Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The iPod turns 10

Happy 10th birthday to the iPod. It’s a decade this week since the late Steve Jobs introduced the iPod to the world and disrupted the music business forever. There may have been a lot of initial scepticism and scorn around …

Fri, Oct 28, 2011, 10:00

   

Happy 10th birthday to the iPod. It’s a decade this week since the late Steve Jobs introduced the iPod to the world and disrupted the music business forever.

There may have been a lot of initial scepticism and scorn around the notion that anyone would pay $399 for the 1,000 song-capacity MP3 player, but few knew what was around the corner.

Of course, there were other MP3 players before (and after) the iPod, but what the iPod had that others lacked was brilliant ease of use and gorgeous design. When you placed the Zune and iRiver of the time alongside the iPod, the rivals looked clunky and awkward.

Over 50 million sales within the first four years showed that the public were going with the Apple product rather than alternative players. Add in the success of the iTunes music store and the company were rapidly making out like bandits from their investment in the music business. The record labels who had done the deals with Jobs could only look on with awe, envy and frustration.

Ten years on, people are still buying iPods (over 42 million sales of various models in the last year), but Apple now have their eye on other sectors.

When it comes to portable products, it’s the iPhone and iPad which lead the way, with the iPod line now concentrating on smaller, slimmer, cheaper products than the original player. No doubt, as we’ve seen with the Sony Walkman, a time will come when Apple discontinue the iPod when they deem that there is no further demand for it.

But it’s worth recalling just how seismic Apple’s move into the music business was. As many obituaries of Steve Jobs noted, he and Apple did change the business forever. And it started with that landmark, iconic little white box.