Today is the iPod’s 10th birthday. On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs took the stage at an Apple Special Event and unveiled to the world Apple’s take on the digital music player, and their entry into the consumer electronics world.
On that day, I wrote the post “Apple’s New Thing (iPod)” on MacRumors.com. Noting the iPod’s extraordinary success over the past 10 years, it’s interesting to look at the user comments on my post. A great many of them are quite negative.
Let me share a few.
Great just what the world needs, another freaking MP3 player. Go Steve! Where’s the Newton?! I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares about an MP3 player? I want something new! I want them to think differently!
Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!
All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.
Well, we know how that turned out. In the past 10 years Apple has sold around 305 million iPods, changed the entire music industry, and launched the iOS family of products that sprang from the iPod and iTunes and have changed the face of computing. In short, the iPod was and is a staggering success.
Now, everyone knows that Steve Jobs died on October 5th, and I keep promising to post my Steve Jobs tribute — and I will, soon. But, I wanted to take a moment to salute the iPod here on its 10th birthday. It changed my life in several ways.
The most direct way that the iPod changed my life is by prompting me to, just weeks after the announcement of the device, launch the website iPodHacks.com. I ran the site (alone) for seven years, leaving MacRumors not long after and then, ultimately, shutting it down to move my focus over to TouchArcade.com. As best I recall, I made about 1,800 posts on iPodHacks before I ended it. It gave me the years of blogging experience necessary to have co-founded TouchArcade, and was great fun to run.
Interestingly, just shy of the iPod’s 10th anniversary, iOS 5 launched and the familiar “iPod” icon was changed to “Music,” a signal that contributes to the pool of evidence that suggests that the iPod music player is about to to be put out to pasture by Apple. But that’s no indication of failure — it’s an indication of success and of how the iPod helped push us all into iOS and, really, the future.
The iPod was the start. The iOS family is the present. And the future is ahead of us, but I am rather certain that it will be shaped by the mobile computing paradigm shift that was spearheaded by the iPod.
Happy Birthday, iPod. Thank you for 10 amazing years.