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What is the difference between the "original" iPod classic and the Enhanced 5th Generation iPod?
Please note that all iPods mentioned in this Q&A have been discontinued. The "original" iPod classic was replaced by the second generation iPod classic on September 9, 2008.
At first glance, the "enhanced" Fifth Generation and iPod classic models look quite similar as both share a 2.5" color LCD display with an LED backlight (320x240, 163 ppi), but the iPod classic models use slightly thinner cases with either a silver or black anodized aluminum front and a chromed stainless steel back, compared to white or black polycarbonate fronts on the previous models. Most notably, perhaps, the iPod classic models are the first "full size" iPod models to not be offered in white.
The iPod 5th Gen Enhanced models have 30 GB or 80 GB hard drives, whereas the iPod classic models have 80 GB or 160 GB hard drives for the same price -- US$249 for the entry-level model and US$349 for the higher-end model. The iPod classic models also offer substantially improved battery life compared to their predecessors -- 30 hours of music and 5 hours of video for the 80 GB model and 40 hours of music and 7 hours of video for the 160 GB model -- compared to 14 hours of music and 3.5 hours of video for the previous 80 GB model. Unfortunately, the iPod classic models no longer support video out directly from the headphone jack, but only from the dock connector using a compatible Apple cable or dock or another accessory with an "Apple Authentication" chip.
The software used by the iPod classic -- derived from the version of OS X introduced with the iPhone -- is substantially improved as well, with "MacOS X Leopard" inspired interface enhancements -- including a Cover Flow option for selecting albums. Three games are bundled as well -- iQuiz, Klondike, and Vortex.
For your convenience, the primary differences between versions are summarized below:
|5th Gen (Enhanced)||classic|
|Hard Drive Size:||30 GB, 80 GB||80 GB, 160 GB|
|Song Capacity:||7500, 20,000 Songs||20,000, 40,000 Songs|
|Battery Life (Music):||14 Hours, 20 Hours||30 Hours, 40 Hours|
|Battery Life (Video):||3.5 Hours, 6.5 Hours||5 Hours, 7 Hours|
|Headphone Video Out:||Yes||No†|
|Color:||White, Black||Silver, Black|
|Material:||Polycarbonate, Steel||Aluminum, Steel|
|Price (As Introduced):||US$249, US$349||US$249, US$349|
† The iPod classic models support video out but only from the dock connector using a compatible Apple cable or dock or another accessory with an "Apple Authentication" chip.