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iPod(1) See also iPad, Apple's tablet.
(2) A family of popular digital media players from Apple. Introduced in 2001, current models comprise the shuffle, nano and touch, the latter a mobile computer like the iPhone (see iPod touch). All new iPods use solid state flash memory for storage.
Due to the iPod's prominence, the term often refers to any MP3 player, whether an Apple product or not (see digital music player). After making Apple hugely profitable by the mid-2000s, iPod sales diminished considerably in subsequent years because iPhones and every other smartphone have music storage and playback built in.
iTunes Is the Media Manager
Apple's iTunes software for Mac and Windows is used to organize songs, playlists and videos on the iPod and to preview, purchase and download content from Apple's online store. See iTunes.
Music Files and Formats
iPods play MP3 music, but songs downloaded from the iTunes store are in the AAC format. Although touted as having superior sound quality, a major reason for using AAC was its digital rights management (DRM). In 2009, Apple dropped the AAC copy protection.
MP3 and AAC formats are roughly 10% the size of the original CD tracks; however, users may opt to rip their CDs to the Apple Lossless format for better sound quality, despite being five times the size of MP3 and AAC files.
iPods do not support the Microsoft's Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. However, numerous utilities convert WMA to MP3, and the Windows version of iTunes converts WMA to all formats that iTunes and the iPod support. See MP3, AAC and WMA.
The combination of sound quality and unique click wheel control made the iPod one of the most successful consumer electronics (CE) products in history, especially after iTunes became available on Windows. In the iPod's first five years, 100 million units were sold along with 1.5 billion songs. See click wheel.
Originally a monochrome device for music only, color screens and support for photos and videos were added. In 2007, the iPod touch was a full-fledged handheld computer. For details of current and previous iPods, see iPod models, iPod classic, iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod shuffle.
The rechargeable battery in the iPod is sealed and must be sent to Apple for replacement, which is free under warranty. However, non-Apple sources offer replacement batteries and instructions for opening the case. See iCloud, iPod compatible, iPod finger, iPod car adapter, car podding and pod slurping.
A/V and Image Formats
Except for the shuffle, which has no screen, iPods support popular image formats, including JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF and PNG. The classic and touch both support MPEG-4 and H.264 video. Following are the iPod's audio formats.
iPOD AUDIO FORMATS classic, nano, Formats touch shuffle MP3 X X MP3 VBR X X AAC X X HE-AAC (aacPlus) X Audible X X Audible Enhanced (AAX) X X Apple Lossless X X AIFF X X WAV X X
|The iPod Line|
|From left to right: shuffle, nano and touch. For specifications, see iPod models. (Images courtesy of Apple Inc.)|
|By 2004, the iPod became the hottest electronic gadget on the market. This rural Vermont family delighted in showing off their "iPoddery," including the Bose table top speaker system (right) and the portable Altec Lansing unit that let our young hero carry his own iPod boom box.|
|A Girl's Best Friend|
|What did a 13-year-old crave for her birthday in 2004? An iPod Mini... of course.|
|The Click Wheel|
|The iPod's original control wheel actually rotated. The subsequent click wheel design, which is exposed in this protective rubber case, is stationary and touch sensitive. The wheel is clicked, but rotated by touch; however, the iPod touch introduced an entirely new interface.|