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The current iPod line consists of (from left to right) the iPod shuffle,
iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod touch.
Manufacturer Apple Inc.
Type Portable media player
Retail availability 2001
Units sold Over 141 million units worldwide, as of January 2008
Online services iTunes Store

iPod is a brand of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple and launched on October 23, 2001. The line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based flagship iPod classic, the high-end touchscreen iPod touch, the mid-level video-capable iPod nano, and the entry-level screenless iPod shuffle. Former products include the compact iPod mini (replaced by the iPod nano) and the high-end spin-off iPod photo (re-integrated into the main iPod classic line). iPod classic models store media on an internal hard drive, while all other models use flash memory to enable their smaller size (the discontinued mini used a Microdrive miniature hard drive). As with many other digital music players, iPods, excluding the iPod Touch, can also serve as external data storage devices.

Apple's iTunes software is used to transfer music to the devices. As a jukebox application, iTunes stores a music library on the user's computer and can play, burn, and rip music from a CD. It also transfers photos, videos, games, and calendars to those iPod models that support them. Apple focused its development on the iPod's unique user interface and its ease of use, rather than on technical capability. As of October 2007, the iPod had sold over 119 million units worldwide (stated in "The Beat Goes On" conference) making it the best-selling digital audio player series in history.

History and design

iPod came from Apple's digital hub strategy, when the company began creating software for the growing market of digital devices being purchased by consumers. Digital cameras, camcorders and organizers had well-established mainstream markets, but the company found existing digital music players "big and clunky or small and useless" with user interfaces that were "unbelievably awful," so Apple decided to develop its own. Apple's hardware engineering chief, Jon Rubinstein, ordered by Steve Jobs, assembled a team of engineers to design it, including hardware engineers Tony Fadell and Michael Dhuey, and design engineer Jonathan Ive. The product was developed in less than a year and unveiled on October 23,2001. CEO Steve Jobs announced it as a Mac-compatible product with a 5 GB hard drive that put "1,000 songs in your pocket."

Uncharacteristically, Apple did not develop iPod's software entirely in-house. Apple instead used PortalPlayer's reference platform which was based on 2 ARM cores. The platform had rudimentary software running on a commercial microkernel embedded operating system. PortalPlayer had previously been working on an IBM-branded MP3 player with Bluetooth headphones. Apple contracted another company, Pixo, to help design and implement the user interface, under the direct supervision of Steve Jobs. Once established, Apple continued to refine the software's look and feel. Starting with iPod mini, the Chicago font was replaced with Espy Sans. Later iPods switched fonts again to Podium Sans — a font similar to Apple's corporate font Myriad. iPods with colour displays then adopted some Mac OS X themes like Aqua progress bars, and brushed metal in the lock interface. In 2007, Apple modified the iPod interface again with the introduction of the sixth-generation iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano by changing the font to Helvetica, and in most cases, splitting the screen in half by displaying the menus on the left and album artwork, photos, or videos on the right (whichever was appropriate for the selected item).


The name iPod was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter, who (with others) was called by Apple to figure out how to introduce the new player to the public. After Chieco saw a prototype, he thought of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the phrase "Open the pod bay door, Hal!", which refers to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship. Apple researched the trademark and found that it was already in use. Joseph N. Grasso of New Jersey had originally listed an "iPod" trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July 2000 for Internet kiosks. The first iPod kiosks had been demonstrated to the public in New Jersey in March 1998, and commercial use began in January 2000. The trademark was registered by the USPTO in November 2003, and Grasso assigned it to Apple Computer, Inc. in 2005.


iPod can play MP3, AAC/ M4A, Protected AAC, AIFF, WAV, Audible audiobook, and Apple Lossless audio file formats. The iPod photo introduced the ability to display JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG image file formats. Fifth and sixth generation iPod classics, as well as third generation iPod nanos, can additionally play MPEG-4 ( H.264/MPEG-4 AVC) and QuickTime video formats, with restrictions on video dimensions, encoding techniques and data-rates. Originally, iPod software only worked with Macs; however, starting with the second generation model, iPod software worked with Windows and Macs. Unlike most other media players, Apple does not support Microsoft's WMA audio format — but a converter for WMA files without Digital Rights Management (DRM) is provided with the Windows version of iTunes. MIDI files also cannot be played, but can be converted to audio files using the "Advanced" menu in iTunes. Alternative open-source audio formats such as Ogg Vorbis and FLAC are not supported without installing custom firmware onto the iPod.

