The iPhone Stereo Headset were the headphones that shipped with the first two iPhone models, the original iPhone (2007–2008) and the iPhone 3G (2008–2010). The headphones used a similar enclosed design as the later EarPods, and the right earbud included a control button with a microphone on the wire. The button is controlled by a squeeze and it can be set for a variety of tasks: answer/end calls, advance presentation slides, play/pause music/video, or capture photos. A double-press also allowed the user to skip to the next music track.
Note that the controller did not include the + and – option for volume and/or other controls, a feature now taken for granted in many headphone designs.
iLounge described these headphones as, “familiar and inexpensive, with very good earbud and microphone quality.” They also praised the bass response, warm sound, and the quality of the microphone.
This example is in Apple’s bulk packaging. I remember receiving the headphones when I attended an Apple Education professional development opportunity that required attendees to have a microphone. These were never unpackaged because I had brought and used my personal headphones.
The Original iPod headphones were the earbuds that shipped with the original iPod. They sounded quite good, shipped with two sets of black foam ear covers, were sometimes panned for not fitting some people’s ears, and came with the iPod at no additional cost so most iPod users used them.
Perhaps the most important, and in my opinion overlooked, feature of these headphones was not the specs, but the color. Soon after the iPod was introduced in 2001, an iconic ad campaign was released in 2003 referred to as “silhouettes,” created by the company Chiat\Day. In each commercial, poster, print ad, or billboard, the all-black silhouette of a dancer moved over a brightly colored background (hot pink, lime green, yellow, or bright blue) while the highly-contrasted bright white headphone wire and iPod moved along with the dancer. The effect was striking and the white cord color effectively called attention to the product nearly screaming, “I’m using an iPod!”
The white earbud design not only became permanently associated with “cool” Apple gear, but 20 years later is still being used as the only color choice for Apple-branded headphones, EarPods, AirPods, and likely future Apple headphone iterations. (Apple-owned brand Beats, however, does produce many headphone styles in multiple colors.)
According to my research, this particular example of the original iPod headphone design is a Generation 2 release, identified as such due to the addition of a plastic slider to adjust the gap between the headphone wires.
This Late 2018 iPod classic was very similar to the previous Generation 6 model. This iPod was available in 120 GB or 160 GB capacities, had a 2.5-inch color LCD display (320×240, 163 ppi), and was available with a black or silver anodized aluminum front and a chrome stainless steel back. This model is the third generation of the iPod classic.
The software included a Cover Flow option for selecting albums with three games bundled, including iQuiz, Klondike, and Vortex.
The Nike+iPod Sport Kit was announced on May 23, 2006. A press released stated, “Nike and Apple today announced a partnership bringing the worlds of sports and music together like never before with the launch of innovative Nike+iPod products.” The two-piece wireless system included an oval sensor that was placed inside a Nike+ shoe and a 30-pin plug for the iPod nano.
Software on the iPod nano would connect to custom Nike+ footwear or any shoe with the Nike+iPod sensor attached and provided information on time, distance, calories burned, and pace on the iPod screen. In addition, “A new Nike Sport Music section on the iTunes Music Store and a new nikeplus.com personal service site help maximize the Nike+iPod experience.”
This kit was sold for $29 and included an in-shoe sensor and a receiver that attached to iPod.
While Apple was not the first to offer an MP3 player, they often get the credit for making the product get accepted into the mainstream with its groundbreaking design, features, and perhaps more importantly, the iTunes software experience that would eventually add the iTunes Store and completely change the course of the music industry.
The iPod was about the size of a deck of playing cards, white on the front, and polished stainless steel on the back. The look that quickly became iconic. The front of the original iPod used a rotating scroll wheel surrounded by four physical buttons—menu, forward, back, and play/pause—with an unmarked select button at the center. The design introduced a brand new operating system that allowed easy navigation to songs and playlists and could be controlled with one hand.
The original iPod required a Mac with iTunes. The iTunes software on the Mac provided the organization for the music and playlists and the iPod allowed your music to be portable. It featured a 5 GB hard drive to store 1,000 songs, a 60-mW amplifier, a FireWire port, and a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, and a 2-inch black and white backlit LCD display. The battery lasted 10 hours. A 10 GB option was available after March 21, 2002, increasing the storage to 2,000 songs.
