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Apple iPod is 9 years old

Apple's iPod has celebrated its 9th birthday. We take a misty-eyed look back at the white wonder's story so far...

The iPod is 9! Apple's revolutionary MP3 player celebrated its birthday over the weekend -- ironically, the same weekend the final ever Sony Walkman was produced.

It's not overstating the case to say the iPod revolutionised music, and possibly even opened our minds to the potential of digital technology as a whole. It wasn't the first MP3 player, but the public had yet to get its collective noggin around the new-fangled digital technology. The iPod, crucially, came with iTunes, making digital music easier than falling off a log.

Innovations like the iPod and the digital camera put the power of our computers in our pockets, and arguably did more than any other gadget to make understanding of the Internet, smart phones, and other technological marvels a mainstream thing rather than a geeky niche.

To celebrate the MP3 milestone, let's take a stroll through the history of the iPod. The first iPod had a mechanical scroll wheel and 5GB or 10GB of storage for just under £300. The second generation of the classic player introduced a 20GB model and the touch-sensitive scroll wheel. The third generation brought us the 30-pin dock connector and the fourth was the first with the click wheel. A colour screen appeared on the iPod photo in 2004, and video debuted on the fifth-gen model in 2005. By now, £300 bagged you 60GB of storage.

In 2004, the first spin-off was born: the iPod mini was a colourful 4GB baby player, followed one year later by the chewing gum-sized iPod shuffle. The mini was replaced by the nano in 2005, which has yo-yo-ed between fat and thin ever since and even gained a video camera in its fifth generation.

Apple's music-making skills were instrumental in creating the iPhone in January 2007, and the similar but phone-less iPod touch took a bow late the same year.

Apple refreshed the iPod line-up in September this year. The delights currently offered in the Apple Store include the sixth-gen nano, a clip-on version dominated by iPhone-like icons on its home screen that makes a rather smart watch. The fourth-gen touch draws on the iPhone 4's Retina Display screen, camera, and FaceTime video calling. The fourth shuffle, meanwhile, brings back buttons after the previous version switched to ker-razy headphone controls.

The success of the iPod also made a megastar of Apple chief Steve Jobs, and made Apple the corporate monolith it is today. It's a company that divides opinion like few others, but there's no doubting that the device to which it owes its fortunes is a nifty little bit of kit.

Share your iPod memories in the comments -- which was your first? Which was your favourite? How did you most spectacularly lose, destroy or otherwise banjax yours? Or just bang on about how much you hate Apple, it's all the same to us.