The iPod is associated with one host computer. Each time an iPod connects to its host computer, iTunes can synchronize entire music libraries or music playlists either automatically or manually. Song ratings can be set on the iPod and synchronized later to the iTunes library, and vice versa. A user can access, play, and add music on a second computer if the iPod is set to manual and not automatic sync, but anything added or edited will be reversed upon connecting and syncing with the main computer and its library. If a user wishes to automatically sync music with a another computer, the iPod's library will be entirely wiped and replaced with the other computer's library.

User interface

The iPod's signature Click Wheel.

iPods with colour displays use anti-aliased graphics and text, with sliding animations. Classic iPods have five buttons and the later generations have the buttons integrated into the click wheel — an innovation which gives an uncluttered, minimalist interface. The buttons perform basic functions such as play, next track, etc. Other operations such as scrolling through menu items and controlling the volume are performed by using the click wheel in a rotational manner. iPod shuffle does not have a click wheel and instead has five buttons positioned differently from the larger models. iPod touch uses no buttons for any of these functions, instead relying on a Multi-touch input style similar to that of the iPhone.

iTunes Store

The iTunes Store is an online media store run by Apple and accessed via iTunes. It was introduced on April 29, 2003 and it sells individual songs, with typical prices being US $0.99, AU $1.69 (inc. GST), NZ $1.79 (inc. GST), 0.99 (inc. VAT), or £0.79 (inc. VAT) per song. Since no other portable player supports the DRM used, only iPods can play protected content from the iTunes store. The store became the market leader soon after its launch and Apple announced the sale of videos through the store on October 12, 2005. Full-length movies became available on September 12 2006.

Purchased audio files use the AAC format with added encryption. The encryption is based on the FairPlay DRM system. Up to five authorized computers and an unlimited number of iPods can play the files. Burning the files onto an audio CD, then re-compressing can create music files without the DRM, although this results in reduced quality. The DRM can also be removed using third-party software. However, in a deal with Apple, EMI began selling DRM-free, higher-quality songs on the iTunes Stores, in a category called "iTunes Plus." While individual songs were made available at a cost of US$1.29, 30¢ more than the cost of a regular DRM song, entire albums were available for the same price, US$9.99, as DRM encoded albums. On October 17, 2007, Apple lowered the cost of individual iTunes Plus songs to US$.99 per song, the same as DRM encoded tracks.

iPods cannot play music files from competing music stores that use rival-DRM technologies like Microsoft's protected WMA or RealNetworks' Helix DRM. Example stores include Napster and MSN Music. RealNetworks claims that Apple is creating problems for itself by using FairPlay to lock users into using the iTunes Store. Steve Jobs has stated that Apple makes little profit from song sales, although Apple uses the store to promote iPod sales. However, iPods can also play music files from online stores that do not use DRM, such as eMusic or Amie Street.

On July 3, 2007, Universal Music Group decided not to renew their contract with the iTunes music store. Universal will now supply iTunes in an 'at will' capacity.

On September 5, 2007, at Apple's Media Event entitled "The Beat Goes On...", the company debuted the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store which allows users to access the Music Store from either iPhone or the iPod Touch and download songs directly to the device which can be synced to the user's iTunes Library.

