In 2001, Apple CEO Steve Jobs demanded — not asked — that Tony Fadell join the company to create a groundbreaking new device, but the man who would go on to become known as “The Father of the iPod” initially balked at the idea. “I was like, ‘whoa whoa,'” Fadell tells CNET’s Roger Cheng during a Zoom interview to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the iPod on Oct. 23. “Back then to go to Apple you had to be pretty nuts.”
Of course, Fadell eventually agreed and led the team that built one of the most significant products in Apple’s history…
All Fadell knew was that he had to get this thing out before Christmas 2001. That’s a tall order, considering it takes about 18 months to develop a new smartphone today. Fadell said he really got started in May — with a launch just five months later.
“It was nonstop, seven days a week,” he said.
It’s noteworthy that Fadell, and not famed Apple designer Jony Ive, came up with the design of the iPod, going back to that original pitch to Jobs. Ive was behind the iMac and MacBook redesigns. Because the next wave of Macs would embrace white and clear plastic, Fadell used the same design language and applied it to the iPod.
MacDailyNews Take: 20 years? How time flies!
What’s really been great for us is the iPod has been a chance to apply Apple’s incredibly innovative engineering in an area where we don’t have a 5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling. And look at what’s happened. That same innovation, that same engineering, that same talent applied where we don’t run up against the fact that Microsoft got this monopoly, and boom! We have 75% market share. – Steve Jobs, September 2005
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