The Fourth Generation Apple iPod

Posted by // November 9th, 2012 // Product Design No Comments »

The iPod is the most popular portable music player of all time with over 300 million sales and was the product line that truly transformed Apple’s fortunes. It was the catalyst that helped start its growth to becoming the most valuable company in the world. For comparison, the Sony Walkman series is estimated to have sold approximately 200 million units.


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The fourth generation of the iPod, released on the nineteenth of July 2004, was the first to use the click wheel which originally featured on the iPod Mini. Later that year a new version was launched with a colour screen and picture viewing capability. At the time Steve Jobs stated that “the iPod has become a cultural phenomenon.”


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This generation is considered by many to be the best of all iPods because of its sleek, modern look and its smooth, curved feel. A New York Times review of the first colour-screened iPod compared it to rival devices by concluding that whilst some alternatives would be cheaper, “you won’t find anything as beautiful, as polished or as simple to master.”


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Later models were slimmer and more squared off in appearance. They featured a screen larger than the two inch version used in previous generations to take advantage of video playback functionality. The latest (‘Classic’ generation six) features a black or silver anodised aluminium front which means the device is not as smooth to touch and has lost its iconic white face.

Its popularity has declined in recent years due to the rise of the iPhone and other smartphones which include music playback functionality. However the iPod still remains a widely respected and loved product which is recognised for its key role in developing the mp3 player industry.

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