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Where did the time go? The iPod has just marked a significant birthday – it was launched by Steve Jobs at Apple’s campus on October 23, 2001, fifteen years ago.
The iconic device was arguably the first to introduce portable media players to the masses, and certainly the device the catapulted Apple from a more niche, high-end computer company to the most valuable technology firm in the world.
It’s been a pretty wild ride – the iPod arrived just eight and a half months after iTunes launched on the Mac. Its first generation was advertised with the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket,” thanks to its initial capacity of 5GB. It featured a mechanical scroll wheel, before the click wheel was introduced, adopted from the iPod Mini in 2004.
Watch Steve Jobs introduce the iPod for the first time
Later, this device was given the suffix ‘Classic’ following the introduction of the Shuffle, Touch and Nano (the current line of iPods,) which focused on more compact or visual solutions rather than high storage levels. This sixth generation iPod Classic had a capacity of up to 160GB and was launched in 2007. It was the final model in the Classic line, and was discontinued in September 2014.
The iPod went through another significant change with the introduction of the Touch in 2007. This was the first device to utilize iOS – the operating system that was used to power the recently released iPhone. This opened up the device to far more than music; including a camera, access to the App Store, Wi-Fi capability and more. This has been the most popular iPod model, selling well over 100 million units. It’s currently on its sixth generation.
Despite still maintaining a significant presence in Apple’s product line, the focus has shifted towards iPhones as Apple’s flagship device. These smartphones continue the groundbreaking work of the iPod, driving new features far beyond music. However, audio continues to be a key focus for Apple, and its streaming solution Apple Music was launched in June 2015.
To date, around 350 million iPods have been sold.
To celebrate the birth of this technological breakthrough, let’s reminisce with a look back at those memorable first commercials. Starting with the very first ad…
But not forgetting, the far more iconic dancing silhouettes…