manual and not automatic sync, but anything added or edited
will be reversed upon connecting and syncing with the main computer
and its library. If a user wishes to automatically sync music with
another computer, an iPod's library will be entirely wiped and
replaced with the other computer's library.
The iPod line's signature click
iPods with color displays use anti-aliased
graphics and text, with sliding
animations. All iPods (except the current iPod Shuffle
) have five buttons and the later generations have the
buttons integrated into the click wheel—an innovation that gives an
uncluttered, minimalist interface
The buttons perform basic functions such as menu, play, pause, next
track, and previous track. Other operations, such as scrolling
through menu items and controlling the volume, are performed by
using the click wheel in a rotational manner. The current iPod Shuffle
does not have any controls on the
actual player; instead it has a small control on the earphone
cable, with volume-up and -down buttons and a single button for
play/pause, next track, etc. The iPod
has no click-wheel; instead it uses a 3.5" touch screen
in addition to a home button, sleep/wake button and (on the second
and third generations of the iPod touch) volume-up and -down
buttons. The user interface for the iPod touch is virtually
identical to that of the iPhone
. Both devices
use the iPhone OS
The iTunes Store (introduced 29 April 2003) is an online media
store run by Apple and accessed via iTunes. Since no other portable
player supports the DRM
used, only iPods can play protected content from the iTunes Store.
The store became the market leader soon after its launch and Apple
announced the sale of videos through the store on 12 October 2005.
Full-length movies became available on 12 September 2006.
Purchased audio files use the AAC format with added encryption. The
encryption is based on the FairPlay
system. Up to five authorized computers and an unlimited number of
iPods can play the files. Burning the files onto an audio CD, then
re-compressing can create music files without the DRM, although
this results in reduced quality
DRM can also be removed using third-party software. However, in a
deal with Apple, EMI
began selling DRM-free,
higher-quality songs on the iTunes Stores, in a category called
"iTunes Plus." While individual songs were made available at a cost
of US$1.29, 30¢ more than the cost of a regular DRM song, entire
albums were available for the same price, US$9.99, as DRM encoded
albums. On 17 October 2007, Apple lowered the cost of
individual iTunes Plus songs to US$0.99 per song, the same as DRM
encoded tracks. On January 6, 2009, Apple announced that DRM has
been removed from 80% of the music catalog, and that it will be
removed from all music by April, 2009.
iPods cannot play music files from competing music stores that use
rival-DRM technologies like Microsoft
DRM. Example stores include Napster
and MSN Music
RealNetworks claims that Apple is creating problems for itself by
using FairPlay to lock users into using the iTunes Store. Steve
Jobs has stated that Apple makes little profit from song sales,
although Apple uses the store to promote iPod sales. However, iPods
can also play music files from online stores that do not use DRM,
such as eMusic
Universal Music Group
not to renew their contract with the iTunes Music Store on 3 July
2007. Universal will now supply iTunes in an 'at will'
Apple debuted the iTunes Wi-Fi
on 5 September 2007, in its Media Event entitled
"The Beat Goes On..." This service allows users to access the Music
Store from either an iPhone or an iPod Touch and download songs
directly to the device that can be synced to the user's iTunes
are playable on various
versions of iPods. The original iPod had the game Brick
(originally invented by
Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak
included as an easter egg
hidden feature; later firmware
added it as a menu option. Later revisions of the iPod added three
more games in addition to Brick
, and Music Quiz
In September 2006 the iTunes Store
began to offer additional games for purchase with the launch of
, compatible with the
fifth generation iPod
with iPod software
1.2 or later. Those games were: Bejeweled
, Cubis 2
Texas Hold 'Em
, and Zuma
. Additional games have since
been added. These games work on current and immediate previous
generation of the iPod Nano and iPod Classic.
With third parties like Namco
, Square Enix
, Electronic Arts
and Hudson Soft
all making games for the
iPod, Apple's MP3 player has taken great steps towards entering the
video game handheld console market. Even video game magazines like
have reviewed and rated most
of their games as of late.
The games are in the form of .ipg
are actually .zip
archives in disguise. When
unzipped, they reveal executable files along with common audio and
image files, leading to the possibility of third party games
. Apple has not
publicly released a software
(SDK) for iPod-specific development. Apps
produced with the iPhone SDK
compatible only with the iPhone OS
iPod Touch and iPhone, which cannot run clickwheel-based
File storage and transfer
All iPods except for the iPod Touch can function in "disk mode" as
a mass storage devices
to store data files. If an iPod is formatted on a Mac OS X
computer, it uses the HFS+
format, which allows it to serve as a boot
for a Mac computer. If it is formatted on Windows, the
format is used.
With the advent of the Windows-compatible iPod, the default file
system used on the iPod line switched from HFS+ to FAT32, although
it can be reformatted to either file system (excluding the iPod
Shuffle which is strictly FAT32). Generally, if a new iPod
(excluding the iPod Shuffle) is initially plugged into a computer
running Windows, it will be formatted with FAT32, and if initially
plugged into a Mac running Mac OS X it will be formatted with
Unlike many other MP3 players, simply copying audio or video files
to the drive with a typical file
application will not allow an iPod to properly
access them. The user must use software that has been specifically
designed to transfer media files to iPods, so that the files are
playable and viewable. Usually iTunes is used to transfer media to
an iPod, though several
alternative third-party applications
are available on a number
of different platforms.
iTunes 7 and above can transfer purchased media of the iTunes Store
from an iPod to a computer, provided that computer containing the
DRM protected media is authorized to play it.
Media files are stored on an iPod in a hidden folder, along with a
proprietary database file. The hidden content can be accessed on
the host operating system by enabling hidden files
to be shown. The media files can
then be recovered manually by copying the files or folders off the
iPod. Many third-party applications also allow easy copying of
media files off of an iPod.
Chipsets and Electronics
|Chipset or Electronic
||iPod Classic first to third generations
||Two ARM 7TDMI-derived CPUs running at 90 MHz
|iPod Classic fourth and fifth generations, iPod Mini, iPod Nano
||Variable-speed ARM 7TDMI CPUs,
running at a peak of 80 MHz to save battery life
|iPod Nano second generation
||Samsung System-on-a-chip, based around an ARM processor.
|iPod Shuffle first generation
||SigmaTel STMP3550 chip that handles
both the music decoding and the audio circuitry.
||All iPods (except the iPod Shuffle, 6G Classic and 2G
||Audio Codecs developed by Wolfson Microelectronics
|Sixth generation iPod Classic
||Cirrus Logic Audio Codec Chip
||45.7 mm (1.8 in) hard drives (ATA-6, 4200 rpm with proprietary connectors) made
||25.4 mm (1 in) Microdrive
by Hitachi and Seagate
||Flash Memory from Samsung, Toshiba, and
|iPod shuffle and Touch
||iPod Classic first and second generation, Shuffle
||Internal Lithium Polymer
|iPod Classic 3G onward, iPod Mini, iPod Nano, iPod Touch,
||2.2-inch (diagonal) color LCD with
blue-white LED backlight, 320x240 resolution at 204 pixels per inch
||2.5-inch (diagonal) color LCD with LED backlight, 320x240
resolution at 163 pixels per
||3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen
resolution at 163 pixels per
Originally, a FireWire
connection to the
host computer was used to update songs or recharge the battery
. The battery could also be
charged with a power adapter that was included with the first four
generations. The third generation began including a 30-pin dock connector
, allowing for FireWire or
connectivity. This provided better
compatibility with non-Apple machines, as most of them did not have
FireWire ports at the time. Eventually Apple began shipping iPods
with USB cables instead of FireWire, although the latter was
available separately. As of the first generation iPod Nano and the
fifth generation iPod Classic, Apple discontinued using FireWire
for data transfer (while still allowing for use of FireWire to
charge the device) in an attempt to reduce cost and form factor. As
of the second-generation iPod Touch and the fourth-generation iPod
Nano, FireWire charging ability has been removed. The second and
third generation iPod Shuffle uses a single 3.5 mm jack
which acts as both a
headphone jack and a data port for the dock.
The dock connector also allowed the iPod to connect to accessories,
which often supplement the iPod's music, video, and photo playback.
Apple sells a few accessories, such as the now-discontinued
, but most are manufactured by
third parties such as Belkin
. Some peripherals use their own
interface, while others use the iPod's own screen. Because the dock
connector is a proprietary interface, the implementation of the
interface requires paying royalties to Apple.
Many accessories have been made for the iPod line. A large number
are made by third party companies, although many, such as the late
, are made by Apple. Some
accessories add extra features that other music players have, such
as sound recorders, FM radio tuners, wired remote controls, and
audio/visual cables for TV connections. Other accessories offer
unique features like the Nike+iPod
pedometer and the iPod Camera Connector. Other notable accessories
include external speakers, wireless remote controls, protective
cases/films and wireless earphones. Among the first accessory
manufacturers were Griffin
, Monster Cable
, and SendStation
released the first iPod automobile
interface, allowing drivers of newer BMW vehicles to control an
iPod using either the built-in steering wheel controls or the radio
head-unit buttons. Apple announced in 2005 that similar systems
would be available for other vehicle brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Alfa Romeo,
Ferrari, Acura, Audi, Honda, Renault, Infiniti and
offers standard iPod connectivity on all
Some independent stereo manufacturers including JVC
also have iPod-specific
integration solutions. Alternative connection methods include
adaptor kits (that use the cassette deck or the CD changer port),
audio input jacks, and FM transmitters such as the iTrip
—although personal FM transmitters are illegal in
some countries. Many car manufacturers have added audio input jacks
Beginning in mid-2007, four major airlines, United
, and Emirates
, reached agreements to install
iPod seat connections. The free service will allow passengers to
power and charge an iPod, and view video and music libraries on
individual seat-back displays. Originally KLM
and Air France
were reported to be part
of the deal with Apple, but they later released statements
explaining that they were only contemplating the possibility of
incorporating such systems.
The third generation iPod had a weak bass response, as shown in
audio tests. The combination of the undersized DC-blocking capacitors
and the typical low-impedance
of most consumer headphones
form a high-pass filter
attenuates the low-frequency bass output. Similar capacitors were
used in the fourth generation iPods. The problem is reduced when
using high-impedance headphones and is completely masked when
driving high-impedance (line level) loads, such as an external
. The first
generation iPod Shuffle uses a dual-transistor
, rather than a single capacitor-coupled output,
and does not exhibit reduced bass response for any load.
From the 5th generation iPod on, Apple introduced a
user-configurable volume limit in response to concerns about
hearing loss. Users report that in the 6th generation iPod, the
maximum volume output level is limited to 100dB in EU markets.
previously had to remove iPods from shelves in France.
Apple faced two lawsuits claiming patent infringement by the iPod line and
its associated technologies: Advanced Audio Devices claimed the
iPod line breached its patent on a "music
jukebox", while a Hong
portfolio company called Pat-rights filed a suit claiming that
Apple's FairPlay technology breached a patent issued to inventor Ho
The latter case also includes the online music
stores of Sony
, RealNetworks, Napster
, and Musicmatch as defendants.
Apple's application to the United States Patent
and Trademark Office
for a patent on "rotational user inputs",
as used on the iPod interface, received a third "non-final
rejection" (NFR) in August 2005. Also in August 2005, Creative Technology
, one of Apple's main
rivals in the MP3 player market, announced that it held a patent on
part of the music selection interface used by the iPod line, which
Creative dubbed the "Zen Patent", granted on 9 August 2005. On 15
May 2006, Creative filed another suit against Apple with the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
. Creative also asked the United States
International Trade Commission
to investigate whether Apple was
breaching U.S. trade laws by importing iPods into the United
On 24 August 2006, Apple and Creative announced a broad settlement
to end their legal disputes. Apple will pay Creative US$100 million
for a paid-up license, to use Creative's awarded patent in all
Apple products. As part of the agreement, Apple will recoup part of
its payment, if Creative is successful in licensing the patent.
Creative then announced its intention to produce iPod accessories
by joining the Made for iPod
iPod quarterly sales.
Click for table of data and sources.
Note that Q1 is October through December of previous year, the
Since October 2004, the iPod line has dominated digital music
player sales in the United States, with over 90% of the market for
hard drive-based players and over 70% of the market for all types
of players. During the year from January 2004 to January 2005, the
high rate of sales caused its U.S. market share to increase from
31% to 65% and in July 2005, this market share was measured at 74%.
In January 2007 the iPod market share reached 72.7% according to
The release of the iPod Mini helped to ensure this success at a
time when competing flash-based music players were once dominant.On
8 January 2004, Hewlett-Packard
announced that they would sell HP-branded iPods under a license
agreement from Apple. Several new retail channels were
used—including Wal-Mart—and these
iPods eventually made up 5% of all iPod sales.
In July 2005,
HP stopped selling iPods due to unfavorable terms and conditions
imposed by Apple.
In January 2007, Apple reported record quarterly revenue of US$7.1
billion, of which 48% was made from iPod sales.
On 9 April 2007, it was announced that Apple had sold its
one-hundred millionth iPod, making it the biggest selling digital
music player of all time. In April 2007, Apple reported second
quarter revenue of US$5.2 billion, of which 32% was made from iPod
sales. Apple and several industry analysts suggest that iPod users
are likely to purchase other Apple products such as Mac
On 5 September 2007, during their "The Beat Goes On" event, Apple
announced that the iPod line had surpassed 110 million units
On 22 October 2007, Apple reported quarterly revenue of US$6.22
billion, of which 30.69% came from Apple notebook sales, 19.22%
from desktop sales and 26% from iPod sales. Apple's 2007 year
revenue increased to US$24.01 billion with US$3.5 billion in
profits. Apple ended the fiscal year 2007 with US$15.4 billion in
cash and no debt.
On 22 January 2008, Apple reported the best quarter revenue and
earnings in Apple's history so far. Apple posted record revenue of
US$9.6 billion and record net quarterly profit of US$1.58 billion.
42% of Apple's revenue for the First fiscal quarter of 2008 came
from iPod sales, followed by 21% from notebook sales and 16% from
On 21 October 2008, Apple reported that only 14.21% of total
revenue for fiscal quarter 4 of year 2008 came from iPods.. At the
September 9, 2009 keynote presentation at the Apple Event, Phil
Schiller announced total cumulative sales of iPods had exceeded 220
iPods have won several awards ranging from engineering excellence,
to most innovative audio product, to fourth best computer product
of 2006. iPods often receive favorable reviews; scoring on looks,
clean design, and ease of use. PC
says that iPod line has "altered the landscape for
portable audio players". Several industries are modifying their
products to work better with both the iPod line and the AAC audio
format. Examples include CD copy-protection schemes, and mobile
phones, such as phones from Sony
, which play AAC files
rather than WMA.
In addition to its reputation as a respected entertainment device,
iPods have also become accepted as business devices. Government
departments, major institutions and international organisations
have turned to the iPod line as a delivery mechanism for business
communication and training, such as the Royal and Western Infirmaries in Glasgow, Scotland, where iPods are used to train new
iPods have also gained popularity for use in education. Apple
offers more information on educational uses for iPods on their
website, including a collection of lesson plans. There has also
been academic research done in this area in nursing education and
more general K-16 education. Duke University provided iPods to all
incoming freshmen in the fall of 2004, and the iPod program
continues today with modifications.
The advertised battery life on most models is different from the
real-world achievable life. For example, the fifth generation
30 GB iPod is advertised as having up to 14 hours of music
playback. An MP3.com report stated that this was virtually
unachievable under real-life usage conditions, with a writer for
MP3.com getting on average less than 8 hours from an iPod. In 2003,
class action lawsuits were brought against Apple complaining that
the battery charges lasted for shorter lengths of time than stated
and that the battery degraded over time. The lawsuits were settled
by offering individuals either US$50 store credit or a free battery
iPod batteries are not designed to be removed or replaced by the
user, although some users have been able to open the case
themselves, usually following instructions from third-party vendors
of iPod replacement batteries. Compounding the problem, Apple
initially would not replace worn-out batteries. The official policy
was that the customer should buy a refurbished replacement iPod, at
a cost almost equivalent to a brand new one. All lithium-ion
batteries eventually lose capacity during their lifetime
(guidelines are available for
) and this situation led to a market for
third-party battery replacement kits.
Apple announced a battery replacement program on 14 November 2003,
a week before a high publicity stunt and website by the Neistat Brothers
. The initial cost was
US$99, and it was lowered to US$59 in 2005. One week later, Apple
offered an extended iPod warranty for US$59. For the iPod Nano,
tools are needed because the
battery is soldered onto the main board. Fifth generation iPods
have their battery attached to the backplate with adhesive.
Reliability and durability
iPods have been criticized for their short life-span and fragile
hard drives. A 2005 survey conducted on the MacInTouch website
found that the iPod line had an average failure rate of 13.7%
(although they note that comments from respondents indicate that
"the true iPod failure rate may be lower than it appears"). It
concluded that some models were more durable than others. In
particular, failure rates for iPods employing hard drives was
usually above 20% while those with flash memory had a failure rate
below 10%, indicating poor hard drive durability. In late 2005,
many users complained that the surface of the first generation iPod
Nano can become scratched easily, rendering the screen unusable. A
class action lawsuit was also filed. Apple initially considered the
issue a minor defect, but later began shipping these iPods with
Allegations of worker exploitation
On 11 June 2006, the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday
iPods are mainly manufactured by workers who earn no more than
US$50 per month and work 15-hour shifts. Apple investigated the
case with independent auditors and found that, while some of the
plant's labour practices met Apple's Code of Conduct, others did
not: Employees worked over 60 hours a week for 35% of the time, and
worked more than six consecutive days for 25% of the time.
, Apple's manufacturer, initially
denied the abuses, but when an auditing team from Apple found that
workers had been working longer hours than were allowed under
Chinese law, they promised to prevent workers working more hours
than the code allowed. Apple hired a workplace standards auditing
company, Verité, and joined the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct
Implementation Group to oversee the measures. On 31 December 2006,
workers at the Longhua, Shenzhen factory (owned by Foxconn) formed a union.
The union is affiliated with the world's largest and most powerful
federation of trade unions, the All-China Federation of
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