In the beginning, Apple created iTunes -- a digital jukebox. However, iTunes was without a device and was incompatible with Windows operating systems. Enter the iPod in 2001. Now there are multiple models of the iPod, and it even spawned the iPhone. Understanding how iPods have evolved and the basics of using an iPod are important for new users.
The first iPod released in 2001 just played music and would only sync with Mac computers; the next version of the iPod released a year later was compatible with both Mac and Windows computers; the iTunes Music Store was unveiled along with the 3rd generation iPod in 2003. The iTunes Music Store made it possible for both Windows and Mac users to legally purchase and download media to a computer for easy transfer to an iPod. The iPod mini was released in 2004. The iPod classic started supporting image viewing in 2005; the iPod shuffle and iPod nano were introduced that same year. The iPod classic started supporting video in 2006, and in 2007 Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod touch and the iPhone, ushering in a new age of telecommunications.
The iPod comes in four basic models as of February 2011. The smallest is the iPod shuffle, which is about the size of a Godiva chocolate square, has 2GB of storage space and is strictly for audio playback. The iPod nano is slightly larger than the iPod shuffle and has a storage capacity of either 8GB or 16GB. The iPod nano has a full-color screen, pedometer and an FM radio receiver. The iPod classic can hold 160GB of songs, movies, photos and games. The iPod touch has a storage capacity of 8GB, 32GB or 64GB and can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, where users can connect to the App Store or iTunes Store and download apps, songs, movies and games. Users can take advantage of FaceTime if the iPod touch is using iOS4; FaceTime is a dual-camera system that lets users video chat with each other.
Information is predominately transferred onto an iPod using iTunes. Many third-party programs are also available, but iTunes and iPods were optimized by Apple to work with each other. Users download iTunes for free, connect their iPod to their computer and then synchronize their iTunes library with the iPod. Any content on the computer hard drive loaded onto iTunes can then be synced to the iPod. This includes music, podcasts, videos, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, games and apps, depending on what iPod model you are using.
All iPods have "Back" and "Forward" buttons, and a single button for starting and pausing playback. Beyond that, playback methods differ depending on the iPod model. Shake the iPod shuffle to shuffle playback. Music videos can play as audio on the iPod nano. The iPod classic has the distinctive, solid-state scroll wheel that responds like a laptop touchpad. Tap buttons on the iPod touch touchscreen to control playback; the device also features a "Home Screen" button, two volume buttons and a "Power" button.
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