File storage and transfer

All iPods except for the touch can function in "disk mode" as mass storage devices to store data files. If the iPod is formatted on a Mac OS X computer it uses the HFS+ file system format, which allows it to serve as a boot disk for a Mac computer. If it is formatted on Windows, the FAT32 format is used. With the advent of the Windows-compatible iPod, iPod's default file system switched from HFS+ to FAT32, although it can be reformatted to either filesystem (excluding the iPod shuffle which is strictly FAT32). Generally, if a new iPod (excluding the iPod shuffle) is initially plugged into a computer running Windows, it will be formatted with FAT32, and if initially plugged into a Mac running Mac OS X it will be formatted with HFS+.

Unlike many other MP3 players, simply copying audio or video files to the drive with a typical file management application will not allow iPod to properly access them. The user must use software that has been specifically designed to transfer media files to iPods, so that the files are playable and viewable. Aside from iTunes, several alternative third-party applications are available on a number of different platforms.

iTunes 7 and above can transfer purchased media of the iTunes Store from an iPod to a computer, provided that the DRM media is transferred to any of the five computers allowed for authorization with DRM media.

Media files are stored on the iPod in a hidden folder, together with a proprietary database file. The hidden content can be accessed on the host operating system by enabling hidden files to be shown. The audio can then be recovered manually by dragging the files or folders onto the iTunes Library or by using third-party software.


If the sound is enhanced with the iPod's software equalizer (EQ), some EQ settings — like R&B, Rock, Acoustic, and Bass Booster — can cause bass distortion too easily. The equalizer amplifies the digital audio level beyond the software's limit, causing distortion ( clipping) on songs that have a bass drum or use a bassy instrument, even when the amplifier level is low. One possible workaround is to reduce the volume level of the songs by modifying the audio files.


Chipsets and electronics


  • iPod first to third generations — Two ARM 7TDMI-derived CPUs running at 90 MHz.
  • iPod fourth and fifth generations, iPod mini, iPod nano first generation — Variable-speed ARM 7TDMI CPUs, running at a peak of 80 MHz to save battery life.
  • iPod nano second generation — Samsung System-On-Chip, based around an ARM processor.
  • iPod shuffle first generation — SigmaTel STMP3550 chip that handles both the music decoding and the audio circuitry.

Audio chip

  • All iPods (except the shuffle and 6G) use audio codecs developed by Wolfson Microelectronics.
  • Sixth generation iPods use a Cirrus Logic audio codec chip.

Storage medium

  • iPod first to fifth generation — 45.7 mm (1.8 in) hard drives (ATA-6, 4200 rpm with proprietary connectors) made by Toshiba
  • iPod mini — 25.4 mm (1 in) Microdrives manufactured by Hitachi and Seagate
  • iPod nano — Flash memory from Samsung, Toshiba, and others.
  • iPod shuffle — Flash memory


  • iPod first and second generation, nano, shuffle — Internal lithium polymer batteries
  • iPod third to fifth generation — Internal lithium-ion batteries


Two iPod wall chargers, with FireWire (left) and USB (right) connectors, which allow iPods to charge without a computer.

Originally, a FireWire connection to the host computer was used to update songs or recharge the battery. The battery could also be charged with a power adapter that was included with the first four generations. The third generation began including a dock connector, allowing for FireWire or USB connectivity. This provided better compatibility with PCs, as most of them did not have FireWire ports at the time. The dock connector also brought opportunities to exchange data, sound and power with an iPod, which ultimately created a large market of accessories, manufactured by third parties such as Belkin and Griffin. The second generation iPod shuffle uses a single 3.5 mm jack which acts as both a headphone jack and a data port for the dock.

Eventually Apple began shipping iPods with USB cables instead of FireWire, although the latter was available separately. As of the first generation iPod nano and the fifth generation iPod classic, Apple discontinued using FireWire for data transfer and made a full transition to USB 2.0 in an attempt to reduce cost and form factor. With these changes, FireWire could only be used for recharging.

iPod dock connector

Introduced in the third-generation iPod, the iPod's 30-pin dock connector allows iPods to be connected to a variety of accessories, which can range from televisions to speaker systems. Some peripherals utilize their own interface, while others use the iPod's own screen for access. Such accessories may be used for music, video, and photo playback. Because the dock connector is a proprietary interface, the implementation of the interface requires paying royalties to Apple.


