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Apple's New Thing (iPod) - Oct. 2001 (macrumors.com)
149 points by syl on Jan 28, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments

"I have a cd walkman and a burner already, and besides that now that I don't have a dotcom job anymore I need that $400 to pay car payments and rent."

This forum post practically dates itself.

I cut and this quote just to paste it here. Beat me too it by many hours!

It does more than date the post. Its the most perfect example I've found of how Apple sneaks up on markets and changes things. Is there anyone left who might think that a cd walkman and a burner are somehow equivalent to an iPod? Nobody called him out though. In 2001, it seemed reasonable.

I can't help but compare this to the "why do I want an iPad? I've already got a laptop and a smartphone" crowd. I was underwhelmed by the iPad as well. I found myself saying "all this hype for this!?" I probably won't be buying one.

Its going to change the way humans use computers forever.

The iPod was not revolutionary, iTunes was. Everything posted about the first iPod was spot on. The iPod didn't become a revolution until a) iTunes was released for the Windows environment and b) it had a USB dock. Before those two events, the iPod was a marginal product.

i agree those were the inflection points, but the iPod was completely revolutionary from an interface perspective. The click wheel, the large screen, the easy to navigate UI; these were things which hadn't made it to a portable media player device before. Or if they had, they were never marketed the way Apple was able to market the iPod from day one.

The click wheel didn't exist in 2001. And the screen was not particularly large, either (the Neo Jukebox, for instance, if I remember correctly, had a similar sized screen). The iPod Mini introduced the Click Wheel, and debuted on the iPod proper on the 4g (both in 2004). And the connectors were horrible early on: all firewire. Windows was supported through MusicMatch (eww) on the 2g and 3g, and it was after the 3g release that iTunes came to windows.

And it was when iTunes came to Windows that the iPod took off in sales (ironically, reversing a LONG trend by Jobs to keep Apple products on the Apple platform). In 2002 and 2003 they sold less than a million units. The first quarter they had iTunes on windows, they moved over 2 million units--more than double what they'd sold the previous holiday quarter.

People look at the iPod as this huge instant hit. It wasn't even 'till Q4 2004 that Apple sold more than 1m units in a quarter. And sales in 2005 came in a large part from selling through Wal-Mart, too.

The first iPod had the wheel, but it physically rotated. It did have the piezo clicker too though.

The physically rotating wheel was surrounded by another wheel of buttons. the Click Wheel didn't appear until the mini. 1st gen: mechanical wheel with a surrounding wheel of buttons. 2nd gen: touch wheel surrounded by buttons. 3rd gen: all touch with a row of buttons under the screen.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1353 identifies the iPod (Click Wheel) as their 2004 model.

Which in turn means that even if the iPad is no revolutionary product (right now) it might well become just as big a thing as the iPod.

Jobs either understood or stumbled across digital content delivery as being "the thing" for the 21st century. Traditional media, in trying to maintain control over the content, failed to realize that their value wasn't the TV shows they delivered, but that they delivered them at all.

Hard to say, because the other thing that happened was that the design was refined to have strengths that none of the competitors were able to match. The Nano was light, sleek, and nearly seamless, it had a bright, clear, colorful screen, it had superior sound, and an interface that is a pleasure to use. By that point, all the competition had was more disk space, a changeable battery, and maybe some other minor features that nobody really cares about.

My favorite comment on there:

"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!"

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

"...or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?"


I love how that guy was so incensed that they'd devoted so much to iPods instead of making better servers. Just imagine a world with no iPods, but beefier Xserves... Oh, and Apple going out of business before 2005.

Wasn't that Sun?

No kidding. I've been a Mac user since the early 90's, and even I would tell you that Apple's long term goal (even during the Steveless era) was to be the next Sony, not the next IBM or HP.

Damn, digging for iPod articles from 2001 is fun! (For those who want to join the fun, October 23 is the exact date.)

“Apple’s Musical Rendition: A Jukebox Fed by the Mac”, New York Times (David Pogue, no less): http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/25/technology/state-of-the-ar...

“Apple doesn’t change the world (yet)”, Der Spiegel (sorry, German): http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/tech/0,1518,164056,00.html

“Apple enters the hi-fi market”, heise (sorry, German): http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Apple-entert-den-HiFi...

What a strange world in 2001, though: no Gizmodo, no Engadget :)

I think this is the best comment there.

"I really wanted to like it. Really. But do the math: 20GB hard drive: $199 from APS tech. MP3 player: $50 from Best Buy. You save $150 plus get an extra 15 Gig of storage! "


"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."

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Slashdot panned the iPod back in 2001, too - http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/10/23/1816257...

"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame. "

Yeah, there were ipod haters, iphone haters, hater haters...

Guess I was a hater hater. Bought the first iPod as soon as it came out. The white headphones got me a lot of weird looks walking the halls at my high school. It was a fantastic, well-made device.

The comments, of course, are priceless. Thanks!

I wonder what the guy who asserts that "awsome" technology won't exist for 6000 years now thinks of the iPad.

And I still don't understand what anybody would need an iPod for (MP3 Player I mean). Unless you are a commuter with > 45 min time per direction. I like music, but I have decided that it's silly to shut out the world while being outside.

Have iPods really changed the world, or have they just sold well?

The point of having an iPod with that much storage isn't so you can listen to more than one CD on your commute, it's so you can leave for your commute and THEN choose which 20-40 minutes of music to listen to.

When I had a discman and I wanted to listen to music, guess what I had to choose from? One burned CD if I was lucky, and Mutter by Rammstein if I was slightly less lucky. When I have an iPod or iPhone and I want to listen to music, I can choose any song I own.

Ah I see the 45 minutes was misleading. I didn't mean it because otherwise you could just use a mobile CD player (are these still being made?). Just in general I wouldn't see a point in having a MP3 player, unless I went the same extremely boring route every day for long stretches of time (and not by bicycle).

I suppose the majority of people are commuters, so maybe commuting alone is sufficient to explains the high market penetration of iPods.

Everybody uses them in the gym as well. Working out is actually pretty boring.

That's why I prefer running (beautiful scenery) and Yoga (beautiful women) :-)

I needed this bit of nostalgia humor. Thanks for the link.

It's sad that things have changed so little in 10 years.

I know. When will Apple stop releasing products for which there is no possible market?

I mean I know I'm an Apple fanboy and all but I think they could have learned from their failures

I'm tired of the comparison to the iPod or the iPhone. The iPhone had tons of innovations on day 1. The iPod had some innovations to begin with (your music library in your pocket), but other key ones -like the click wheel and the iTunes store- came later. The iPad doesn't really have anything innovative in it today.

Yes Apple may add more innovations later, and it may succeed even without them (coz of iPhone users moving up, Apple's brand & marketing, etc.) but the 'Apple will succeed because the iPod+iPhone did' argument is getting old.

I absolutely believe in a simpler less-general-purpose device for casual home computing, and a lightweight tablet seems like one of the top contenders for the form factor, but the iPad itself is a pretty weak product.

Do you not note the irony of reading the posts on the link and then writing this?

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