iPod is a brand of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple and launched in 2001. Devices in the iPod range are primarily digital audio players, designed around a central click wheel — although the iPod shuffle has buttons only. As of October 2005, the line-up consists of the video-capable fifth generation iPod, the smaller iPod nano, and the display-less iPod shuffle. The full-sized model stores media on an internal hard drive, while the smaller iPod nano and iPod shuffle use flash memory. Like many digital music players, iPods can also serve as external data storage devices. In January 2007, Apple announced the iPhone, a device that combined the features of the video-capable iPod with mobile phone and mobile Internet capabilities.

Apple's iTunes software is used to transfer music to the devices. As a free jukebox application, iTunes stores an entire music library on the user's computer and can play, burn, and rip music from a CD. It can also transfer photos, videos, games and calendars to the models that support them.

Apple focused its development on iPod's unique user interface and its ease of use, rather than on technical capability. As of October 2004, iPod is the world's best-selling range of digital audio players and its worldwide mainstream adoption made it one of the most popular consumer brands. Some of Apple's design choices and proprietary actions have, however, led to criticism and legal battles.

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 decided to develop its own. Apple's hardware engineering chief, Jon Rubinstein, assembled a team of engineers to design it, including Tony Fadell, hardware engineer Michael Dhuey, and design engineer Jonathan Ive, with Stan Ng as the marketing manager. The product was developed in less than a year and unveiled on 23 October 2001. CEO Steve Jobs announced it as a Mac-compatible product with a 5 GB hard drive that put "1000 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 the 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 color displays then adopted some Mac OS X themes like Aqua progress bars, and brushed metal in the lock interface.

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 had previously registered the name "iPod" for Internet kiosks, but never put it to use.

iPod can play MP3, AAC/M4A, Protected AAC, AIFF, WAV, Audible audiobook, and Apple Lossless audio file formats. iPod photo introduced the ability to display JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG image file formats. Fifth generation iPods can additionally play MPEG-4 (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC) and QuickTime video formats, with restrictions on video dimensions, encoding techniques and data-rates. Unlike most other media players, Apple does not support Microsoft's WMA audio format — but a converter for non-Digital Rights Management (DRM) WMA files 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 on iTunes. Alternative open-source audio formats such as Ogg Vorbis and FLAC are not supported. Each time iPod connects to its host computer, iTunes will synchronize entire music libraries or music playlists and the user can choose for automatic or manual synchronization. Song ratings can be set on iPod and synchronized later to the iTunes library, however only one host computer is allowed.

iPods with color displays use anti-aliased graphics and text, with sliding animations. These iPods have five buttons and the later generations have the buttons integrated into the click wheel — an innovation which gives an uncluttered, minimalistic interface. The buttons are:

* Menu: to traverse backwards through the menus, and toggle the backlight on older iPods
* Center: to select a menu item
* Play / Pause: this doubles as an off switch when held
* Skip Forward / Fast Forward
* Skip Backwards / Fast Reverse

Other operations such as scrolling through menu items and controlling the volume are performed by using the click wheel in a rotational manner, while an additional Hold switch helps prevent accidental button presses. iPod shuffle does not have a click wheel and instead has five buttons positioned differently to the larger models: It has a Play / Pause button in the center, surrounded by four buttons: Volume Up / Down and Skip Forward / Backwards. The later models automatically pause playback when the headphones are unplugged from the headphone jack, but playback does not resume upon re-insertion. An iPod that has crashed or frozen can be reset by switching Hold on then off, then pressing Menu and Center (Menu and Play on the third generation iPod) for 6 seconds.

iPod's operating system is stored on its dedicated storage medium. An additional NOR flash ROM chip (either 1 MB or 512 KB) contains a bootloader program that tells the device to load its OS from the storage medium. Each iPod also has 32 MB of RAM, although the 60 and 80 GB fifth generation have 64 MB. A portion of the RAM is used to hold the iPod OS loaded from firmware, but the majority of it serves to cache songs from the storage medium. For example, iPod could spin its hard disk up once and copy approximately 30 MB of upcoming songs into RAM, thus save power by not requiring the drive to spin up for each song. Rockbox and iPodLinux offer open-source alternatives to the standard firmware and operating system, respectively.