Many accessories have been made for the iPod. A large amount are made by third party companies, although many, such as iPod Hi-Fi, are made by Apple. This market is sometimes described as the iPod ecosystem. Some accessories add extra features that other music players have, such as sound recorders, FM radio tuners, wired remote controls, and audio/visual cables for TV connections. Other accessories offer unique features like the Nike+iPod pedometer and the iPod Camera Connector. Other notable accessories include external speakers, wireless remote controls, protective cases/films and wireless earphones. Among the first accessory manufacturers were Griffin Technology, Belkin, JBL, Bose, Monster Cable, and SendStation.

Two designs of iPod earbuds. The current version is shown on the right.

The white earphones (or "earbuds") that ship with all iPods have become symbolic of the brand. Advertisements feature them prominently, often contrasting the white earphones (and cords) with people shown as dark silhouettes. The original earphones came with the first generation iPod. They were revised to be smaller after Apple received complaints of the earbuds being too large. The revised earphones were shipped with second through early fifth generation iPods, the iPod mini, and the first generation nanos. The earbuds were revised again in 2006, featuring an even smaller and more streamlined design. This third type was shipped with late fifth generation iPods and the second generation nanos. All first generation iPod shuffles and the second generation up until January 30 2007 (when colour models were introduced) had the second kind; those that shipped after that date had the third kind.

In 2005, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed advertisements on the subways warning passengers that "Earphones are a giveaway. Protect your device", after iPod thefts on the subway rose from zero in 2004 to 50 in the first three months of 2005.

BMW released the first iPod automobile interface, allowing drivers of newer BMW vehicles to control their iPod using either the built-in steering wheel controls or the radio head-unit buttons. Apple announced in 2005 that similar systems would be available for other vehicle brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Nissan, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Acura, Audi, Honda, Renault and Volkswagen. Scion offers standard iPod connectivity on all their cars.

Some independent stereo manufacturers including JVC, Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, Sony, and Harman Kardon also have iPod-specific integration solutions. Alternative connection methods include adaptor kits (that use the cassette deck or the CD changer port), audio input jacks, and FM transmitters such as the iTrip — although personal FM transmitters are illegal in some countries. Many car manufacturers have added audio input jacks as standard.

Beginning in mid-2007, four major airlines, United, Continental, Delta, and Emirates reached agreements to install iPod seat connections. The free service will allow passengers to power and charge their iPod, and view their video and music libraries on individual seat-back displays. Originally KLM and Air France were reported to be part of the deal with Apple, but they later released statements explaining that they were only contemplating the possibility of incorporating such systems.

Battery issues

The advertised battery life on most models is different from the real-world achievable life. For example, the fifth generation 30 GB iPod is advertised as having up to 14 hours of music playback. An report stated that this was virtually unachievable under real-life usage conditions, with a writer for getting on average less than 8 hours from his or her iPod. In 2003, class action lawsuits were brought against Apple complaining that the battery charges lasted for shorter lengths of time than stated and that the battery degraded over time. The lawsuits were settled by offering individuals either US$50 store credit or a free battery replacement.

iPod batteries are not designed to be removed or replaced by the user, although some users have been able to open the case themselves, usually following instructions from third-party vendors of iPod replacement batteries. Compounding the problem, Apple initially would not replace worn-out batteries. The official policy was that the customer should buy a refurbished replacement iPod, at a cost almost equivalent to a brand new one. All lithium-ion batteries eventually lose capacity during their lifetime (guidelines are available for prolonging life-span) and this situation led to a small market for third-party battery replacement kits.

Apple announced a battery replacement program on November 14, 2003, a week before a high publicity stunt and website by the Neistat Brothers. The initial cost was US$99, and it was lowered to US$59 in 2005. One week later, Apple offered an extended iPod warranty for US$59. For the iPod nano, soldering tools are needed because the battery is soldered onto the main board. Fifth generation iPods have their battery attached to the backplate with adhesive.

