Question about iPod 1st gen

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Hi everyone. There seems to be very little information online about the first generation iPod. I was wondering if there's an old apple store employee or something that can help me figure out a little history.

Ok, so here goes. I've been looking for a 1g iPod on ebay recently, and there seems to be at least two iterations of the first generation product (please correct me if I'm wrong):

1) Initial release, 5GB only, packaging just says iPod on it and contains a styrofoam cradle.

2) Second release, 10GB model added, packaging denotes iPod size (and so does the back of the iPod?) and contains a clear plastic cradle.

This may seem like a silly thing to wonder about, but I've been trying desperately to find out which iteration was manufactured for a longer period of time. It seems as though the second release may have sold better than the first, as I think there was a slight price decrease, but I don't know for sure. As far as the original iPod becoming a collectable, this is very relevant; the earliest/least manufactured model will likely become the rarest and most desirable. 'Course I could just be talking out of my fanboy @ss.

Anyone have some knowledge for me? Tell me anything you know about the first generation iPod.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    k squaredk squared Posts: 608member
    The 10 GB version was the second generation, I believe, which modified the wheel from mechanical operation to a track pad variety.

    What do you mean when you write styrofoam vs. clear plastic cradle?
  • Reply 2 of 4
    flinch13flinch13 Posts: 228member
    I'm pretty sure about this; there were, in fact, two iterations of the first generation iPod, the first being only 5 gb and the second having two models of 5gb and 10gb respectively. Both iterations had a moving, mechanical scroll wheel. The touch wheel came later.

    As for the styrofoam vs. plastic, the original packaging had a styrofoam insert in the innermost part of the cube on both sides for the iPod and accessories to sit in. The next iteration had one that was made out of clear plastic (

    As you may be able to see from the link above, there is an orange marker on the box that says "Mac 5GB". The original product did not have this on the box, as there was only one version of the iPod and it didn't need to be said (
  • Reply 3 of 4
    flinch13flinch13 Posts: 228member
    Also check out mactracker, it lists 5 and 10 gb models for the first gen... the second gen were 10 and 20 gb.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    gordygordy Posts: 970member
    Originally Posted by flinch13 View Post

    [...] Anyone have some knowledge for me? Tell me anything you know about the first generation iPod.

    The best source of Apple History is here.


    Announced in October 2001, the iPod represented Apple's first strike into the digital music market. The iPod was a hard disk based digital music player that was smaller than most portable tape decks. Hard disk MP3 players had been in the marketplace for several years, but Apple distinguished the iPod from these players in several ways. The iPod could compete with both flash-based and hard disk based players: By using a 1.8" hard disk, Apple was able to make the iPod smaller than most other hard disk MP3 players, small enough to go up against flash-based players, whose capacity was more than an order of magnitude less than the 5 GB available on the iPod. Apple believed the iPod represented the perfect compromise between size and storage capacity.

    In addition to its remarkable size and capacity, the iPod also had impressive industrial design, something which had been distinctly missing from other hard disk players in the marketplace. Apple took a simple hardware interface consisting of five buttons and a scroll wheel, and combined it with a simple user-interface based on OS X's column view. The iPod used FireWire as its I/O interface, as opposed to the then-prevalent USB 1.1. FireWire was much faster, and allowed for much faster transferring from Mac to iPod. The iPod was based on the PortalPlayer PP5002 System-on-a-chip, which itself had two embedded ARM7TDMI chips, operating at up to 90 MHz each. It had 32 MB of RAM as well, which was largely dedicated to "skip protection."

    Apple believed that it had a potent product, and priced it as such. The 5 GB iPod was priced at $399, a figure which was lambasted by the press as too high. If Apple had misjudged the market, it might have had another G4 Cube on its hands. As it turned out, Apple judged the marketplace very well, and the iPod, in its various incarnations, has sold better than anyone expected.

    In March 2002, Apple added a 10 GB model to its iPod lineup, for $499. Several months later, in July 2002, Apple replaced the mechanical scroll wheel with a solid-state touch wheel, added a $499 20 GB model, and dropped the prices of the 5 and 10 GB models to $299 and $399, respectively (The 5 GB iPod kept its mechanical scroll wheel). In Addition, Apple for the first time made iPods available to Windows users. All models were discontinued in April 2003, with the released of the iPod (Dock Connector).

    By the way, I'm one of those wierdos that keep all of my boxes, so, if you have specific questions about the 1G 5GB box let me know.
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