The second generation iPod
July 2002 - April 2003
Survivor of the lean years.
But a few mournful months after the passing of the 5GB iPod and the birth of the 10GB iPod, came a new 10GB iPod
and the 20GB, which started at $499. Perhaps one of the least well-remembered of the iPod family, this iPod included
the first non-mechanical (solid state) scroll wheel, though the center and circumference buttons remained tactile.
Perhaps most groundbreaking was the official Windows support (via Musicmatch Jukebox, ironically), though the wired
remote, calendar, and artist search were all significant as well. Eventually this iPod would undergo tattoos by Beck,
No Doubt, Madonna, and Tony Hawk before being committed to history in April of 2003.
The third generation iPod
April 2003 - July 2004
Educated and worldly.
This was the iPod—born of humbler pedigree—that grew up, provided for itself a higher education, and made its own
way in the world. The third generation of the family rid itself entirely of mechanical buttons on its body, shed some
of its baby fat around the waist down to 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.62-inches, and came forth at $299 for 10GB, $399 for 15GB, and
$499 for 30GB. This was also the first iPod child to feature a remote connector and dock connector—which finally
enabled USB 2.0. In September the 30GB iPod was priced at $399, and a 40GB model was released for $499.
The first generation iPod mini
January 2004 - February 2005
The prodigal son.
By January 2004 it was clear the iPod family had many more children on the way, the first of which being the
iPod mini. The first iPod family member with
a 1-inch hard drive, the 1,000 song 3.6 x 2.0 x 0.5-inch mini carried with it 4GB of space, yet asked $249—only $50
less than its parentage. Critics once again panned, but the mini bounced back anyhow, possibly due in part to its
peacockish colors and ornate all-aluminum exterior. Or perhaps it had something to do with its click wheel—the final
blend of tactile/mechanical and solid-state control for the iPod family.
The fourth generation monochrome iPod
July 2004 - June 2005
The beginning of the end of the beginning.
The first full-size iPod with a click-wheel, the fourth generation monochrome was prideful in its resplendent
minimal glory and improved power-saving features when introduced in July of 2004 at $299 for 20GB, and at $399 for
40GB. Perhaps among the most long running and successful of the iPod family, even the fourth generation's good
breeding could not save it from passing on in the wake of the iPod color in the fateful summer of 2005.
The iPod photo
October 2004 - June 2005
The family drunk - corpulent, befuddled, and confused.
When the iPod photo was first introduced
to the family in October of 2004 along with the U2 iPod, there was more than a slight amount of confusion. Though the
photo was the first iPod to feature a 60GB drive (and among the only of its time, as well), it was not granted the
video viewing capabilities that were so longed for, but merely a color screen and limited support for imaging—and not
without some fattening up to 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.75-inches. The $499 40GB photo was a full $100 more than its monochrome
kin, while the 60GB photo was an astounding $599. To combat this price differential, a 30GB photo was reared in place
of the 40GB in February 2005, which went for $350, but did not ship with a dock. The photo would eventually lose its
30GB version as well when its featureset was incorporated into the primary iPod branch of the family tree.
The HP iPod
January 2004 - August 2005
The legitimate half-sibling.
The HP iPod's date of birth is to this day
debatable, but HP announced it was pregnant with the half-sibling sired by Apple in January 2004 at CES. The carriage
went long, however, and HP didn't actually give birth until August 2004. But by then it was quadruplets: the
HP iPod photo appeared in April 2005, the
HP iPod mini in June, and the
HP iPod shuffle in July. But HP sought
to differentiate its lineage. After somehow befriending
Sean "Diddy" Combs, HP went along with
"Printable Tattoos," early music-themed
skins which wound up somewhat disastrous to the augmented family as they stuck heavily to the iPod's body and left a
sticky residue. But the Apple side of the family never seemed too displeased with the coming together—by the time of
their unpropitious demise the HP iPod children accounted for 7% of the iPod family.
The second generation iPod mini
February 2005 - September 2005
The prodigal son returns.
At long last and with a heavy heart we commit thee, iPod mini, to your family's plot. The even more flamboyant
aluminum-clad lovechild of its forbears, the second generation mini lost its golden gilding in favor of a more
vibrant range of colors, and even came as
large as 6GB. Taken from us so young while, the mini is survived by its younger siblings the shuffle and nano,
and elder sibling the fourth generation iPod color.