Bass response

The third generation iPod had a weak bass response, as shown in audio tests. The combination of the undersized DC-blocking capacitors and the typical low- impedance of most consumer headphones form a high-pass filter, which attenuates the low-frequency bass output. Similar capacitors were used in the fourth generation iPods. The problem is reduced when using high-impedance headphones and is completely masked when driving high-impedance (line level) loads, such as an external headphone amplifier. The first generation iPod shuffle uses a dual-transistor output stage rather than a single capacitor-coupled output, and does not exhibit reduced bass response for any load.


The iPod has been upgraded many times, and each significant revision is called a " generation". Only the most recent (highest numbered) generation and refurbished units of previous generations of the iPod is available from Apple for each model (classic, nano, shuffle, touch). Each new generation usually has more features and refinements while typically being physically smaller and lighter than its predecessor, while usually (but not always) retaining the older model's price tag. Notable changes include the touch-sensitive click wheel replacing the mechanical scroll wheel, use of colour displays, and flash memory replacing hard disks.

Model Generation Image Capacity Connection Original release date Minimum OS to sync Rated battery life (hours)
classic first first generation iPod 5, 10 GB FireWire 23 October 2001 Mac:  9,  10.1 audio: 10
First model, with mechanical scroll wheel. 10 GB model released later.
second A second generation iPod (2002) 10, 20 GB FireWire 17 July 2002 Mac:  10.1
Win: 2000
audio: 10
Touch-sensitive wheel. FireWire port had a cover. Hold switch revised. Windows compatibility through Musicmatch.
third third generation iPod 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 GB FireWire ( USB for syncing only) 28 April 2003 Mac:  10.1
Win: 2000
audio: 8
First complete redesign with all-touch interface, dock connector, and slimmer case. Musicmatch support dropped with later release of iTunes 4.1 for Windows.
( photo) ( colour)
fourth generation iPod 20, 40 GB FireWire or USB 19 July 2004 Mac:  10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 12
Adopted Click Wheel from iPod mini.
fourth generation iPod photo:
30, 40, 60 GB
FireWire or USB 26 October, 2004 Mac:  10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 15
slideshow: 5
20, 60 GB
28 June, 2005
Premium spin-off of 4G iPod with colour screen and picture viewing. Later re-integrated into main iPod line.
fifth fifth generation iPod 30, 60, 80 GB USB ( FireWire for charging only) 12 October 2005 Mac:  10.3
Win: 2000
30 GB
audio: 14
video: 2
(later 3.5)
60/80 GB
audio: 20
video: 3/6.5
Second full redesign with a slimmer case, and larger screen with video playback. Offered in black or white.
sixth sixth generation iPod 80, 160 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) 5 September 2007 Mac:  10.4 Win: XP 80 GB
audio: 30
video: 5
160 GB
audio: 40
video: 7
Introduced the "classic" suffix. New interface and anodized aluminium front plate. Silver replaces white.
(replaced by nano)
first first generation iPod mini 4 GB USB or FireWire 6 January 2004 Mac:  10.1
Win: 2000
audio: 8
New smaller model, available in 5 colors. Introduced the "Click Wheel".
second second generation iPod mini 4, 6 GB USB or FireWire 22 February 2005 Mac:  10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 18
Brighter color variants with longer battery life. Click Wheel lettering matched body color. Gold colour discontinued. Later replaced by iPod nano.
nano first first generation iPod nano 1, 2, 4 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) 7 September 2005 Mac:  10.3
Win: 2000
audio: 14
slideshow: 4
Replaced mini. Available in black or white and used flash memory. Colour screen for picture viewing. 1 GB version released later.
second 4 GB blue iPod nano 2, 4, 8 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) 12 September 2006 Mac:  10.3
Win: 2000
audio: 24
slideshow: 5
Anodized aluminium casing and 6 colors available.
third 4 GB third generation iPod nano 4, 8 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) 5 September 2007 Mac:  10.4
Win: XP
audio: 24
video: 5
2" QVGA screen, colors refreshed with chrome back, new interface, video capability.
shuffle first first generation iPod shuffle 512 MB, 1 GB USB
(no adaptor required)
11 January 2005 Mac:  10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 12
New entry-level model. Uses flash memory and has no screen.
second second generation iPod shuffle 1 GB USB 12 September 2006 Mac:  10.3
Win: 2000
audio: 12
Smaller clip design with anodized aluminum casing. 4 colour options added later. Colors were later refreshed.
touch first iPod touch 8, 16 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) 5 September 2007 Mac:  10.4
Win: XP
audio: 22
video: 5
With Safari browser, Multi-touch, Wi-Fi, and wireless access to the iTunes Store and YouTube.
Sources: Apple Inc. model database, Mactracker.

