iPod is 5 years old today

October 23, 2006


When Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod, October 23rd, 2001, he said: “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.” And 5 years later, we can see he was right.

The 4GB iPod debuted at $250 dollars a pop. That particular model, could hold about 1,000 tunes and was about the size of a deck of cards. By the time, “lame” was the final word of reaction to the player on Slashdot. Others griped that comparably priced players from rivals such as Creative Technology (CREAF) and Archos stored four times as much music or pointed to devices that stored the same amount for far less. Another drawback: The first iPod didn’t work with PCs running the Microsoft (MSFT) Windows operating system.

But the naysayers eventually changed their tune, and the iPod went on to conquer the open territory that was the digital music world in 2001. The iPod soon worked with Windows PCs, and by 2003 the iTunes Music Store debuted and revolutionized the way people buy and listen to music.

By then, it was a risk to rely upon a concept, that people would pay for music downloads. Most of us at the time, probably figured this little gadget to be just a toy for a niche market. But, if you were to pick one up at a store, in literally seconds, you were navigating the file structure of the device with it’s slick, tactile pleasing, ring button pad! And this eventualy lead to nearly 68 million iPods sold by Apple to date, generating about $14 billion in sales. And if previous holiday seasons are any indicator of future results, Apple could record the sale on its 100 millionth iPod before the end of the calendar year. In fiscal 2006 alone, the iPod business accounted for nearly 40% of Apple’s $19.3 billion in revenue.
It’s hard to remember now. But there was a time when man and woman roamed the planet without little white buds in their ears. Today, we may want a big screen in our living room, but we can be quite satisfied watching our favorite shows on a tiny LCD screen, as long as it rests in the palm of our hand. Not only that, we will pay a couple of bucks for the privilege, as long as it’s ad free. Even though that very program we just paid for, was on television the night before for free!

This revolution started 5 years ago today. Happy Birthday iPod!



  1. Love my iPod but very unhappy with my recent puchase of the In-Ear headphones. Yikes! They don’t stick in my ear.

  2. Actually, the original iPod debuted with a 5GB hard dive for $399 in October 2001. It was the 4GB iPod Mini that debuted at $250, but in January 2004.

    Otherwise, nice post.

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