If the Apple iPod were a person, it would officially be old enough to get a driver’s license today. On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs announced his company’s latest feat in technology, and although now it seems very small-scale, what we didn’t know then was that this device would lead to many more things that were just out of reach before.
After tasking Jon Rubenstein, one of Apple’s top hardware executives, with creating a better MP3 player than any that were currently on the market, Jobs received excuse after excuse as to why it just couldn’t work. Either the battery would be horrible, the device would be too bulky, or there wouldn’t be enough memory to make it competitive on the market. Just as Rubenstein had given up hope, he visited Toshiba, one of Apple’s hard drive suppliers, where he came across a 1.8-inch hard drive prototype, and the dream of Apple’s handheld MP3 player was born.
Introducing the iPod to the masses
We’ve all heard that the greatest inventions come at the perfect time. This wasn’t exactly the case for the Apple iPod. When Steve Jobs took the stage to announce the device to the world in October 2001, it was just a few weeks after the 9/11 terrorism attack in New York, and he was told people just weren’t prepared for it yet. He did it anyway.
The device could hold up to 1,000 songs with its 500GB capacity, and came with a $399 price tag. Jobs called it a “breakthrough digital device.”
“Music is a part of everyone’s life,” he said, “and because it’s a part of everyone’s life, it’s a very large target market all around the world. It knows no boundaries.”
The initial reaction from the public was not good. Many critics thought it was too expensive and didn’t do enough. “All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device?” said one non-fan on MacRumors forums. “The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.”
Since introducing us to the iPod sixteen years ago, Apple has worked hard at bringing the latest technology to our fingertips in the form of handhelds – and it all started on that stage in 2001. Although the device has since been discontinued by Apple, it lives on through the innovations that have brought us other gadgets like the iPhone. Check out the iPod through the years as it grew into the very vision Steve Jobs had from the beginning.