iPod with Dock Connector iPod with Dock Connector

iPod 3rd Generation Explained

In the realm of portable music players, few devices have left as indelible a mark as the Apple iPod. Revolutionizing how we consume music on the go, each iteration of the iPod series brought with it innovations that reshaped the landscape of digital music. Among these milestones stands the Apple iPod 3rd Generation, affectionately known as the iPod with Dock Connector, which made its debut in 2003.

In April 2003, Apple unveiled its third generation of iPods, signaling a leap forward in both design and functionality. With storage capacities allowing for up to 7,500 songs, encased in a sleek body lighter and thinner than two CDs, the iPod 3rd Generation set a new standard for portable music players. This iteration introduced the innovative Dock Connector, paving the way for seamless connectivity and charging.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO at the time, proudly proclaimed the iPod’s superiority over its competitors, touting features like the customizable main menu, “On-The-Go” playlist creation, and the patent-pending Auto-Sync. The inclusion of the Auto-Sync feature, automatically updating the iPod’s music library when connected to a computer, streamlined the user experience like never before.

Building upon the success of its predecessors, the iPod 3rd Generation featured a solid-state navigation wheel and touch buttons, offering enhanced sensitivity and precision. Backlit buttons facilitate effortless operation in any lighting condition, catering to users’ convenience whether at the gym, in the car, or on the go.

iPod 3rd Generation
Source: ebay.com – iPod 3rd Generation

Not content with merely playing MP3 files, the iPod embraced the industry-standard AAC audio format, delivering higher-quality sound within the same disk space. This expanded compatibility ensured a richer listening experience for users, further solidifying the iPod’s dominance in the market.

Apple continued to refine the iPod lineup, responding to consumer demands by refreshing the product range. In September 2003, the 15 GB model made way for a 20 GB variant, while the 30 GB model received a substantial boost to 40 GB, all without altering the price points. These updates underscored Apple’s commitment to providing cutting-edge technology to its user base.

Despite its remarkable success, the reign of the iPod with Dock Connector was relatively short-lived. In July 2004, Apple decided to discontinue this iteration, marking the end of an era in the iPod’s evolution.

Today, as we commemorate 20 years since the launch of the iPod 3rd Generation, its significance in the annals of technology cannot be overstated. For an entire generation, the iPod served as a gateway to a world of limitless musical exploration, igniting a passion for portable entertainment that continues to shape our cultural landscape.

The Apple iPod 3rd Generation stands as a timeless emblem of innovation and ingenuity, encapsulating the spirit of technological advancement that defines Apple’s ethos. From its groundbreaking features to its sleek design, this iconic device continues to hold a special place in the hearts of music lovers everywhere.

iPod 3rd Gen
Source: ebay.com – iPod 3rd Gen

iPod 3rd Generation Details

IntroducedApril 28, 2003 (10 GB / 15 GB / 30 GB)
September 8, 2003 (20 GB / 40 GB)
DiscontinuedSeptember 8, 2003 (10 GB / 15 GB / 30 GB)
January 6, 2004 (20 GB)
July 19, 2004 (40 GB)
Model NumberA1040
Order NumberM8976LL/A (10 GB)
M8946LL/A (15 GB)
M9460LL/A (15 GB)
M9244LL/A (20 GB)
M8948LL/A (30 GB)
M9245LL/A (40 GB)
Original Price$299 (10 GB)
$399 (15 GB & 20 GB)
$499 (30 GB & 40 GB)
Weight5.6 oz. – 158 Grams (10/15 and 20 GB)
6.2 oz. – 175 Grams (30 and 40 GB)
Dimensions4.1” H x 2.4” W x 0.62” – 0.73″ D
10.41 cm H x 6.09 cm W x 1.57 – 1.85 cm D

iPod with Dock Connector Tech Specs


ProcessorPortalPlayer PP5002 (Dual ARM 7TDMI)
Processor Speed90 MHz
Number of Cores1
Cache8 KB per processor


Storage10 GB (2000 Songs)
15 GB (3000 Songs)
20 GB (4000 Songs)
30 GB (6000 Songs)
40 GB (8000 Songs)


Built-in Display2″ white LED backlit LCD Display
Resolutions160 x 128 pixels


Audio FormatsAAC
Apple Lossless
Photo FormatsNone
Video FormatsNone


Ports1 – 30-pin Dock Connector
1 – 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack


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Maximum OS2.3
iTunesiTunes 4.0 or later
System RequirementsMac OS X 10.1.5 or later
Windows Me
Windows 2000
Windows XP Home or Professional


AccessoriesRemote control
Dock & Carrying case*
Earbud headphones
AC adapter
Dock Connector to FireWire cable
4-pin to 6-pin FireWire adapter
*(except M9460LL/A and M8976LL/A)


BatteryBuilt-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Battery Capacity630 mAh
Battery Life8 hours
Charge TimeUp to 3 hours
1 hour to 80% capacity
Power6-pin FireWire or Power Adapter

Further Reading and References

Disclaimer: The data presented in this article is under continuous development and has been manually collected from various sources based on their availability. The author of this article may revise this dataset as additional research is conducted and reviewed. Please note that the information is provided “as is” and “as available” without express or implied warranties. The author cannot be held responsible for any omissions, inaccuracies, or errors in the published information. Any warranties relating to this information are hereby disclaimed.

Last updated: February 17, 2024