Apple announces iPod

Ten years ago Apple announced the iPod. Watching this video ten years later I am struck by how low key the event is and also what a risk it was for Apple to enter the portable digital music market. In some ways you could argue what a stupid decision for a computer company to make. Apple makes computers and laptops, not accessories for niche markets…

I am also struck by how different the Steve Jobs presentation style is to the ones he has done over the past few years. Ten years ago it looked like it was aimed at the people who would write about the product, sell the product and investors in the company. Whereas the presentations over recent years seemed to be aimed at the people who would actually use the product. Of course the slide presentation wasn’t done in Keynote… I believe it wasn’t even done in Powerpoint…

The iPod was really an interesting product for Apple to launch. At that time the only real player in the market was Sony with their portable CD Walkman players. Everything else on the market was very much on the fringe or niche. No one was really doing anything in that market that was really popular or mainstream. Also most of the players were very geeky, techy and ugly! Apple took a big risk when at the time their main consumer products were the iMac and the iBook.

The first iPod was, when you think about it, not really going to be a success. It was expensive, it was Mac only, it needed Firewire and there was no where to buy music, you needed to use iTunes to rip your CDS to mp3 and then transfer them across. No wonder at the time lots of people were sceptical and thought the iPod was doomed to fail.

I didn’t get one, partly as it was very expensive, I didn’t really use Macs at that point and I had a CD player!

I didn’t get an iPod until the fourth generation in 2004 (that’s me a late adopter) but wasn’t until iTunes added podcasting support in 2005 that my iPod became essential.

Of course the iPod has also changed opinions of Apple has a computer firm and many people I know when replacing their computer are replacing it with a Mac. The mainstreaming of Apple by consumers and the success of devices such as the iPhone and the iPad can be attributed to the humble iPod.

Virtually everyone I know, had an iPod and though with the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod touch, ten years later we are probably seeing the end of the traditional iPod it’s not surprising that the iPod classic is still for sale and has basically the same form factor as that first iPod released ten years ago.

So do you iPod? Which iPod was your first and what do you now do for digital music and podcasts?

Thanks to Tony Vincent for the video link.

2 Replies to “Apple announces iPod”

  1. I’d already had a hard drive based mp3 player for a short while when the first iPod was launched, and it had 20GB and worked well, so I completely dismissed the iPod as an expensive alternative for Mac-o-philes only – I was only really jealous of the fast connection as USB1 speeds were dire.

    I also remember the court case from Apple music which resurfaced with Apple (computers) moving into music which had been something they were prohibited from doing in the terms of the agreement to use the same brand name way back when they formed. I thought at the time it would doom the iPod to oblivion, especially because Apple itself was “small fry” at the time only barely recovering from the doldrums they’d been in for almost a decade.

    I also thought the hard limit of 1000 songs was crazy.

    I still have the 1st iPod I bought – a 4GB Mini. I meant to buy an 8GB model but got confused in the shop and was then embarrassed to take it back 🙂

    The real genius of the iTunes store was really the turning point for me though. That was when I started buying music electronically rather than on cd and ripping – a trend which lead to me now buying most music on my iPhone and very rarely any other way. I do wonder if Steve saw the potential of THAT market place (later including the apps store and the billons from that too) when launching the iPod or if it came later. I suspect he saw the road map right from the start.

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