Nineteen years ago today Apple began selling iPod

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2020
On Saturday November 10, 2001, Apple began selling iPod, a new product the company described as "a breakthrough MP3 music player that packs up to 1,000 CD-quality songs into an ultra-portable, 6.5 ounce design that fits in your pocket."

Nobody could've imagined how this device would succeed -- and then vanish.
Nobody could've imagined how this device would succeed -- and then vanish.

A couple of weeks earlier, Apple's Steve Jobs had unveiled the new device, stating that "with iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go."

Jobs predicted, "with iPod, listening to music will never be the same again."

Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, announced at the time that "with its breakthrough design and ease of use, iPod may be one of the hottest gifts for every Mac user this holiday season."

Apple ended up selling 125,000 units in the winter quarter of 2001.

The new device sold for $399, packed 5 GB of storage, a 160-by-128-pixel "high-resolution display," and a FireWire port for connecting it to a Mac. It was bundled with iTunes 2 on CD, headphones and a FireWire power adapter.

Using the original iPod required a Mac running either Mac OS 9.2 or the new Mac OS X 10.1. Apple wouldn't release an iPod capable of working with a Windows PC for another seven months.

In April 2003, Apple released a fully touch-sensitive third generation iPod with a new Dock Connector port that could be used with both FireWire or USB, the latter of which made it much easier to use with generic PCs, few of which shipped with a FireWire interface.

By September 2003, Apple had shipped its first million iPods. The next year it sold 4.4 million iPods, eclipsing sales of Macs as Apple created a new iPod Division. At the beginning of the winter quarter of 2005 Apple had sold another 22.5 million, jumping to 39.4 million in fiscal 2006.

iPod launches iPhone

The wild success of iPod helped Apple fund the company's iTunes Store infrastructure and paved the way for the iOS App Store through the development of simple iPod games that Apple began selling. It was also a boon for Apple Stores, which saw tremendous traffic volumes new to the Macintosh.

Years of investment in its retail stores, online media store and increasing sophistication in mobile device design and operational management required to build and ship tens of millions of iPods set Apple up to launch iPhone into a crowded and entrenched market for mobile phones.

By the time Apple began selling iPhone in 2007, it had sold over 100 million iPods and the iTunes Store featured the world's largest catalog with over five million songs, 350 television shows and over 400 movies. Apple had sold over 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies, making it the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store.

Four years later, Apple passed oil giant Exxon Mobil in market capitalization to become the most valuable public company on Earth.

iPod retires

Sales of iPhones were supported by Apple's creating a non-cellular version of the iPhone and calling it the iPod touch, an iOS device that ran the same apps. The iPod touch helped to attract and transition users from the once wildly popular BlackBerry and Symbian platforms to iOS.

Still the iPod did press on, and Apple continued to have an annual iPod media event -- until 2013.

After that, the iPod became little more than the name of an app on the iPhone that was later renamed to just Music.

However, if the iPod's glory days are a decade behind us, the device isn't finished yet. Apple even revisited the iPod touch in 2019 to create a desirable, lower-cost iOS device.



  • Reply 1 of 45

    Is this the part where whats-on-his-face posts "but Apple hasn't innovated in 12 years"?

  • Reply 2 of 45
    Happy Birthday iPod...

    The existing iPod lineup is awesome and remains the best with iTunes Radio added.
  • Reply 3 of 45

    I still have my original click wheel iPod. Doesn't work anymore, though. Haha, I wish I'd kept my first iPhone as well.

  • Reply 4 of 45

    One of those developments in consumer tech that has perhaps happened no more than a dozen times in the past century.


    I still remember the brilliance of the 5GB version in my hand, overcome by the sheer marvel of the hardware design and the UI.


    And, to think of what it has wrought......

  • Reply 5 of 45
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    The iPod. Hate term iPod.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,022member

    "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." -Rob Malda, a.k.a. CmdrTaco (Slashdot), October 23, 2001




    AAPL closed at $8.77 (adjusted for splits and dividends) on October 23, 2001. AAPL closed at $520.56 on Friday.

  • Reply 7 of 45
    My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) bought me a 5GB model for christmas 2001. Everyone i showed it to was blown away. We worked on cruise ships, so it was a great way to carry a load of music with me. I had a Sony vaio laptop with firewire (ilink) and moved music over with drag and drop (no itunes). A friend had a creative labs nomad, which looked like a giant CD walkman. The iPod looked so much better! Unfortunately it was stolen, but i've bought and enjoyed many iPods since. Looking back at the keynote when Steve Jobs introduced it, it was so low key, yet the iPod went on to change music forever. Amazing!
  • Reply 8 of 45
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,613member

    Still have my 3G 40GB and the wife's 30GB.  I use mine in the garage as it holds 99% of my music.  Her's is basically a backup for when mine dies.  Our iPhones have replaced general iPod use, but it still has its place.

  • Reply 9 of 45
    My 3rd-gen iPod and iBook G4 was my entry into the world of Apple 9+ years ago. Both were beautiful marvels of technology and design.

    3 more Macs, 1 more iPod, 3 iPhones, and 2 iPads later I'm still a happy camper :)

    Looking forward, I can see this space being filled by the iWatch. Cheaper than phones/Macs ($200-$400?), that cool accessory that you can get every two years or give as a generous Christmas gift. They were also affordable entries into the Apple ecosystem for people who'd didn't see themselves as Apple people.
  • Reply 10 of 45
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Google thread 500 for an amusing blast from the iPod past. Apple fans and trolls alike both HATED the iPod (kind of like they both initially hated everything else Apple has ever done :) )

  • Reply 11 of 45
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

    The iPod. Hate term iPod.


    Because you guys have trouble pronouncing it differently than iPad. <img class=" src="" />


    I remember that was literally listed as one of the actual “criticisms” of the iPad on its Wikipedia page when it was announced. “People with an Irish accent have difficulty distinguishing ‘iPod’ and ‘iPad’.”

  • Reply 12 of 45
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member

    Time passes and nothing changes. The predictions of failure and doom are still with us. The succeeding generations of iHaters continue their campaign. They are just as stupid now as they were back then, maybe more. That’s why I try to ignore their taunts but it gets to me sometimes and I can’t help but try to strike back. Doesn’t accomplish anything, however. Assholes are who they are.

  • Reply 13 of 45
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Google thread 500 for an amusing blast from the iPod past. Apple fans and trolls alike both HATED the iPod (kind of like they both initially hated everything else Apple has ever done :) )


    Well, you’re right of course. The Debbie Downers of this world get more attention than they deserve.

  • Reply 14 of 45

    Who knew back then that the iPod was the beginning of a monumental shift in the way we think of "computers" in our daily lives?


    I hated the iPod at first. I was all into the Sony Mini Disc format, but finally gave in and got a Nano years later as a gift. It was my first Apple product. 

  • Reply 15 of 45

    As dated as the classic iPod's click wheel UI is today, when it was new, it blew away everything that came before it.  

  • Reply 16 of 45
    The US Marine Corps' birthday- great date for an anniversary! Semper Fi
  • Reply 17 of 45
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    The decline of the iPod spells Apple's doom. /s
  • Reply 18 of 45
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    And the reason why nobody is going to ever catch Apple. The groundwork was laid down so long ago.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post



    Because you guys have trouble pronouncing it differently than iPad.


    No, I meant you should used the 'the' before 'iPod'. Otherwise you end up sounding like a wannabe Steve and it's cringeworthy.

  • Reply 20 of 45

    I would love to own a new iPod Touch 64 GB for $199. More than that and it seems overpriced.

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