A Biography of the iPod Mini

A Biography of the iPod Mini

Pink Floyd tribute band, Pinked Floyd at the Phoenix Theatre in Castleford - April 2019

Source: Flickr

Yes, the ipod mini said its goodbye to the technology market last September 7, 2005.
It seems only proper to pay our respects to this whimsical gadget that once put a smile on our face. When the iPod mini was released on February 20, 2004, many were delighted. Being the smaller version of Apple Computer’s iPod first generation portable audio player, it’s variety in color (though still somewhat limited to five colors: silver, gold, pink, blue, and green) appealed to a much broader market. The ipod mini operated with both Macintosh and Windows PCs.

The iPod mini’s feature was the click wheel, where four buttons were located above the wheel. To use one of the buttons, a user had to push the wheel edge inward over one of the labels. The click wheel is now used in the fourth and fifth generation iPods as well as in the iPod nano. Above the wheel was the monochrome display that gave the menus or information of the currently selected track. The new generation of ipods now has a colored screen display.

The iPod mini made use of the ultra-thin Compact Flash Microdrive hard drives. The first-generation mini models only had to content itself to a 4GB hard drive. The second-generation mini models were then available in 4GB and 6GB memory size. The iPod mini 4 GB is capable of storing 1,000 songs while the iPod mini 6GB stored 1, 500 songs.

Later the drive size was laser engraved on the case to distinguish between the two minis. Near the end of the iPod mini’s life, Apple laser etched two lines of 32 characters on top of the reverse side on the mini free of charge. Such a feature would originally cost more money. However, Apple seemed sentimental enough and the gesture was a sign of respect for the mini’s impeding demise.

The battery life of its first generation iPod mini was 8 hours that led to some argument on its short duration. This problem was solved with the second-generation models that claimed a battery life of 18 hours.

Unfortunately, the 2nd generation had no FireWire cable or an AC power adapter, a compromise made by Apple to reduce the retail prices of the new iPod minis. The iPod mini also had a dock connector provided on the bottom for a connection to the computer (Hi-Speed USB or FireWire). The battery was charged during its connection. On the top it was a headphone jack, a hold switch, and remote port for other accessories.

Like the larger iPod, the iPod mini supported a host of file formats like MP3, WAV, AIFF and MP4. It maintained it’s flawless integration with the iTunes Music Store and the files being downloaded there. Software-wise, the iPod mini was as reliable as the original iPod units.

The appeal of the iPod mini is it’s compact and colorful design. And the accessories that come with it are there to enhance the iPod mini’s sound quality and functions. It is true that some of the accessories are expensive but aren’t all the iPod gadgets expensive too?

Besides if there was something good to be said about the iPod mini, it’s the option it gave the consumers when getting a digital audio player. The Ipod mini competed directly with players like Creative’s Zen Micro and the Digital Networks Rio Carbon. The smaller display was one line shorter than the previous models, thus limiting its on-screen track information display to title and artist only, taking the album information off.

The original price for the first generation iPod mini was around $249 for the 4GB memory size. The second-generation lowered the price to $199 and kept the 4GB model. An increased-capacity 6GB mini model sold for $249.

As the Ipod family began to expand, the Ipod mini was laid to rest when Apple launched the introduction of the iPod nano. The iPod mini was no more and stopped its production. Though it seems the iPod mini only stayed for a while, its influence as the pioneer of the click wheel will always be remembered.

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