Once upon a time there was a smart company who thought it had a use for the portable mini hard disks that were just launched on the market. They were smart enough to think that the first thing people would like to carry around with them would be their music, specifically their new-born mp3’s. At that time the choice was much easier – videos were not so developped (as it is today with youtube) and took a lot of hard-disk space.
Unfortunately that company was NOT Apple. For its part, Apple did not invent the portable digital music player which was launched by RioPort but merely added a swivel technology control button and slick looking design. The rest is history, as they say. Nice history, don’t you think so? Launched on October 2001, IPod was an immediate success. At that time the first Ipod had only 5 GB but soon it got growing and growing and growing in capacity…
The real revolution came almost 2 years later, when Apple launched its famous scrolling wheel, which allows you to navigate circularly through its content. IPod got tactile and actually, besides its miniature HDD, this was the first real Apple invention. Actually you know that Apple is not so good at big things…as at working at the interface. By that moment (2004), the Ipod took off. At the end of 2004 Apple sold almost 11 million Ipods, making it a star company from one which barely struggled to survive with its Mac computer sales.
Apple has sold more iPods every year since its introduction. In 2007 alone, Apple sold more than 52 million iPods, 6 million more than in 2006, and eclipsed the cumulative total of 100 million iPods sold since introduction. Apple also introduced the all new iPod touch in 2007, and new models in 2008. Apple reported in the quarterly earnings conference call that although the introduction of the high-end iPod touch may have reduced the sales volume growth of iPod in 2007, it increased the average selling price. With the increase in capacity (20, 40 and then 60 GB) Apple continued to sell more and more IPods:
In 2005 the IPod player got so famous, that it was targeted by the subway thieves based on its white earphones. (Actually the quality of the IPod earphones was pretty good an rendered a decent listening on this player…). Despite the resurgence of the copycats, some of them even better than the original in certain aspects, Apple I Pod continue to outsell the competition. Creative has launched the mp3 player Zen, whilst Samsung, Sony and others continue to launch other mp3 players. Despite their claims, none was so well miniaturized as the IPod. Basically, in the same dimensions, no other mp3 player offers so many gigabytes capacity and so many features as the I Pod does… Then in 2007 came other two Apple revolutions. First, ITunes, the software support for IPod, started to offer free-to-copy songs over its internet store. This was a revolution for a media industry focused on selling one-copy only songs on various formats (preferably on DC). ITunes partnered with some major media houses and managed to offer 1-click downloadable songs at only 0,99 USD, without any DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions. Secondly, Apple managed a new breakthrough in innovation with its new tactile interface.Secondly, Apple managed a new breakthrough in innovation with its new tactile interface. The tactile interface is again not something new – actually you might have seen it many times already in many places being used for the disemination of information. However, Apple was again the first company to use it on large scale for mobile phones (its famous IPhone, which as far as I hear cannot even be found nowadays on the Apple flagship store from the 5th Avenue in New York) and of course for its IPod.The IPod touch offered not only a new experience in usage by its lack of mechanical controls. It also featured free Internet navigation and personalized access to the Google services (You Tube, weather, stocks) via a small incorporated wifi modem. This launch was obviously a move made to overcome the decline of the IPod sales, and competition is yet slow to catch up. Will anybody else succeed to capture soon the IPod appeal at the same price?As a curiosity, the Discovery Channel has even made a movie on the IPod history which you can find here. Enjoy!