A Brief History of the iPod

07 Jan 2015

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he set about remaking the company from a computer manufacturer into a consumer electronics company.  


One of his goals was to make music central to Apple’s future.

First, Apple purchased Soundjam, a software program that made it easy to organize music files on a hard drive.  The program is rewritten and turned into iTunes, which is released on January 8, 2001.  The original iTunes was Mac-only and did not sell music downloads. It was simply a digital jukebox.

Apple released the iPod on October 23, 2001, the device that quickly transformed both the music industry, the consumer electronics industry and the way people purchased and consumed music.

The original iPod had a capacity of 5GB (“A thousand songs in your pocket!”) and a scroll wheel that actually turned.  Capacity was raised to 20GB the following summer and the pressure-sensitive scroll wheel made its debut.

After long negotiations with record labels to set pricing and to secure purchases of individual songs, the iTunes Music Store opened on April 28, 2003, with just 200,000 songs in the library.  In the first 18 hours, 275,000 downloads were sold.  By the end of the first year, the number was 70 million.

The iPod opened to Windows users in July 2002.  The one-millionth iPod was sold in June 2003. The iTunes Music Store became Windows compatible that October.  By the end of the year, more than two million iPods and 25 million downloads had been sold.

BMW becomes the first automobile manufacturer to offer iPod integration in June 2004.  By the fall of 2008, 90% of all automobiles sold in the US offer iPod connectivity.

In January 2006 sold its one-billionth song.  That number increased to 10 billion by the end of the decade by which time 275 million iPods had been sold.

As of April 2008, Apple was the largest music retailer in the US followed by Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

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