Apple usually releases new versions of its iPod models every year, so it can get quite confusing trying to keep track of the latest changes. While the 5th generation and 6th generation iPods are easy to tell apart due to their appearance, other differences between them are not so obvious; the main ones are functional, not aesthetic. The 5th generation iPod was discontinued in 2007, and the 6th generation is known simply as the iPod classic.
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The 5th generation iPod was available in either black or white, and the front panel was made of polycarbonate plastic. The 6th generation iPod adopted an anodised aluminium front panel, and is available in black or silver.
The 5th Generation iPod was originally available in 30 GB and 60 GB versions, but the 60 GB model was replaced with an 80 GB version. (ref 3) At the time of writing, the 6th Generation iPod classic is only available with a 160 GB capacity, although discontinued 80 GB and 120 GB versions were previously available. (ref 1 & 2)
Both iPod generations have the same front surface dimensions: 4.1 inches high and 2.4 inches wide. The 6th generation models are thinner, measuring 0.41 of an inch deep, while the 30GB 5th generation model was 0.43 of an inch deep, and the 60GB and 80GB models were 0.55 of an inch deep.
The 30GB 5th generation iPod, at 136gr, weighed less than the 60GB and 80GB 5th generation models, both 1559gr. The 6th generation iPod Classic is also slighly heavier, weighing 1389gr.
Battery life of the 6th generation iPod is significantly better than the 5th generation models. Its battery lasts 36 hours when listening to music, and six hours when watching videos. The battery in the 30GB model offered only 14 hours of music playback and two hours of video playback, while the 60GB and 80GB versions offered 20 hours of music playback and three hours of video playback.
The 6th generation iPod classic uses an updated version of the iPod software, offering Apple's Cover Flow music browsing method, among other minor performance updates.
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