On this date 17 years ago, Apple introduced a revolutionary product that would change the face of portable audio for life. As Steve Jobs walked on stage wearing his signature long-sleeve black turtleneck, paired with blue jeans and white tennis shoes, his smile gave away the joy he felt before holding up the first ever iPod.
Just days prior, people were listening to their favorite tracks on CD players in their rooms, cars, and offices. Surely, some music fans still had their trusty Walkman’s on standby just in case they had to belt out the hottest song of the year: “Hanging By A Moment” by Lifehouse. Paired with the revolutionary music software called iTunes, the iPod would instantly change the way the world listened to music.
In fact, some might even say that listeners were now completely immersed in the music. Gone were the days of listening to an entire record from start to finish. You could finally be your own DJ and play the songs you wanted at the touch of a button. The first-of-its-kind iPod came in one color (white) and two storage capacities (5 and 10 GB).
But, in typical Apple fashion, just one iPod wasn’t enough. Less than a year after the original model was unveiled, Apple released its second generation of the iPod, adding a touch-sensitive wheel. The third and fourth generations brought about a slew of redesigned features, such as an all-touch interface, a slimmer body, and a color display with album artwork. Along with the fourth generation iPod Classic came the first-generation iPod Mini, which added a bit of color to the product array since it came in five different colors. Later replaced by the iPod Nano, these smaller devices were about two-thirds the size of its predecessor.
For 12 years, the iPod Shuffle was the smallest iPod available on the market. Using flash memory and abandoning the screen, these tiny devices were just 3.6 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. The latest innovation in the iPod lineup came in 2007 with the first-generation iPod Touch, boasting a multi-touch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple’s Safari internet browser, and access to the iTunes Store and YouTube. The iPods kept up with technology’s advancements over time, but eventually phased out its original designs by the end of 2017, leaving only the iPod Touch on the market today.
Despite its many facelifts, system upgrades, and various sizes, the iPod is without a doubt the most prominent portable music player in the world. With special editions including Madonna-engraved iPod Classics and Product [RED] iPod Nanos being offered worldwide, music-lovers near and far have come to know and love this tiny little box of joy.