Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

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.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact