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Technology Corner: iPod turns 5

abstract:click title for article Apple's hugely successful personal audio device has just had its fifth birthday. This little gizmo revolutionized the music and talking book world by taking Apple's superior technology, design and marketing to bring us a device that weighed 6.5 ounces, could hold 5 GB of music, connected to our computer -- if you were a MAC user (PC's available the following year) and essentially became part of the urban wardrobe.  Where are we now?

article:

October 29, 2006
— That first model cost a whopping US$399 and had a ten-hour battery life. In 2002 they doubled the memory and raised the price an extra hundred bucks. But that didn't seem to stop people from buying up available stock.

The second generation iPod saw the touch-sensitive scroll wheel and another doubling of memory to 20GB. In 2003 we got the third-generation iPod that could sync to your computer using firewire or USB and a Apple came out with a proprietary dock connector. Memory bounced another double to 40GB.

By 2004 we were on to Gen4 iPod. By now snowboard clothing companies were manufacturing iPod sleeves in their jackets and helmet makers were adapting speakers. Apple held 75% market share of the personal music device market it invented. Battery life was up to 12 hours and you could get them in all the cool colors. There was even a special U2 edition with all the signatures of the band on the back. The iPod Photo version introduced a 2-inch LED screen that allowed you to view the "album" covers of the CD's you downloaded, and itunes had reached its gegazillionth individual song sale, officially replacing the way we shop music. Listeners now had 16 hours of pleasure and 60GB to pack around.

Parties today don't have huge stereo systems. We just sync our iPods up to the our wide screen TV's and sound systems and share play lists. There are so many speaker versions and light show screen savers available they come standard at W hotels.

In 2005 iPod's 4.5 and 5th-generation offered video playback features and a new larger 2.5 inch screen (320 x 240 pixels) that we could audio record and 2.5 hrs of video playback with a decreasing price tag and even slimmer more streamlined models.

So join the pocket media player revolution, and pick up a few early before supplies run out this holiday season. Then download a few goodies such as a talking book and your own favorite song list for a truly personalized gift expression.

The Gear

The Perfect Thing: How the ipod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and Coolness by Steven Levy. And of course, we wouldn't be a literary site if we didn't have a fascinating book related to this topic. Here is a link to an excellent review by Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly




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