(PRODUCT)RED 2G iPod nano.

The software bundled with the first generation iPod was Macintosh-only, so Windows users had to use third-party software like ephPod or XPlay to manage their music. When Apple introduced the second generation of iPods in July 2002, they sold two versions, one that included iTunes for Macintosh users and another that included Musicmatch Jukebox for Windows users. In October 2003, Apple released the Windows version of iTunes, and started selling iPods that included both Macintosh and Windows versions of iTunes so that they could be used with either platform. Current iPods no longer ship with iTunes, which must be downloaded from Apple's website.

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. On October 26 2004, Apple introduced a special edition of its fourth generation monochrome iPod, designed in the colour scheme of the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by Irish rock band U2. It had a black case with a red click wheel and the back had the engraved signatures of U2's band members. This iPod was updated alongside the iPod photo and fifth generation iPod.

On October 13 2006, Apple released a special edition 4 GB red iPod nano as part of the (PRODUCT)RED campaign. An 8 GB version was released three weeks later and both of them sold for the same price as the standard models. US$10 from each sale is donated to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria. On September 5, 2007, Apple also added a (PRODUCT)RED iPod shuffle model. They did not disclose how much will be donated to charity from this model. Apple also released Special Edition Harry Potter iPods to accompany the iPod photo. These were engraved with the Hogwarts Crest on the back and were only available to purchasers of the Harry Potter audiobooks. They were updated when the fifth generation iPods were released, but were only available for a limited time.

In 2007, a Cubismo special edition 2 GB silver iPod nano was made available in the former Yugoslav republics.

Timeline of iPod models

Sources: Apple press release library, Mactracker Apple Inc. model database

Reliability and durability

iPods have been criticized for their short life-span, fragile hard drives, and planned obsolescence. A 2005 survey conducted on the MacInTouch website found that the iPod had an average failure rate of 13.7%. It concluded that some models were more durable than others. In particular, failure rates for iPods employing hard drives was usually above 20% while those with flash memory had a failure rate below 10%, indicating poor hard drive durability. In late 2005, many users complained that the surface of the first generation iPod nano can become scratched easily, rendering the screen unusable. A class action lawsuit was also filed. Apple initially considered the issue a minor defect, but later began shipping these iPods with protective sleeves.

Allegations of worker exploitation

On June 11 2006, the British newspaper Mail on Sunday reported that iPods are mainly manufactured by workers who earn no more than US$50 per month and work 15-hour shifts. Apple investigated the case with independent auditors and found that, while some of the plant's labour practices met Apple's Code of Conduct, others did not: Employees worked over 60 hours a week for 35% of the time, and worked more than six consecutive days for 25% of the time.

Foxconn, Apple's manufacturer, initially denied the abuses, but when an auditing team from Apple found that workers had been working longer hours than were allowed under Chinese law, they promised to prevent workers working more hours than the Code allowed. Apple hired a workplace standards auditing company, Verité, and joined the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct Implementation Group to oversee the measures. On December 31 2006, workers at the Longhua, Shenzhen factory (owned by Foxconn) formed a union. The union is affiliated with the Chinese government-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Patent disputes

In 2005, Apple faced two lawsuits claiming patent infringement by the iPod and its associated technologies: Advanced Audio Devices claimed the iPod breached its patent on a "music jukebox", while a Hong Kong-based IP portfolio company called Pat-rights filed a suit claiming that Apple's FairPlay technology breached a patent issued to inventor Ho Keung Tse. The latter case also includes the online music stores of Sony, RealNetworks, Napster, and Musicmatch as defendants.

