iPod Introduction & Review


The iPod is a brand of pocket-sized ultralight hard-drive based audio players designed and marketed by Apple Computers. Today the iPod comes in a range of models such as the Nano, Shuffle and Mini (discontinued now). All of the models in the iPod family are designed to be user friendly, and can easily be used by young children. Therefore they offer a simple user interface and a central scroll wheel to browse the iPod navigation system. The scroll wheel has been redesigned for the various models, such as with the Nano. The Nano is so small the wheel used on the previous iPod's wouldn't fit. Unlike portable cassette or cd players the iPod stores media on built-in memory. This means you do not need to insert a cassette or a cd. The older models like the iPod 20GB and Mini use a hard drive, while the smaller and more modern iPod Nano and Shuffle use flash memory.

Currently in 2005 Apple are offering these models (subject to change),

  • Model - Storage - Songs - Display
  • iPod - 20GB disk - 5,000 2" - colour
  • iPod - U2* 20GB disk - 5,000 2" - colour
  • iPod - 60GB disk - 15,000 2" - colour
  • iPod Photo - 60GB disk - 15,000 2" - colour
  • iPod Mini - 4GB disk - 1,000 1.7" - mono
  • iPod Mini - 6GB disk - 1,500 1.7" - mono
  • iPod Nano - 2GB flash - 500 1.5" - colour
  • iPod Nano - 4GB flash - 1,000 1.5" - colour
  • iPod Shuffle - 512MB flash - 125 - none
  • iPod Shuffle - 1GB flash - 250 - none

Additional models since 2005,

  • iPod classic 160GB - none
  • iPod touch 8GB - colour
  • iPod touch 16GB - colour
  • iPod nano 8GB - colour
  • iPod Classic Silicon Sleeve - 80Gb - colour

2007 was not only about the iPhone. Apple had a total makeover of it's iPod lineup. The iPod Touch featured the iPhone interface, and players like the Nano had an upgrade to be more video friendly. Below are pictures of the new 2007 lineup,

New Nano redesign 2007

Classic 2007

The Touch which features the iPhone interface

The following is a help guide to finding a cheap ipod from the various comparison services and retailers found online.

History of the iPod

The Apple Coporation first released the iPod on October 23, 2001. The idea was first brought to the attention of Apple by Tony Fadell. Before this Tony Fadell had shopped the idea to Phillips and RealNetworks . Luckily for Apple they hired him as an independent contractor, and the iPod project began. To begin with the one serious flaw with the iPod, was the price. The machine cost $400 in the US, and many consumers simply couldnt afford this price. Also the lack of PC support wasn't a strong point to begin with. Steve Jobs soon noticed this error and PC support was promisted soon after the launch. The iPod was launched only one month later in Europe. This contributed to Apple selling a massive 125,000 new iPods in 2001. Over the years many software updates have been released to fix several bug fixes from the generation 1 iPod's. One area Apple ran into problems with was Apple Corps, the holders of the Beatles copyrights. They sued Apple for infringement on previous agreements for the iTunes Music Store. Basically Apple Computers were only allowed to use the Apple name in products unrelated to music, the lawsuit was eventually settled out of court. By June of 2003, Apple had shipped one million iPod's worldwide. The iPod has since become the biggest selling portable hard disk player, and has sold around twenty million units from 2001-2005. A big contribution to this has been the maketing of the iPod, with some of the best ads seen in years. All the ads featuring the coolest tunes playing in the background.

