At the end of 2003, the first microphone accessories evolved the iPod from a digital music player into a digital audio recorder. Starting in late 2005, the iPod became even more powerful.
All of the microphones and adapters released from 2003 to 2005 were labeled for voice recording only, warning users that the iPod was only capable of making low-quality monaural recordings of conversations or lectures, and not suitable for recording and playing back music. These accessories sold for $25-$40, and attached to the tops of iPods; some included microphones, while others let you attach your own. In any case, files saved on the iPod’s hard disk could be listened to on the iPod or transferred to iTunes.
Then Apple released the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano, removing the old top-mounting accessory port found on prior models. None of the old microphones would work with these iPods. But Apple made up for that by radically improving the fifth-generation iPod’s recording functionality. Now iPods can record in stereo at CD quality, or at a lower quality level that requires less storage space. New stereo microphones and other recording tools will be released in 2006 to take advantage of these features. Reviews of all of the iPod’s microphone accessories are available here.