When Steve Jobs presented the first ever iPod on October 23, 2001, he shook up the music industry and the way the world consumes music for good. With Apple’s portable multimedia player, music fans could carry their whole record collection in their pocket in digital form. The original model met with considerable success and was rolled out in a series of different versions over the following years (mini, nano, shuffle, touch).
The first-generation iPod stood out with its mechanical wheel for browsing the music library and scrolling through tracks in an intuitive way. The original iPod had 5GB of onboard storage and a FireWire port for connection to a Mac, and sold for $400 in the US.
The following year, its storage capacity was doubled and the device became compatible with Windows computers. A key turning point followed in 2003 when Apple opened the iTunes Music Store, which at the time offered 200,000 digital music tracks to American users. More than one million songs were sold in the first week and the platform rolled out worldwide in 2004, revolutionizing the music market and its established customs. The MP3 revolution was now well and truly underway, bringing digital music formats to the forefront of the industry. Soon, music videos, TV series and movies joined the store. Several billion tracks are now bought each year via the platform.
In the early years of the iPod, many rival portable digital music players saw the light of day, based on the same principle, often cheaper but less smartly designed. Despite all efforts, many firms were destined to fail in the sector, including Microsoft, whose Zune digital music players struggled to take off.
From 2001, Apple built on the success of the classic iPod by developing a selection of different models, from the discreet iPod mini in 2004 (replaced by the nano in 2005) to the screenless shuffle in 2005. The iPod touch came out in fall 2007, mirroring the design of the brand new iPhone with its color touchscreen.
A far cry from the original MP3 player, the iPod touch brought Wi-Fi connectivity and access to the millions of applications in the App Store. It can be used as a portable gaming device or even for taking photos.
Apple has sold around 400 million iPod devices in total.