Apple's application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a patent on "rotational user inputs", as used on the iPod's interface, received a third "non-final rejection" (NFR) in August 2005. Also in August 2005, Creative Technology, one of Apple's main rivals in the MP3 player market, announced that it held a patent on part of the music selection interface used by the iPod, which Creative dubbed the "Zen Patent", granted on August 9, 2005. On May 15 2006, Creative filed another suit against Apple with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Creative also asked the United States International Trade Commission to investigate whether Apple was breaching U.S. trade laws by importing iPods into the United States.

On August 24 2006, Apple and Creative announced a broad settlement to end their legal disputes. Apple will pay Creative US$100 million for a paid-up license, to use Creative's awarded patent in all Apple products. As part of the agreement, Apple will recoup part of its payment, if Creative is successful in licensing the patent. Creative then announced its intention to produce iPod accessories by joining the Made for iPod program.


iPod quarterly sales. Click for table of data and sources.

October 2004, the iPod has dominated digital music player sales in the United States, with over 90% of the market for hard drive-based players and over 70% of the market for all types of players. During the year from January 2004 to January 2005, the high rate of sales caused its U.S. market share to increase from 31% to 65% and in July 2005, this market share was measured at 74%. In January of 2007 the iPod market share reached 72.7% according to Bloomberg Online.

The release of the iPod mini helped to ensure this success at a time when competing flash-based music players were once dominant. On January 8 2004, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced that they would sell HP-branded iPods under a license agreement from Apple. Several new retail channels were used—including Wal-Mart—and these iPods eventually made up 5% of all iPod sales. In July 2005, HP stopped selling iPods due to unfavorable terms and conditions imposed by Apple.

In January 2007, Apple reported record quarterly revenue of US$7.1 billion, of which 48% was made from iPod sales.

On April 9 2007, it was announced that Apple had sold its one-hundred millionth iPod, making it the biggest selling digital music player of all time. In April 2007, Apple reported second quarter revenue of US$5.2 billion, of which 32% was made from iPod sales. Apple and several industry analysts suggest that iPod users are likely to purchase other Apple products such as Mac computers.

On September 5, 2007, during their "The Beat Goes On" event, Apple announced that the iPod had surpassed 110 million units sold.

On October 22, 2007, Apple reported quarterly revenue of US$6.22 billion, of which 30.69% came from Apple notebook sales, 19.22% from desktop sales and 26% from iPod sales. Apple's 2007 year revenue increased to US$24.01 billion with US$3.5 billion in profits. Apple ended the fiscal year 2007 with US$15.4 billion in cash and no debt.

Industry impact

iPods have won several awards ranging from engineering excellence, to most innovative audio product, to fourth best computer product of 2006. iPods often receive favorable reviews; scoring on looks, clean design, and ease of use. PC World says that iPods have "altered the landscape for portable audio players". Several industries are modifying their products to work better with both the iPod and the AAC audio format. Examples include CD copy-protection schemes, and mobile phones, such as phones from Sony Ericsson and Nokia, which play AAC files rather than WMA. Microsoft's Zune device also supports AAC and it has adopted a similar closed DRM model used by iPods and the iTunes Store, despite Microsoft previously marketing the benefits of choice with their PlaysForSure initiative. Podcasts and download charts have also had mainstream adoption.

In addition to its reputation as a respected entertainment device, the iPod has also become accepted as a business device. Government departments, major institutions and international organisations have turned to the iPod as a delivery mechanism for business communication and training, such as the Royal and Western Infirmaries in Glasgow, Scotland where iPods are used to train new staff.

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