With all the fanfare that accompanied Apple's introduction of the new, bigger iPhone 6 and the brand spanking new Apple Watch, the company tried to quietly close the door on an old favorite: the iPod classic. As of yesterday, the product is no longer listed on Apple's site, and it appears that they have discontinued this first version of the iPod entirely.
For a lot of people, this was the first Apple product they owned, and the iPod classic helped redefine the way we consumed and listened to music. It replaced the walkman and pretty much every other portable music player with relative ease. But, the classic was our first look at the way Apple would improve and polish their products in such innovative ways that we needed the newer model every time an update came out.
So let's take a look back at the seven different generations of our first favorite iPod.
The First Generation
Released October 2001, this was the first ever iPod. It could hold between 5-10 GB of music, and Apple achieved its small size by using a 1.8" hard drive while competitors were still using 2.5" ones. The mechanical scrolling wheel was a huge deal—and remained a key feature for the classic all the way through design—with the four other function buttons around the sides.
The Second Generation
Nearly identical to the first generation, this one came out in 2002 and could hold 10-20 GB. It used the same body style and the increase in memory was the primary update. The mechanical wheel was altered to be touch-sensitive.
The Third Generation
Now, the innovations were really starting to come. In 2003, the four auxiliary buttons were moved to a row near the top and the "Touch Wheel" was completely non-mechanical. This model was also much thinner and instead of a firewire connector, it used a new dock connector. This model held between 10-40 GB.
The Fourth Generation
This model came out in 2004, and along with a thinner body, it re-assigned the four auxiliary buttons back onto the wheel. Instead of a "touch wheel" this was the "click wheel" taken from the iPod mini which also came out in 2004. The buttons could be "clicked" on below the touch sensitive wheel that the user used to scroll through the library. This iPod held between 20-40 GB, so not a lot of memory increase, even if the click wheel was a huge update. This generation also came in a Harry Potter edition and a special black and red U2 edition—the iPhone 6 rollout for their new album definitely wasn't the first time the band had worked with Apple.
The Fifth Generation
The screen on this 2005 version is markedly bigger and it had a 320x240 QVGA screen instead of an LCD one because it's the first generation that supported video. This device is often called the "iPod video" and could hold between 30-80 GB. It had a smaller click wheel and it was the first iPod classic to be offered in black, as well as white. Both the first and second generations offered limited "celebrity editions" based around Madonna, Beck, Tony Hawk and No Doubt.
The Sixth Generation
Out in 2007, this became the new standard for the iPod classic. It had a thinner frame and a much longer battery life—30-40 hours—which was about twice that of the fifth generation. Instead of making white the default, silver became the standard color, and the polycarbonate plastic material of the body was replaced with anodized aluminum. The user interface was completely changed, too, to include the cover flow and more of an emphasis on other graphics. This iPod had the capacity to hold 80-160 GB.
The 6.5 Generation
Though we didn't know it in 2008 when this was released, it was the last and final iteration of the iPod classic. It holds 160 GB and again features an emphasis on new user interface and amped up graphic aspects, with a completely metal body. The battery life for audio could last up to 36 hours for audio and six hours for video.
So, even though Apple has discontinued offering the classic, don't fret. This device spawned the still-intact, newer versions like the iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPod shuffle. Or you could just listen to music on your iPhone now, like the rest of us.