The iTunes Store is an online media store run by Apple and accessed via iTunes. It was introduced on 29 April 2003 and it sells individual songs, with typical prices being US$0.99, AU$1.69 (inc. GST), NZ$1.79 (inc. GST) EU€0.99, or GB£0.79 per song. iPods are the only portable music players that can play the purchased music. The store became the market leader soon after its launch and Apple announced the sale of videos through the store on 12 October 2005. Full-length movies became available on 12 September 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 to a different lossy format can create music files without the DRM, although this results in reduced quality. The DRM can also be removed using third-party software.

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 stated that Apple makes little profit from song sales, although Apple uses the store to promote iPod sales. iPods can however play music files from online stores that do not use DRM, such as eMusic.

In March 2002, Apple added limited PDA-like functionality: Text files can be displayed, while contacts and schedules can be viewed and synchronized with the host computer.[10] Some built-in games are available, including Brick (a clone of Breakout), Parachute, Solitaire and Music Quiz. A firmware update released in September 2006 brought some extra features to fifth generation iPods including adjustable screen brightness, gapless playback, and downloadable games (available for purchase from the iTunes Store).

All iPods can function as mass storage devices to store data files; this function is controlled by the "Enable Disk Use" option in iTunes. 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.[citation needed] 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).

Unlike most other MP3 players (including PlaysForSure devices), simply copying files to the drive with a 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 cannot transfer songs or videos from iPod to computer, although iTunes 7 allows it for music purchased online. 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 however, 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.

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 4 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. However, the device could not be charged over USB, so the FireWire cables were nonetheless needed to connect to the AC adapter. 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.

The iPod mini and the fourth generation iPod allowed recharging via USB and eventually Apple began shipping iPods with USB cables instead of FireWire, although the latter was available separately. As of the fifth generation iPod, Apple discontinued using FireWire for data transfer and made a full transition to USB 2.0, due to its widespread adoption. FireWire was then usable for recharging only.

Many companies, including Apple, produce accessories designed for iPods. 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 more 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.

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 earphones have been revised twice: The first type came with the first and second generations, and the second type appeared on all iPods up to the second generation nanos.

In 2005, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed adverts 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 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.

Each new generation usually has more features and refinements while typically being smaller and lighter than its predecessor. Notable changes include the touch-sensitive click wheel replacing the mechanical scroll wheel, use of color displays, and flash memory replacing hard disks. Discontinued models include four generations of the full-sized iPod, two generations of the iPod mini and the first generation of both the nano and the shuffle.

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.

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$49. On 26 October 2004, Apple introduced a special edition of its fourth generation monochrome iPod, designed in the color 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 13 October 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. 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.

The advertised battery life on most models is very 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 MP3.com report stated that this was virtually unachievable under real-life usage conditions, with a writer for MP3.com 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. Despite its own criticisms, Apple later complained that its competitor, Sony, had misled consumers in its advertising for Sony's music player. Apple complained that Sony had not considered real-world usage.

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 14 November 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. Third-party companies offer cheaper battery replacement kits that often use higher capacity batteries. 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.

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 by up to 10 dB. 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. 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.

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 recorded MP3 by modifying the audio files. However this cannot be done with DRM-encrypted music, and different tools are needed for each different file format.

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 late 2005, many users complained that the surface of the 1st 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.

On 11 June 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 labor 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. Apple's manufacturer — which initially denied the abuses — promised to disallow 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 31 December 2006, workers at the Taiwanese factory (owned by Foxconn) formed a union. The union is affiliated with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions

In 2005, Apple Computer 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",[59] 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 9 August 2005. On 15 May 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 24 August 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. Apple also negotiated a scheme where it can 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.

Since 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%.

The release of the iPod mini helped to ensure this success at a time when competing flash-based music players were once dominant. On 8 January 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.

According to Apple's quarterly financial results (from 2002 Q1 to 2007 Q1), total iPod sales reached 88,701,000 units as of January 2007. Apple's fiscal year ends in September. In January 2007, Apple reported record annual earnings of US$7.1 billion, of which 48% was made from iPod sales.[67] Apple and several industry analysts suggest that iPod users are likely to purchase other Apple products such as Mac computers.

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 from Sony Ericsson and Nokia that 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.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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