By January 2004 it was clear the iPod family had many more children on the way, the first of which being the iPod mini. The first iPod family member with a 1-inch hard drive, the 1,000 song 3.6 x 2.0 x 0.5-inch mini carried with it 4GB of space, yet asked $249¡ªonly $50 less than its parentage. Critics once again panned, but the mini bounced back anyhow, possibly due in part to its peacockish colors and ornate all-aluminum exterior. Or perhaps it had something to do with its click wheel¡ªthe final blend of tactile/mechanical and solid-state control for the iPod family.
The fourth generation monochrome iPod
The first full-size iPod with a click-wheel, the fourth generation monochrome was prideful in its resplendent minimal glory and improved power-saving features when introduced in July of 2004 at $299 for 20GB, and at $399 for 40GB. Perhaps among the most long running and successful of the iPod family, even the fourth generation’s good breeding could not save it from passing on in the wake of the iPod color in the fateful summer of 2005.
The iPod photo
When the iPod photo was first introduced to the family in October of 2004 along with the U2 iPod, there was more than a slight amount of confusion. Though the photo was the first iPod to feature a 60GB drive (and among the only of its time, as well), it was not granted the video viewing capabilities that were so longed for, but merely a color screen and limited support for imaging¡ªand not without some fattening up to 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.75-inches. The $499 40GB photo was a full $100 more than its monochrome kin, while the 60GB photo was an astounding $599. To combat this price differential, a 30GB photo was reared in place of the 40GB in February 2005, which went for $350, but did not ship with a dock. The photo would eventually lose its 30GB version as well when its featureset was incorporated into the primary iPod branch of the family tree.
The HP iPod
The HP iPod’s date of birth is to this day debatable, but HP announced it was pregnant with the half-sibling sired by Apple in January 2004 at CES. The carriage went long, however, and HP didn’t actually give birth until August 2004. But by then it was quadruplets: the HP iPod photo appeared in April 2005, the HP iPod mini in June, and the HP iPod shuffle in July. But HP sought to differentiate its lineage. After somehow befriending Sean “Diddy” Combs, HP went along with “Printable Tattoos,” early music-themed skins which wound up somewhat disastrous to the augmented family as they stuck heavily to the iPod’s body and left a sticky residue. But the Apple side of the family never seemed too displeased with the coming together¡ªby the time of their unpropitious demise the HP iPod children accounted for 7% of the iPod family.
The Second Generation iPod Mini
At long last and with a heavy heart we commit thee, iPod mini, to your family’s plot. The even more flamboyant aluminum-clad lovechild of its forbears, the second generation mini lost its golden gilding in favor of a more vibrant range of colors, and even came as large as 6GB. Taken from us so young while, the mini is survived by its younger siblings the shuffle and nano, and elder sibling the fourth generation iPod color.
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