iPod Turns 10, Benj Writes

October 23rd, 2011 by Benj Edwards

2001 iPod 1G

Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod to the world. Many people didn’t know what to think. It would take a little time for idea of the iPod to sink in, so to speak, but once it did, it did so in a very big way.

I first encountered the iPod shortly after its 2001 launch at a local Circuit City. Its simple white scroll wheel stared at me from across the room like a giant eye that had just opened for the first time. Yep, it got my attention. A ring-shaped kiosk in the middle of the room held iPods projected upwards, each player perched on a security rod, restricted, but available for public tinkering.

I walked up to it and touched it, ran my fingers across the front and spun the wheel. It was almost insultingly intuitive to a gadget freak like myself. It worked, and it was obvious that everyone would know how to use it almost immediately after picking it up.

Before playing with the iPod, I was skeptical of the device — like just about everyone else. But after touching it, I knew that the future of music consumption wore an Apple logo. By God, I wanted one. Bad.

Three Articles about iPod

So here we are, ten years later. The iPod unquestionably shook up the world. How should we mark the anniversary? Well, to start, I have written three pieces about the iPod for this exact occasion. I’ll go through them below.

  1. The Birth of the iPod – In this piece over at Macworld, I take a look at the origins of the first iPod — how it was created, by whom, and why. I owe great thanks to Tony Fadell for sharing his time to talk about the iPod’s creation, and to Steven Levy and Leander Kaheney, whose previous works on the iPod also provided invaluable sources for my article.

    Despite those sources, this is not some iPod creation rehash. In fact, it puts together a number of disparate information sources for the first time. And thanks to my interview with Fadell, you’ll definitely learn some new tidbits about the birth of the iPod.

  2. iPod Oddities – In which I continue my long-running Technologizer-hosted Oddities series by examining weird accessories, art, and history related to the iPod. Fun stuff, as always. Don’t miss the iPod ballistics calculator.
  3. The iPod as an Iconic Cultural Force – Also at Macworld, this piece openly muses about how the iPod changed our culture, the music industry, and the world around us.

I wish I could say that I wrote more (ha), but you’ll have to be satisfied with that — oh, and all the other iPod tributes you’ll find on the web in the next few days.

Happy birthday, iPod.

Discussion Topic of the Anniversary: What did you think about the iPod when you first heard about it? Did your opinion change after you actually used it?

5 Responses to “iPod Turns 10, Benj Writes”

  1. Dominique James Says:

    I enjoyed reading the two articles you wrote in Macworld, but I must have missed something: who decided that the now iconic white buds be “white”? How did it come about? Why not black, as it used to be? Prior to the iPod, white buds seems to have not existed at all. I think this piece of information is important as people started to know of the iPod because of its iconic white buds.

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Dominique. Glad you like my articles. I did mention something about why earbuds vs. headphones, and why the iPod was white verses another color.

    I didn’t mention why the earbuds are white because I thought it was pretty obvious: they match the iPod. Almost any other color (other than maybe a light gray) would be a garish contrast that Apple would not have done.

  3. Donn Says:

    I though the iPod was a little expensive when it was first released. I wasn’t a Mac user at that point, so I didn’t have a true appreciation for Apple’s attention to design and the advantages that confers, and I couldn’t have used it anyway, not having a Mac.

    I had long been using the original Diamond Rio PMP 300 (still have it), hooked up to a tape adapter in my car. I was already sold on digital music, but that 32MB sure was limiting! I also used it for recorded sound effects played offstage at a community theatre I did work at; it was _perfect_ for that task, given it’s random access nature.

  4. technotreegrass Says:

    I was intrigued by the idea of a high quality MP3 player since I spent hundreds of dollars replacing Sony Discmans over the years as they would break for little to no reason, but I did not own a Mac at the time. It got to the point that I had to carry around a Walkman everywhere, and hauling even a few cassette tapes was more cumbersome then hauling CDs. When my CD collection was stolen on a bus trip in 2008, I knew it was time for an ipod, helped by the fact that the 3G nanos had color options, and I haven’t looked back since. I still prefer CDs to purchasing digital music but I just rip the music onto the ipod and put the disc in a drawer.

  5. Gorka L Martínez Mezo Says:

    I was very skeptical about the iPod myself for quite a long time after it appeared. It was extremely expensive and you could get “better” MP3 players cheaper. I bought a Creative Zen Micro (128Mb!) for me to double as a pendrive and a Zen for my sister`s birthday. It seemed pretty “ipodesque” and far cheaper (she didn`t used it much).

    In 2006 I met my now wife and she had a 5th gen iPod I called the devil`s device. She dropped it and the LCD screen broke, leaking until it became unuasble. I inherited it and she got a new one. I found iFixit by chance, ordered a new screen and for 30USD I had my own iPod! I never regretted it. It still works nicely and I carry it around… with my iPhone. Later I got a Mini for my sister (again, it hasn`t been used much) and a couple years ago I again inherited my wife`s 1st gen iPod Touch when she upgraded to an iPhone 3GS. I use the Touch mostly at home to surf the net, although I don`t use it much since I got my iPhone a couple months ago (this time new and replacing a crappy Blackberry Storm). My old iPod still gets lots of use. I`m a doctor and I carry it around when on 24h shifts; it lights my spare time with hours of soft music and its battery life is better than my iPhone`s.

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