Q & A

Question:
Is there a second generation 5GB model, or are all 5GB iPods first generation?

Answer:
To be perfectly honest all 5GB iPods are first generation iPods. BUT many collectors consider all 5GB iPods produced after week 11 2002 not to be true first generation iPods. Why? When Apple announced a 10GB iPod in March 20, 2002, both models were regarded as a next generation of iPod by the collecting community. Not by Apple though. So when Apple introduces the touch wheel iPod in July as second generation iPod, the March iPods are named generation 1.5 although the only thing to differ from the first generation is the box and the bigger harddrive in the 10GB model. So if you want to own a true first generation iPod, from a time when the only iPod in the world was a 5GB Mac only ultra-portable MP3 music player, you should try to get one before week 11 2002.
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Question:
Were there ever a solid state touch wheel 5GB model?

Answer:
No, the 5GB model was always exactly the same through generation 1, generation 1.5 and generation 2. The 10 GB model was released with both scroll wheel and touch wheel, and the 20GB model was shipped with only touch wheel.
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Question:
Is it important for the serial number to match on both the iPod and the box?

Answer:
Yes, to most collectors this is very important. A person who just want to have an original box with an original iPod would probably not mind at all, but most collectors want the box to match the iPod and all accessories.
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Question:
Is it possible to see when an iPod was produced by the factory?

Answer:
iPod serial numbers should be 11 characters. First two characters are always the plant where the iPod was made. Third character is production year. Following two characters is manufacturing week. The other 6 characters tells us the production number of that week. Serial number U22043K8LG6 tells us it’s a first generation 5GB iPod, produced as unit number 4122 in week 4 2002 by Inventec in Taiwan. I always look at the first 5 characters¬†U22043K8LG6.¬†U2 – Taiwan, 2 – 2002, 04 – week 4.
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Question:
I have a first generation iPod with a serial number that says it was produced in 2004. Could that be right?

Answer:
Yes and no. Your iPod is probably a refurbished iPod or an iPod produced by Apple to meet replacement or service needs. If the first two characters in the serial number is GQ, then it is a refurbished iPod. “Refurbs” is not interesting as a collectors item.
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Question:
Why is refurbished iPods so bad? My first generation looks just like new. It must be worth plenty?

Answer:
No, refurbs is not something a collector want in a collection. A refurbished iPod is an iPod that has been returned to Apple for some reason. It’s checked and repaired and sold again as a “used” but functional product. Let me put it like this. Is an old model 1923 T-Ford still a T-Ford if made of parts fabricated 2012? It is exactly the same with a refurbished iPod. It’s an old iPod, but everything could be new inside and out. I have seen 5GB first generation iPods with serials that says it was fabricated early 2006 which is possible but by many will never be regarded as a true 1st generation iPod. And if you are a collector, my recommendation is to stay away from iPods with “GQ” as production plant in their serial number.
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Question:
Did Apple invent the iconic scroll wheel on the first iPod?

Answer:
No, I don’t think so. Well, who did then?

Some people say it was a company called Synaptics that actually designed the click wheel based on Apples design requirements. I do not know anything about that, but I know for a fact that the danish design company Bang & Olufsen released a DECT phone called BeoCom 6000 in 1998 with exactly the same physical scroll wheel. The wheel works in the same way, accelerates through long lists when rotating fast, incredibly exact when rotating slow and even makes an electronic clicking sound when rotating to make the user register the speed of the “movement”. And this was four years before the iPod was introduced and way before Apple even thought of designing a MP3 music player.

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