The silhouette ads were hugely popular.

iTunes Software

The iTunes software that uploads music and photos is included when you buy any iPod. The software is called iTunes, and has often been likened to a jukebox. It will play, store and organise all the digital music and video files on your iPod. Another feature of iTunes is it can connect to the iTunes Music Store, where you can purchase music files to play on your iPod. Even though iTunes has been developed by Apple it's not only compatible with the Mac OS X operating system. iTunes will work with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. Since version 3 iTunes will no longer work with Mac OS 9, or Windows 98 or ME. iTunes is also freely downloadable on the web. When you get your iPod, you’ll want to start transferring songs to your iPod. This starts with your computer and iTunes. You will need to install iTunes on your computer, you can do this be using the CD that came with your iPod, or the url link below. Then, you can buy songs from the iTunes music store, or import CDs to your iTunes music library. Then all you need to do is connect your iPod to your computer. The iTunes software will then automatically transfer the music to your iPod. iTunes is setup to automatically update your iPod with the new songs you have downloaded. After you’ve transferred the music from iTunes to your iPod, you can then use the Click Wheel to browse through your music by playlist, song, artist, album, or genre. With iTunes you can also create playlists, where you group songs from different albums and artists into a mix tape. It's fairly easy to create playlists with common themes or moods, and you can use these for any occasion, like at a party. It's become common for celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio to DJ at LA clubs from the playlists on their iPod.

Download iTunes - http://www.apple.com/itunes/

iPod Functions

Above is an image detailing all the basic functions of the fourth generation iPod.

As the above images shows, the iPod has five main buttons,

  • Play / Pause.
  • Menu.
  • Previous which skips back a track.
  • Next which skips forward to the next track.
  • Select button which is in the center of the scroll wheel.

Note: With the itroduction of the fifth-generation iPod, Mini, and Nano, these models now incorporate the above buttons into the scroll wheel.

On the first generations of the iPod screen navigation included standard features such as Playlists, Browse, Extras, Settings and Backlight.

As the iPod advanced and came with a colour screen so did the features, such as photo browsing and the ability to shuffle songs.

iPod Generations

The design of iPod's has changed over the years, while the hardware and capabilities have pretty much stayed the same. The batteries in early iPods have been known to fail after a time (300 to 500 charge/discharge cycle / two to three years). People have sued over this problem www.appleipodsettlement.com. Currently there are 4 main generations,

1G - mechanical scroll wheel and four buttons. There was no remote control and games available for it, except for breakout.

2G - touch-sensitive wheel, 10GB and 20GB hard drives.

3G - touch-sensitive buttons and USB connectivity. For third-generation iPod you're eligible for a free battery replacement or a replacement iPod at Apple's discretion. But you need a proof of purchase and to file a claim by September 30, 2005.

4G - click-wheel and only two hard disk version, 20GB and 40GB. The fourth generation of the Apple iPod doesn't sound any better than the third, but it's still the mp3 player to beat. Other improvements are the control wheel adopted from iPod mini and improved battery life. The dimensions are 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches and weight: 5.6 oz.

5G - Now comes in a 60 GB version. The new 5G 60 GB fifth-generation iPod now had 64 MiB of RAM, this will also extend the battery life as well. The more ram the less work is required of the battery. Comes with iTunes 4.7.1 also so it autosyncs album cover art. The cover art downloaded when you purchase music from the iTunes Music Store is transferred to iPod photo along with the music. So while iPod photo plays your tunes, you can enjoy the album art in colour. The fifth-generation iPod now incorporate all the original iPod buttons into the scroll wheel.

Video iPod - The latest iPod now has video playback. The iPod video is capable of decoding (or playing back) videos encoded in either of two codecs, MPEG-4 or H.264. It seems presently that the MPEG-4 format is likely to be your format of choice if you want to play high-quality converted widescreen DVD videos on your iPod.You’ll want to pick a resolution of around 480 or 720 pixels and encode. Apple have stated publicly that the iPod has the following video limitations:

  • H.264 MPEG-4
  • Maximum Resolution 320x240 480x480
  • Maximum Bitrate 768 kbps 2500 kbps
  • Maximum Framerate 30 fps 30 fps

Standard Hardware


FireWire connectivity is included except for the Shuffle and Nano, they use USB (USB 2.0). The technolgy is also integrated into Power Macs, iMacs, eMacs, PowerBooks and iBooks. The FireWire technology was developed by Apple ad was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2001 for it's impact on the television industry.


