How Steve Jobs' iPod developed
Sep 02, 2022
The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player, but it was the most successful
Decades ago, Apple introduced a seemingly simple digital music player that turned the company's fortunes upside down.
On October 23, 2001, Apple unveiled the first iPod, packing 5GB of music storage into a white box no larger than the size of a deck of cards.
Apple chose a low-key launch event on its campus in Cupertino to unveil its portable digital music player. No doubt the industry was a bit confused by Apple's decision to make an MP3 player. After all, the company is best known for making big, colorful computers, not slick little white boxes that fit in your pocket.
The Need for iPod
Behind every successful product, there is a problem waiting to be solved. In the case of the iPod, that problem came from the pitiful state of the young MP3 player market in the late 1990s.
Before the iPod came along in 2001, there was relatively little interest in MP3 music players. The products on the market at that time were bulky and were products that lacked user experience. Steve Jobs was outspoken about such products: 'they're all crap'.
The iPod developed
The first few years of the iPod were pretty slow. The device was expensive and could only play music. Apple added the ability to sync the iPod with Windows computers in the second generation models, and a year later they simplified the experience with the introduction of iTunes for Windows. In the blink of an eye, the iPod became the starter drug for Windows users hooked on Apple products.
The company shipped several different lines of iPods over its lifetime. the original white iPod, later renamed the iPod Classic, had seven different generations. The last iPod to survive was, of course, the iPod touch. when it launched in 2007, it helped make the iPhone a revolution. It was an iPhone without a phone, expanding the iOS user base.
However, earlier this year in May, Apple announced that it was discontinuing the last of the seventh generation iPod touch. in June, after sales were completed, Apple removed the iPod touch product page from its website in all regions of the world, marking the final end of the player.
A gloomy fall from grace, but not forgotten
The iPod was one of Apple's best products, and it's sad to see how the product line has languished. Apple knew the phone would swallow the iPod, so it made the iPhone, and they were right.
Apple Music has changed everything, too. It houses almost every song that's ever been released. Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod have arguably replaced the iPod, and Apple clearly loves all three product lines. The new HomePod mini comes in a delightful color that gives it an iPod feel. AirPods are ubiquitous and arguably more iconic than the old white earbuds.