Fifteen years ago, Apple head-honcho Steve Jobs stood on a stage and introduced the device that would set in motion the digital music age: the iPod.
It took a couple of years to catch on. Original cost as $399 and compatible with Mac-only. There’s been imitators (Zune) but the iPod eventually became The MP3 Player for music lovers. Consider Oct. 23, 2001 the birth date of iPod.
“In this whole new digital music revolution, there is no market leader,” Steve Jobs told the audience. “There are small companies, like Creative and SONICblue, and then there’s some large companies like Sony that haven’t had a hit yet. They haven’t found the recipe. No one has really found the recipe yet for digital music. And we think not only can we find the recipe, but the Apple brand is going to be fantastic, because people trust the Apple brand to get their great digital electronics from.”
Initially many of us weren’t in any rush to throw down $400 for a 5GB music player, especially if you had to have a Mac. And what about the crystal clear sound of compact discs that you spent a bundle buying over the years updating your music collection from vinyl and cassette?
The possibilities opened up when Apple added Windows compatibility. In 2003, Apple launched the all-important iTunes Music Store; instead of users having to rip all their discs, now you could just buy a single song or album and synch to your iPod.
Two years after the iPod debut, Apple’s launched it’s colorful “silhouettes” advertising. Over the next several years, the sillhouette billboards and TV ads would become some of the decade’s most iconic pieces of marketing.
2004 also saw the introduction of the iPod mini, a much smaller version to the regular iPod. Then came the iPod Shuffle and the iPod Nano, which was billed as being the same width of a pencil. Ads for the Nano featured Feist’s “1234.”
Next, the iPod Touch, which had the look of the just-released iPhone (2007) but without the phone.
The original iPod Classic design was killed off in 2014. The Touch is currently in its fifth-generation.