This article is about the classic iPod. For the iPod Touch, click Here.

The iPod is a portable media player marketed by Apple, Inc. The current generation is by far the most capacious iPod, with 160GB of storage. To date, there have been six generations of the iPod classic, as well as a spin-off (the iPod Photo) that was later re-integrated into the main iPod line. (Some sources incorrectly refer to the revisions of the sixth generation as a separate "seventh generation."[1]) All generations use a 1.8-inch (46 mm) hard drive for storage. The "classic" suffix was initially introduced when a freelance writer analyzing eBay's used/broken iPod marketplace categorized iPods into different types on May 21, 2006, and was formally introduced with the rollout of the sixth-generation iPod on September 5, 2007. Prior to this, all iPod Classic models were simply referred to as iPods. It is available in silver or black replacing the "signature iPod white".

First Generation

Ipod 1g

The First Generation iPod

Apple introduced the first-generation iPod Classic on October 23, 2001, with the slogan "1,000 songs in your pocket". The first iPod had a black and white LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen and featured a 5 GB hard drive capable of storing 1,000 songs encoded using MP3 and was priced at US$399. Among the iPod's innovations were its small size, achieved using a 1.8" hard drive, whereas its competitors were using 2.5" hard drives at the time, and its easy-to-use navigation, which was controlled using a mechanical scroll wheel (unlike later iPods, which had touch-sensitive scroll wheels), a center select button, and four auxiliary buttons around the wheel. The iPod had a rated battery life of ten hours. On March 20, 2002, Apple introduced a 10 GB model of the first generation iPod for US$499. vCard compatibility was added, as well, allowing iPods to display business card information synced from a Mac.

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Classic 1 5 GB
10 GB
Audio: 10 White '5 GB: October 23, 2001
10 GB: March 21, 2002
First Revision: July 17, 2002
Limited Edition iPods:’
December 11, 2002

Second Generation

The second generation of the iPod Classic was introduced on July 17, 2002. Using the same body style as the first generation, the hold switch was redesigned, a cover was added to the FireWire port, and the mechanical wheel was replaced with a touch-sensitive wheel. The front plate also had rounded corners and edges. The second-generation class was available in 10 GB for US$399 and 20 GB for US$499. The first-generation 5 GB iPod was carried over, but its price was reduced to US$299. Notably, Apple began selling Windows-compatible versions of the iPod starting with the second generation. These versions came with a 4-pin to 6-pin FireWire adapter and were bundled with Musicmatch Jukebox instead of iTunes. In December 2002, Apple unveiled its first limited edition iPods, with either Madonna’s, Tony Hawk’s, or Beck’s signature or No Doubt's band logo engraved on the back for an extra US$50.

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Classic 2 10 GB
20 GB
Audio: 10 White July 17, 2002
'Limited Edition iPods:’ December 11, 2002

Third Generation

Ipod 3G

The 3rd Generation iPod

The 3rd Generation iPod is considered the iPod which helped the product take off in the main market. It came in 10, 15, 20, 30, 40GB models. It was redesigned as it had a new control wheel which was very different to the previous iPod as it was flat on the surface of the iPod instead of rising up from the case. It was a unique design as the 4 buttons (menu, play/pause, forward, backward) were separate illuminated buttons above the wheel.

This was the first iPod to feature a dock connector which was proprietary to the iPod.

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Classic 3 10 GB
15 GB
20 GB
30 GB
40 GB
Audio: 8 White April 28, 2003
First Revision: September 8, 2003
Second Revision: January 8, 2004

Fourth Generation

4th gen. iPod

The 4th Generation iPod

Fourth generation iPods continued their evolution by integrating the buttons into the wheel. The backlighting on the controls was dropped, but the new model did give users four more hours of battery life. The screen once again was blue-hued monotone as was the third generation, but the interface displayed several new features. The 4th generation was shipped in capacities of 20 GB and 40 GB.

