It doesn’t seem possible that the iPod is twenty years old. Steve Jobs introduced the innovative device on 23 October 2001. It stored 1,000 tracks in its 5GB drive and cost $399.
There had been other attempts at creating music players with disk storage but none had succeeded. The world of music still belonged with the portable CD player which, in its turn, had vanquished the Walkperson (sorry, Walkman) and the mini-disk upstarts.
There was just something about the iPod that caught the imagination. With the backing of Apple, then just a shadow of its current self, the iPod took on the world and won.
It can be argued that without the iPod, Apple might not have survived. But almost certainly, without the iPod there would have been no iPhone, no trillion-dollar company. It was Apple’s first mass consumer product and it paved the way for a Mac revival, for the iPhone and iPad.
The iPod still lives on, surprisingly in these days of instant music streaming, in the form of the iPod touch. Equally astonishing, it still costs exactly the same, $399, but you get over six times the storage (32GB) for the money. You can even boost this to 128GB or 256GB for a bit of extra cash.
Apple has disrupted the world of technology at least twice this century, first with the iPod and then with the iPhone. Both took the world by storm and provided the foundations for the Apple we know today.