3rd Generation iPod

With the third generation (3G) iPod, Apple replaced the four buttons surrounding the scrollwheel with a row of round buttons between the scrollwheel and the display. The 3G iPod also introduced the 30-pin dock connector and no longer had separate Mac and PC versions.

3G iPod

The buttons are, left to right, previous track, menu, play/pause, and next track. The button at the center of the scrollwheel is select.

This was the first iPod to support USB 2.0, which really opened up the iPod’s market. Most Windows PCs do not have FireWire, but they had had USB 2.0 since it first arrived. Curiously, while the 3G iPod can sync via USB, it cannot charge using a USB cable. For that it needs a powered FireWire port or a separate FireWire charger.

This was the first iPod to require Mac OS X. Previous iPods work with Mac OS 9.2 and 9.2.2, so this marked the end of Classic Mac OS support.

The 3G iPod was available in more capacities than any other model: 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40 GB were all options over the life of this model. At its April 2003 release, you could buy a 10, 15, or 30 GB 3G iPod. 20 and 40 GB models were added in September 2003, and an improved 15 GB model replaced the original one in January 2004.

The 3G iPod was far more energy efficient than previous models and achieved 8 hours of battery life from a 630 mAh battery. This also made the 3G iPod thinner and lighter than earlier models. A full charge took 3 hours, but it could fast charge to 80% of capacity in just one hour.

Unlike competing devices that used MP3 file compression, the iPod with iTunes was designed to use the superior AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio format in addition to MP3. AAC generally provides superior sound quality over MP3 at the same bit rate, especially at 96 kbps and lower sampling rates, as well as more efficient encoding, which means smaller files.

Four buttons surrounded the scroll wheel: menu on the top, play/pause on the bottom, previous track on the left, and next track on the right. The button at the center of the scroll wheel is the select button.

Hardware Overview


  • Announced: 2003.04.28 at $299 (10 GB), $399 (15 GB), and 30 GB). 20 ($399) and 40 GB ($499) added 2003.09, replacing 15 and 30 GB models. Replaced by 4G iPod 2004.07.
  • Included accessories: earbuds, AC adapter, USB 2.0 and FireWire dock cable, 4-pin to 6-pin FireWire adapter, dock, remote control, iTunes 4 CD.
  • Code name: Q14
  • Model number: A1040
  • Product numbers:
    • M8976, 10 GB
    • M8946, 15 GB (April 2003)
    • M9460, 15 GB (January 2003)
    • M9244, 20 GB
    • M8948, 30 GB
    • M9245, 40 GB


  • Connectivity: 30-pin dock connector supports FireWire and USB 2.0
  • CPUs: 2 ARM 7TDMI-derived CPUs running at 90 MHz
  • Audio chip: Audio Codecs developed by Wolfson Microelectronics
  • Display: 2″ 160 x 128 pixel LED-backlit LCD.
  • Battery: 630 mAh lithium polymer
  • Charge time: 3 hours max.
  • Play time: 8 hours


  • Original OS: iPod OS 2.0
  • Maximum OS: iPod OS 2.3
  • iTunes Versions: iTunes 4.0 and later.
  • Mac OS Required: Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later, 10.2 or later recommended.
  • Windows Versions Supported: Me, 2000, and XP Home or Professional

Dimensions and Weight

  • Dimensions: 4.1″ x 2.4″ x 0.62″ (10-20 GB) or 0.73″ (30-40 GB)
  • Weight: 5.6 oz. (10-20 GB) or 6.2 oz. (30-40 GB)

Further Reading

Keywords: #3gipod #ipod3g

Short link: http://goo.gl/9bcY4w

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