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Classic 4 20 GB
40 GB
Audio: 12 White
Black/Red (Special U2 Edition)
July 19, 2004
Special U2 Edition: October 24, 2004

iPod photo

Main article: iPod photo

The iPod Photo was a portable media player designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It was the top-of-the-line model in Apple's iPod family. It was positioned as a premium higher-end spin-off of the fourth-generation iPod on October 26, 2004. Originally named iPod Photo, with a capital "P", a few months later it was renamed iPod photo,[citation needed] presumably to fit in with the naming of the iPod mini .It was merged back into the standard iPod Classic line within eight months of its introduction on June 28, 2005, as the iPod (with color display).

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Photo 30 GB
40 GB
60 GB
Audio: 15
Slideshow: 5
White October 26, 2004
First Resvision: February 23, 2005

5th Generation

Ipod 5g 04

The video-playing iPod 5G

The much-anticipated 5th Generation iPod was debuted in October 2005. Utilizing the H.264 codec, the unit could now store and play HD-quality video. The screen was significantly larger than the 4th Generation/Photo version, and the body size slimmer. Models were offered in 30GB and 60GB capacities, and, in keeping with iPod nano's popularity and the feedback gained from the U2 Special Edition, they were available in either white or black.

New features were included in the interface, and this "iPod video" was promoted as being ideal for music videos, television shows, and short films and movies. Popular television shows, such as ABC's Lost, began being offered through iTunes. Other means of acquiring television shows and movies (such as peer-to-peer sharing) were utilized by many iPod owners, and soon conversion software was being circulated to convert video files into the M4A format the iPod required.

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Classic 5 30 GB
60 GB
80 GB
30 GB: Audio: 14
Slideshow: 3
Video: 2
60 GB: Audio: 20
Slideshow: 4
Video: 3
First Revision 30 GB: Audio: 14
Slideshow: 4
Video: 3.5
First Revision 60 GB: Audio: 20
Slideshow: 6
Video: 6.5
White (Harry Potter Edition)
Black (Harry Potter Edition
Red/Black (Special U2 Edition)
October 12, 2005
U2 Edition: June 6, 2006
First Revision: September 12, 2006

Sixth Generation

During a special iPod-centric event on September 5, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the sixth generation iPod and the suffix "classic". Featuring slightly thinner bodies, the sixth generation iPod also sported dramatically improved battery life, claiming up to 36 hours of music playback and 6 hours of video playback.[7] The iPod Classic has a 2.5" backlit display at a resolution of 320x240. The front plate of the iPod is now made of anodized aluminum instead of polycarbonate plastic, and "Signature iPod White" has been replaced by silver. This marks the first time white is not available as a color option for an iPod. The sixth generation iPod also introduced a completely overhauled user interface, incorporating more graphics and Cover Flow. The iPod Classic was offered in an 80 GB model for MSRP US$249 and a 160 GB model for MSRP US$349. The U2 special edition has been dropped. During the 'Let's Rock' Apple Event on September 9, 2008, the 80 GB and the thicker 160 GB model were discontinued in favor of a thin 120 GB version retailing for US$249. It introduced Genius and audio recording capabilities which are also available in other iPod models released at similar times; no firmware update provides either feature to the first generation iPods.[8] Prior to the 'It's Only Rock and Roll' event on September 9, 2009, the price of the 120 GB version was dropped to US$229. During the event Apple re-introduced the 160 GB version with the same slim profile as the 120 GB version, retailing at US$249. The 120 GB model has now been dropped and the only option available is the 160 GB model.

Picture Capacity Battery Life (hours) Colors Release Date
IPod Classic 6 80 GB
120 GB
160 GB
80 GB: Audio: 30
Video: 5
160 GB: Audio: 40
Video: 7
First Revision: Audio: 36
Video: 6
Second Revision: Audio: 36
Video: 6
Silver (replaced white)
September 5, 2007
First Revision: September 9, 2008
Second Revision: September 9, 2009

Product Images


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.