Happy 10th Birthday, Apple iPod!

Apple’s iPod has turned or will turn 10 years old, depending on which date you choose: the October 23rd introduction date or the November 10th availability date. Happy Birthday, iPod! In the first ten years, Apple has sold over 300 million iPods.

Here’s Apple’s original iPod press release verbatim:

Apple Presents iPod

Ultra-Portable MP3 Music Player Puts 1,000 Songs in Your Pocket

CUPERTINO, California—October 23, 2001—Apple® today introduced iPod™, a breakthrough MP3 music player that packs up to 1,000 CD-quality songs into an ultra-portable, 6.5 ounce design that fits in your pocket. iPod combines a major advance in portable music device design with Apple’s legendary ease of use and Auto-Sync, which automatically downloads all your iTunes™ songs and playlists into your iPod, and keeps them up to date whenever you plug your iPod into your Mac®.

“With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.”

Next Generation Player
iPod represents the next generation of portable music players that store music on an internal hard drive, yet are only 20 percent of the volume of today’s hard drive-based players. iPod stores up to 1,000 CD-quality songs on its super-thin 5 GB hard drive, and features up to 20 minutes of shock protection for nonstop playback when running, biking or other activities.

iPod’s built-in FireWire® port lets you download an entire CD into iPod in under 10 seconds and 1,000 songs in less than 10 minutes—30 times faster than USB-based players.

iPod plays up to 10 hours of continuous music, powered by its rechargeable lithium polymer battery, and recharges automatically whenever iPod is connected to a Mac, using power supplied over the FireWire cable. Every iPod comes with a compact, FireWire-based power adapter for traveling. iPod’s high-capacity 5GB hard drive doubles as a portable FireWire hard drive for storing presentations, large documents, graphic images and digital movies.

iPod plays music in the popular MP3, MP3 VBR (variable bit rate), AIFF and WAV formats and can support MP3 bit rates up to 320-Kbps. Its upgradable firmware enables support of future audio formats. For CD-quality sound, iPod is equipped with a high-output 60-mW amplifier that delivers 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response for deep bass and crystal-clear highs. iPod’s earbud-style headphones are built with neodymium magnets for enhanced frequency response and high-fidelity sound.

iPod also features a 160-by-128-pixel high-resolution display, with a white LED backlight to give clear visibility in daylight as well as low-light conditions.

Legendary Ease of Use
Apple has applied its legendary expertise in human interface engineering to make iPod the easiest to use digital device ever. Simply rotate iPod’s unique scroll-wheel with your thumb or finger to quickly access your entire music collection by playlists, artists or songs. The scroll-wheel makes it possible to hold and operate iPod with just one hand and features automatic acceleration when scrolling through long lists so you can find your music in seconds. iPod also features customizable settings such as shuffle, repeat, startup volume, sleep timer and menus in multiple languages including English, French, German and Japanese. iPod can display song data in any of these languages, enabling users to mix and match songs from all over the world.

Auto-Sync
iPod’s revolutionary Auto-Sync feature makes it easy to get your entire music collection into iPod and update it whenever you connect iPod to your Mac. Simply plug your new iPod into your Mac with the supplied FireWire cable, and all of your iTunes songs and playlists are automatically downloaded into iPod at blazing FireWire speed. Then just unplug and go. Whenever you plug iPod back into your Mac it will be automatically updated with your latest iTunes songs and playlists, usually in seconds. There has never been a faster and easier way to always have your up-to-the-minute music and playlists with you wherever you go.

Pricing & Availability
iPod will be available beginning on Saturday, November 10, for a suggested retail price of $399 (US) from The Apple Store® (http://www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. An iTunes 2 CD, earbud-style headphones, FireWire cable, and FireWire-based power adapter are all included. iPod requires iTunes 2.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

22 Comments

  1. Still have the original iPod. It still works using the original battery and the headphone jack is partially crack. It was great when it first came, not even have enough music to fill it up. If I could find the part I fix up and still use it. Thanks Apple for ten great years

    1. Are you a Donald Fagen fan. “The Nightfly” is one of my all time favorite albums. Oh, and my wife still uses her four button iPod; works like a champ.

    2. Yeah, that headphone jack that doubled as an auxiliary connector was the weak point of the 1st and 2nd gen iPods. Does it still have the flap that covers the FireWire port?

      I liked the scroll wheel that actually turned.

    1. Actually, “iPod” is a product that is not defined by its name or its past. It can morph into just about anything in the future, as it has already. I think Steve Jobs envisioned this future, and carefully chose the name “iPod.”

      “iPad” is defined by its name as tablet computer. “Mac” is defined by its past as a desktop or laptop computer. “iPhone” is a smartphone. “Apple TV” is related to TVs. They can’t evolve to become something else.

      “iPod” started out as a digital music player, but Apple did not call it “iMusic,” or some other name that specifies form or function. The ability to play videos and games was added, and it became a “media player” Then, iPod could run apps and access the Internet, and it became a “handheld computer.” And it’s still an “iPod.”

      Going forward, I think the iPod line will evolve into “wearable” computers. These devices will be more powerful than the current iPhone 4S, but be the size of an iPod nano (or even shuffle). They will have no built-in screen, because the user can interact with it through voice, using the descendant of Siri. But the user can wear a flexible touch screen on their wrist or forearm, and carry other peripherals (such as data input device or camera), connected wirelessly to the tiny iPod. There can also be “sensor” peripherals that collect health-related data and send it to the iPod, which monitors and forwards it to a doctor, as needed. The Nike+iPod sensor kit is just a primitive first step in what is possible.

      So I predict “iPod” will become the computing brains of a wearable computer system. And iPod will evolve to become MORE important to Apple than iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

    1. My first reaction was “A music player? Meh” after they’d teased it as a revolutionary new device. Of course it was, but I had to use it to “get it”.

  2. Bought one right away. I still remember wandering around the city that first night with all my ripped music in my pocket. Everything felt different that night.

    Used it in my car long after my iPod touch and iPhones came into my life. Finally retired it a couple of years ago.

  3. Wasn’t sure where to post, but this seemed like the best place. Just watched the 60 Minutes interview with Walter Isaacson about Steve. Of course it told the story that we all know. But to actually hear his voice describing his life was special as it is probably the last recordings of him before he passed away. Tough yet honest. Especially regarding his biological father. I hope the tapes are released someday as a compendium to the book. Truly, what a difference one person can make.

  4. First iPod commercial, just great.

    Portable ups players that came before were junk, I don’t think there was one i did not buy, Rio, etc., etc. iPod changed it all.

  5. What, no link to MDN’s article at the time? (They were around back then, weren’t they?) It would be funny to go back and read the articles.

    I got my first iPod in May 2002. I’d got a contract programming job that required me to take a laptop back and forth to work. I wasn’t about to carry that and a briefcase, so that meant I had no way to bring my CD player and CDs. That turned out to be a bad thing, as this office had gag-inducing Muzak playing in all the work areas.

    So with excuse well-established, I bought my 10GB iPod. And suddenly I understood how this changed everything. My entire CD collection in a little device the size of a deck of cards. I used to try to guess what I’d be in the mood to listen to so that I’d bring the right CDs into work. Didn’t have to do that anymore.

    Everyone takes the iPod paradigm for music-listening for granted these days; it’s weird to remember how roundly it was dismissed when it was first introduced. It was years before I met someone else who owned one. These days, it’s getting hard to find someone who doesn’t.

    ——RM

  6. This tiny device helped rejuvenate Apple’s fortunes, expand its brand loyalty and paved the way for the iPhone. It may be playing second fiddle to the rest of the product lineup now, but its importance can’t be overstated.

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