Success in hindsight
Apple also released iTunes 2.0, which added internet radio support, 320Kb/s MP3 encoding, a ten-band equaliser. more reliable CD burning, drag-and-drop playlist creation and, of course, iPod support to the original version.
Capacious yet easy to use
Once the iPod had gone public, the reaction was generally negative. The device wasn't cheap - $400 in the US, and £300 in the UK - and was launched into a small market that the major consumer electronics companies were largely ignoring. If they didn't think digital music would ever amount to much, it was reasoned at the time, what could Apple do?
It's easy to judge Apple's success with hindsight, but at the time such criticisms were reasonable. What no one saw was the almost immediate rise of the peer-to-peer network Napster and the way it put digital music into the headlines.
Jobs launches the iPod
Alongside that, the iPod, with its high price tag, appealled less to Napster users and more to wealthy folk with large CD collections - discs they immediately began ripping in order to put songs on their new MP3 players.
The iPod popularised and led the move to copy CDs onto hard drives and then onto players. The arrival of a Windows-compatible iPods, connecting to MusicMatch software, grew the player's appeal, but Apple really didn't begin to change the music industry itself until the summer of 2003 and the launch of the iTunes Music Store and a Windows version of the iTunes app.
Reg Hardware's very own (non functioning) first-gen iPod
Now, punters didn't even have to bother with CDs.
Apple sold 125,000 iPods in the product's first two months on sale. It would take until Apple's 2005 fiscal year - the 12 month from October 2004 to September 2005 - for iPod demand to explode. Sales would continue to grow through to their peak in FY2008 before dipping slightly the following year and heading downward from that point on. But Apple still sells a heck of a lot of iPods each year. ®
Apple's iPod: ten years old
I had a Creative DAP Jukebox, still do somewhere in fact, which I thought was brilliant. For the size of a CD player I had a 4GB HDD and an easily navigated music library.
I then went to Australia for a gap year and one day when talking to the bus driver of all people, I spotted this iThingy on his dash so I asked him about it. "WTF is that, it's so small?!" A few months later in the States I bought myself, I believe, a 3rd Gen iPod. I loved it until someone stole it :(
I then got myself a 2nd Gen iPod mini and that was great until it froze on the ski slopes.
Now I've got a Zen and I'd struggle to go back to an iPod now because of the iTunes requirement. My other two I could sync (or at least send tracks to) with a winamp plugin. Not sure you can do that any more?
Great little device and definitely changed the music industry. Shame it came at a cost. The entertainment industry has had to buy various governments to try to ban people from the internet, that's not cool but hardly what the iPod set out to achieve!
2nd Gen ipod still useful
Still have my 2nd Gen iPod from December 2002 - and found an alternative use a couple of days ago. Internal hard disc died on my iMac, so installed Snow Leopard on the iPod via firewire and ran the iMac for a couple of days from there while waiting for a replacement hard disc to arrive. The iMac was surprisingly useful from the external iPod, although the boot time was horrendous.
Used this setup to update an iPod touch to iOS 5 too.
"iPod" => "music"
I know, a bizzare move.... as if they are trying to kill their own brand!
I know it sounds tired, but I think the biggest innovation was the simple, intuitive UI.
People that hated Apple/iPods always pointed out that Archos and other mp3 players could do everything the iPod could, which is absolutely true. Apple instead introduced a small, highly polished (literally and figuratively) player that was beautiful and easy to use–something no competitor could claim at the time. It wasn't the list of features that was new, it was how easy it was to use all of them.
This was the first electronic gadget that I was able to use nearly 100% of the features without referencing the manual. The manual it came with was scant, at best, but that was just the thing–you didn't need it. The only thing I couldn't figure out on my own was how to get the backlight on when it was dark (hold the play button down for 5 seconds or so, then the backlight stays on long enough to enable it in the settings).
Mine still works, though the battery life is not so great and it mostly sits in a drawer. I loved the mechanical wheel, though it was prone to accidental swipes that resulted in high volume music.
Yep - they were incredible portable discs
I remember from the 'making of' movie for LoTR that when Jackson was in London, working with the composer on the scoring, they would transfer the entire movie every day to London, then write it onto an iPod and have it couriered to him.