The iPod Generation 2 was similar to the original iPod in design, but the moving scroll wheel was replaced by a stationary touch-sensitive scroll wheel. In addition, the FireWire port gained a cover. The top of the iPod design also changed to allow the buttons to be surrounded by stainless steel cutouts instead of the plastic top used in the original iPod. Accessories were also added including a wired remote control, a thinner Firewire cable, and a carrying case.
The iPod Generation 2 was offered in 10 GB and 20 GB models and also added Windows compatibility.
Other than the increased hard drive sizes that allowed the iPod to hold up to 4,000 songs in the 20 GB model, the other specifications were the same as the original iPod: a 60-mW amplifier, a FireWire port, and a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, and a 2-inch black and white backlit LCD display, and a 10-hour battery.
Replacing the “squat” design of the Generation 3, the iPod nano Generation 4 returned to a “skinny” design similar to its predecessors. The new wraparound curved aluminum and glass case was offered in an unprecedented nine colors: silver, black, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, and (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition. The display was a wide-format 2-inch (diagonal) color LCD display at 320×240.
The iPod nano Generation 4 used either 8 GB or 16 GB of flash memory, capable of storing 2000 or 4000 songs, 7000 or 14,000 photos, and 8 hours or 16 hours of video. All colors were offered for both capacities.
The iPod nano Generation 4 features included an accelerometer (automatically switched to “Cover Flow” navigation in landscape orientation), games and videos only played in landscape, a new Genius feature to dynamically create playlists, and shake-to-shuffle for songs. Accessibility options were added including larger text and spoken menu items. It also included Nike+iPod support, FM radio tagging (using the Apple Radio Remote), support for audio crossfade, and games including Maze, Klondike, and Vortex.
The iPod classic Generation 6 continued the “classic” iPod design and used a 4200 RPM ATA-66 hard drive long after all other iPod models had switched to flash memory. The advantage to the spinning hard drive was that it could hold far more songs for a lower price.
The iPod classic Generation 6 offered a 80 GB or 160 GB hard rive capable of supporting 20,000 or 40,000 songs and 100 or 200 hours of video.
The iPod classic models use a 2.5-inch color LCD display with an LED backlight at 320×240 and use cases with either a silver or black anodized aluminum front and a chrome stainless steel back (previous models used white or black polycarbonate fronts). The iPod classic models were the first full-size iPod models to not be offered in white.
The larger case also allowed for long battery life: 30 hours of music and 5 hours of video for the 80 GB model and 40 hours of music and 7 hours of video for the 160 GB model.
The software included a Cover Flow option for selecting albums, and three games were bundled: iQuiz, Klondike, and Vortex.
The iPod nano Generation 3 used a design unique to the iPod family with “squat” proportions in a thin case. It was available in 4 GB or 8 GB versions, with the 4 GB model offered only in silver, and the 8 GB models offered in silver, light blue, light green, black, and (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition, and later pink option was added. All models had a chrome stainless steel back.
Compared to the iPod nano Generation 2, the Generation 3 added a larger 2-inch (diagonal) color LCD display at 320×240 resolution, support for video on the internal display, and video out via the dock.
The software is greatly improved with enhancements including a Cover Flow option for selecting albums. Three games were also bundled: iQuiz, Klondike, and Vortex.
The iPod touch Generation 2 is similar in features to the iPhone 3G, but lacks phone features, mobile phone networking, GPS, and a camera. While the back of the iPod touch Generation 2 is made of stainless steel (instead of plastic), its shape is similar to the iPhone 3G.
The iPod touch Generation 2 featured a multi-touch 3.5-inch display with 320×480 resolution, an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), and 8, 16, or 32 GB of flash memory.
Compared to the original iPod touch, the Generation 2 model adds external volume controls on the left side of the device, an integrated speaker, external microphone (supported via the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic), support for the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a Genius feature to dynamically create playlists, and shaking the device to shuffle songs.