The first three generations have two ARM 7TDMI CPUs running at 90 MHz. The ARM7 TDMI core is a 32-bit embedded RISC processor and delivers a hard macrocell optimized to provide the best combination of performance, power and area characteristics. This means that the ARM7 TDMI core enabled the iPod system designers to build embedded devices requiring only a small size, low power and high performance. Ideal for asmall portable media player. Models after the 3G version use chips of 80 MHz, the plus point of this is that battery life is saved.

Hard Disk

Standard Pods have a 1.8-in ATA hard disk from Toshiba. Weighing around fifty grams. When launched the 40GB of storage was the largest single platter capacity yet achieved on a 1.8in drive, or so Toshiba claimed. They later achieved a two-platter, 80GB version in 2004. The iPod mini uses a 1 inch disk from Hitachi. When launched the six-week waiting list to get a popular iPod Mini digital music player meant Hitachi had to double production. Hitachi GST's Microdrive is also used in Creative Technology's Nomad MuVo MP3 digital music player.


All models with a hard drive include 32-MiB flash ROM chip, this includes a bootloader which informs the iPod to load the operating system from the hard disk. This process will start the operating system when the user turns on a computer system. 4MB of the ram is used for the operating system; the other 28MB are used for buffering data from the hard drive. Except for the 5G 60 GB iPod all of the models have 32 MiB of RAM. This ram contains all the firmware and and stores the cache data to load songs from the hard drive. The new 5G 60 GB fifth-generation iPod now had 64 MiB of RAM, this will also extend the battery life as well. The more ram the less work is required of the battery. Experts feel that Apple failed with the memory because the iPod does not have the ability to read from its RAM chip while writing to it. This results in the iPod which stopping for one to two seconds while it reloads the buffer after playing all 28 MB of data.

Connecting your iPod to a computer

By default, iPod imports songs automatically when connected to a computer.

For windows and mac

  • Plug the cable into the FireWire or high-powered USB 2.0 port on your computer.
  • Then connect the other end to iPod.

The USB and Firewire ports looks like this,

iPod Battery Guide

All iPod's come as standard with a non-removable, lithium rechargeable battery. When the battery has been fully charged it can last from 8 to 15 hours of battery life. The battery charge will last about 14 to 28 days without use. The iPod lcd diplay shows the level on the upper-right corner of the screen. You charge your iPod by connecting it to either,

  1. Connecting the iPod to an Apple iPod Power Adapter.
  2. The high-power USB port of a computer.

A full charge takes around four hours, and 80% charge around 1 hour. Newer models like the Nano charge times may vary.

Tips to save battery charge

  1. Putting your iPod on HOLD will help keep your iPod from turning itself on and wasting battery life. This can happen if an iPod is tossed in a bag. It's also a good idea to keep your iPod turned off when not using it. It stops your iPod hard drive from spinning, and will generally make it last a bit longer.
  2. Update to the latest software.
  3. Keep iPod at room temperature.
  4. Do not charge iPod while it is in a carrying case or cover.
  5. Pause iPod when unattended.
  6. Backlighting uses a lot of battery power. If you are not using the backlighting, turn it off.
  7. Turning off the Equalizer will extend your battery life.
  8. Avoid changing tracks, again this uses up you battery life.
  9. Use compressed songs, the larger the music file the more battery power it uses.

If you do develop problems with your battery Apple has an official battery replacement program. In this US this costs around for $59. The will be required to send in your iPod. If you live in the US you can contact Apple on US: 1-800-APL-CARE. The reason why you need to send your iPod to Apple for repairs is because the iPod's case is not designed to be opened. In this respect your iPod is not like your PC. Your iPod does come with warranty for one year. And it does cover the battery. Plenty of retailers also offer inexpensive extended warranty coverage for the iPod.

Problems with the iPod's battery has been a major concern to many iPod owners. It even led some people to believe the batteries only last for around 18 months. Because Lithium ion batteries are generally only good for 300 to 500 charge/discharge cycles many experts believe this to be the cause. But Apple assure customers the batteries should last much longer, and battery failures are caused by certain customers' usage patterns. This has caused the occational battery to degrade, or fail, sooner than others. It is however true that lithium ion batteries degrade overtime. But this process should be a slow degradation which will not affect, or be noticed by, most users. It will most likely only be noticed by heavy users, and similar lithium ion batteries used in laptops and mobile phones degrade just the same, this is not unique to the iPod.

