Apple iPod 5th Generation / iPod Video

Apple iPod 5th Generation / iPod Video
On October 12, 2005 Apple launched the fifth generation iPod at the “One more thing…” event. This iPod is often called the iPod video or the video iPod, while Apple documentation refers to it as the Fifth Generation iPod or iPod with video (compare the fourth generation iPod with color display and the third generation iPod with dock connector).

Fifth generation iPods are available in 30 GB and 60 GB capacity models and are priced the same as the previous generation at $299 and $399 USD, respectively. They also feature the ability to play MPEG-4 and H.264 video with resolutions of up to 480 x 480 (maximum macroblock (16×16 pixel) count of 900) and 320 x 240 (maximum macroblock (16×16 pixel) count of 300), respectively (videos purchased from the iTunes Music Store are limited to 320 x 240). Some users have reported the ability to play widescreen resolutions up to 640×360 using MPEG-4 and 400×192 using H.264 (total macroblock count falls within the stated maximums).

Fifth generation models have a 65,536 color (16-bit) screen, with a 320 x 240 QVGA transflective TFT display, and are able to display video on an external TV via the AV cable accessory, which plugs into the headphone minijack and splits into composite video and audio output connectors with RCA jacks. They can also display video on an external TV using the iPod AV or S-video cables with the iPod Universal Dock, however video watched on a television is often of poor quality, because videos compressed for the iPod are usually encoded at 480×480 or less. This resolution is similar to that of conventional VHS recordings (not taking into consideration original compression or quality of the source video). As mentioned, some users have been able to utilize higher-resolution video, yielding improved playback quality.

The dimensions are 103.5 x 61.8 x 11.0 mm for the 30GB version, and 103.5 x 61.8 x 14.0 mm for the 60GB version. The screen size is now 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) diagonally, 0.5 inches (12.7 mm) larger than the previous iPod. It is also 30% thinner than the previous full-size iPod.

The reported battery life for the 30 GB is 14 hours and for the 60 GB is around 20 hours. Watching movies reduces that amount to 2 and 3 hours respectively.

The click wheel design is the same as the previous generation, but is marginally smaller (1.5″ diameter) than before. The new click wheel is completely flat, unlike older models where the center button is slightly rounded and raised. Apple stopped producing iPods with the click wheels used in the fourth-generation iPod and iPod mini from their previous supplier, Synaptics, Inc. of San Jose, CA, and now use an in-house solution.

The headphone jack has been moved from the center of the top to the right of the top, while the hold switch has been moved to the left side of the top. Gone from the fifth-generation iPod is the remote control accessory port, previously found beside the headphone port, meaning that accessories which use the remote control port will not work with fifth-generation iPods.

Like the iPod nano, the fifth-generation iPod comes in two colors, white and black, and it features the World Clock, Stopwatch, and Screen Lock applications. In addition, the earphone plug is smaller.

The fifth generation iPod also comes with a thin slip case, most likely in response to many complaints concerning the iPod nano’s easily-scratched surface. Apple has also discontinued the inclusion of an AC adapter and FireWire cable. One must purchase these items separately in order to charge the iPod from a household outlet. The fifth generation iPod no longer supports file transfers via FireWire, but still supports charging using FireWire. This is most likely due to the increased popularity of Hi-Speed USB 2.0 in the consumer market.

Other notable improvements include the reduction of minor audio defects, such as hard-drive noise being heard through the headphone jack, as well as an increase in recording quality to 44.1 kHz stereo, 22.05 kHz mono. A third-party add-on will still be required in order to record audio on the iPod, as it was in previous generations.