Typically the various iPod's use these batteries,

  • 1G and 2G iPods use a Sony UP325385 A4H 3.7V 1230mAh lithium ion polymer battery.
  • 3G use ("dockable") iPods use a 3.7V 850mAh lithium ion battery.
  • iPod mini uses a Sanyo EC003 lithium ion battery.

If your battery does fail dont worry about losing all your files and photos. The iPod stores all of its music on a hard disk. So even when the battery fails or is drained completely, the hard disk will remain intact. And if you have a iTunes music library on your computer you can quickly transfer you songs back onto you iPod..

iPod's can play these file types
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • AAC/M4A
  • Protected AAC
  • AIFF
  • Audible audiobook
  • Apple Lossless

iPod's cannot play these file types

  • Copy protection WMA files
  • Ogg Vorbis
  • FLAC

iPod Games

iPods with the exception of the Shuffle also feature games. These include,

Breakout / Brick


A clone of an Atari game. Which Steve Jobs had workd on.


Shoot down paratroopers and helicopters.


Card game also included with Windows operating systems.

Music Quiz

No image

Quiz featuring the user's own songs. What happens is the iPod will play a song for you, and then give you four choices, and you have to scroll down to the one you think it is, and select it. Yous score is then based if you correct or not, and the time it took to be guessed correctly.


On the later iPod models you can now use your own music as the soundtrack to a game.

You can play more games if you install Podzilla however (changes the operating system on the iPod to a Linux system). These system comes with games such as,

  • Hunt The Wumpus
  • Invaders
  • iPobble
  • Lights
  • Minesweeper
  • Othello
  • Pong
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Tunnel

iPod Earphones

All new iPod models come with earbud headphones. They come with white cords, however many users replace them due to low quality. One of the chief complaints is that they seem to lack good bass response. The white cords have now become symbolic of the iPod brand. This can be a dangerous thing as well, many people have been mugged for their iPod because a mugger saw the white cord. As Apple advertisements for the devices feature the white buds prominently you may wish to change the earbuds for safety as well as quality reasons.

There are slight changes between the earbuds for the 1st/2nd Generation iPods and 3rd/4th Generation iPod and iPod mini. This iPod Remote and Earbud set for the 1st/2nd Generation iPods is not compatible with 3rd Generation, 4th Generation iPod with Click Wheel or iPod mini.

2nd Generation

3rd/4th Generation

As you can see form the above images the cosmetic differences are not noticable. All iPod ear buds rely on Neodymium transducers, which is a rare earth magnet that significantly enhances frequency response. Apple state that this will produce overall sound quality, and should result in being five times as powerful as other headphones that use aluminium, cobalt, or ceramic drivers.

The headphone set for iPod's also include a wired remote which lets you fast forward, rewind, play/pause, and control the volume with four simple buttons. There is also a Hold switch which allows you to lock your iPod remote so buttons cannot be pressed by accidental. You can also clip the remote to your shirt for easy access.


Another great feature of owning an iPod is the grass-roots phenomenon known as "podcasting". Podcasts are radio shows or other audio programs that are downloadable over the Internet. Podcasting is where someone can record a discussion and then post the audio file on the Internet. This means people can download the file and listen to file on their iPod. And when an update is uploaded to a discussion an iPod owner can get a warning on their iPod. Podcasting is generally credited to former MTV video jockey Adam Curry and Dave Winer. The idea was popularised at the idea beginning of 2004, with subscriptions to podcasts generally being free to listeners. With iTunes 4.9, you can now browse and subscribe to podcasts at the iTunes Music Store. One of best places to find podcasts is at iPodder.org, which was originally started by Adam Curry to centralise information about podcasting. Still the central point where new podcasters go to have their shows added.

source: ipodreview .co .uk

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