As hard as it might be to remember today, the iPod and iTunes helped Apple recover from a bruising personal computer battle that saw the company nearly go bankrupt—Apple’s pocket-sized media players helped re-introduce consumers to a well-respected but marginalized brand, providing affordable entry points into Apple’s ecosystem of products. Within five years of the first iPod’s introduction, Apple was widely regarded as the world’s leading designer of pocket and portable electronics. Today, the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad names are synonymous with international success; we look at their continued evolution in this iHistory lesson.
The first part of this article covers 2001 to 2010, while the second part covers 2011 to the present day. Enjoy!
January 9: iTunes 1.0 Released
- Apple buys Casady & Greene’s SoundJam MP, and reworks it to become iTunes 1.0, which turns/rips audio CDs into smaller files, organizes music libraries, plays Internet radio, and runs on Macs. No PC version is planned.
October 23: iPod (5GB) Unexpectedly Announced
- Apple unexpectedly announces the first iPod (codename Dulcimer) at a price of $399. Unlike most (but not all) competing digital audio players available at the time, Apple relies on a hard disk for storage instead of flash memory or interchangeable CD-ROMs, and uniquely focuses on promoting the small size, power, and ease of use of its device. The first iPod has a 5 GB storage capacity - enough for over 1,000 songs - and works only on Macs, using iTunes as a music organization and CD-to-iPod conversion tool. Did Apple release iTunes with the iPod in mind? According to an official Apple timeline, development of the iPod began only six months earlier.
November 2: iTunes 2.0 Released
- iPod support, ID3 and metadata support, MP3 CD burning, and sound controls such as an equalizer and crossfading.
- Still Mac-only.
November 10: The First iPod Ships
Mid-November: Third-party developers begin to write workaround software that lets the iPod work with PCs. While first demo versions of the software are available in January of 2002, final versions won’t emerge until June of 2002.
December 31: 125,000 iPods Sold
March 20: 10GB iPod Is Out
- Apple announces a 10GB / 2,000 song update to the iPod for $499. Taking a cue from crafty third-party developers, Apple ships new iPods with the ability to display business card-like contact information, a feature that makes some wonder about future PDA-like expansion of the iPod’s abilities. As of this date, the iPod is still a Mac-only product, though workaround programs for PCs are circulating and largely functional.
July 17: iTunes 3.0 Released
- Supports Audible audio books, song ratings, smart playlists, and playlist import/export.
- Still Mac-only.
July 17: Second-Generation iPod Is Out
- Apple makes four major announcements. First, PC versions of the iPods are unveiled, including MusicMatch software instead of iTunes. Second, a 20GB iPod is introduced. Third, 10GB and 20GB models now sport a new touch-sensitive Scroll Wheel instead of an actual moving wheel, which was easier to damage. And finally, iPod prices are lowered: 5GB drops to $299, 10GB drops to $399, and the 20GB model sits at $499. However, all iPods at this point still require users to have computers with FireWire connectivity ports, which are faster than competing USB ports but far less common on PCs.
October: Big Box Retailers Go iPod
- Best Buy, Target + Dell all sell iPods, sometimes below Apple’s prices.
- Competitors such as Creative try to squeeze 2.5” hard disks into enclosures more like the iPod’s.
December 10: iPod Limited Edition
- New “limited edition iPods” feature engraved signatures or logos for $49 each.
- Users can choose from Madonna, Tony Hawk, Beck, or No Doubt.
- These were the most expensive iPods yet made, as they sell for $548.
December 31: 595,000 iPods Sold
March: Microsoft’s Plan To Stop The iPod
- Announces Media2Go, an audio/video player it deems an “iPod killer.”
- Originally targeted for a holiday 2003 release.
- Renamed Portable Media Center for actual late 2004 release, where it flops.
April 28: iTunes 4.0 Released
- AAC audio, DVD burning, album art, library sharing.
- New iTunes Music Store offers $0.99/track or $9.99/album sales of 200,000 songs.
- 1M songs sold in 1 week.
- iTunes and iTunes Music Store are both still Mac-only.
April 28: Third-Gen iPod Is Announced
- It’s thinner and smaller, with a bottom Dock Connector, purely Touch Wheel + touch-based buttons.
- Each new iPod has a higher capacity than the previous generation model it replaces by price point: new 10GB / 2,000 song ($299), 15GB / 3,700 song ($399) and 30GB / 7,500 song ($499) models are available.
- All support Macs + PCs, but initially Firewire only.
- Stores begin to sell new iPod on May 1-4, with Apple’s official launch day as May 2.
June 19: iPod Goes USB
- New USB 2.0 cables and drivers are released.
- PC users finally get an easy way to connect iPods.
June 23: Apple sells the one millionth iPod, more than a year and a half after the release of the device.
September 8: Third-Gen iPod Updated
- Only 4 months after release, Apple offers 20GB/$399, 40GB (10,000 songs)/$499 versions.
- 10GB stays at $299, earlier 2003 models discounted.
- Apple also notes 10 million iTunes songs sold since launch.
October 16: iPod Adds Recording, iTunes 4.1 Released
- Belkin + Apple release first voice recorder + digital photo reader for iPod.
- iTunes adds PC support, PC iTunes Music Store; MusicMatch phased out.
November: Complaints about iPod battery problems reach a fever pitch as the ‘iPod’s Dirty Little Secret’ video spreads across the Internet, noting that real-world iPod battery life is below Apple’s stated numbers. Apple subsequently publicizes a cheaper battery replacement alternative for existing users.
December 31: 2,046,000 iPods Sold
January 6: iPod mini Debuts
- Apple debuts the iPod mini, a diminutive 4GB version of the iPod available in five colors at $249. Despite an impressive simplifying redesign of the iPod’s control scheme and casing, critical opinion of the device is initially mixed because of price and capacity concerns. Apple simultaneously replaces the $299 10GB entry-level iPod with a 15GB model, and retailers almost immediately discount the discontinued 10GB model to $249, further clouding the value equation.
January 8: iPod+hp Shown
- In an entirely unexpected move, personal computer heavyweight Hewlett-Packard announces at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show that it will license the iPod from Apple rather than develop a competing product. HP CEO Carly Fiorina promises to release and sell a “HP blue”-colored iPod by Summer 2004, and agrees to market iTunes to its PC customers almost immediately.
February 20: iPod mini Ships, Sells Out
- Despite critics, long lines form.
- Quickly popular with females.
- Shortages delay international release until July 2004.
April 28: iTunes 4.5 + 3M iPods
- Apple Lossless for Macs/PCs, WMA conversion for PCs.
- 3Mth iPod sold only 4 months after 2Mth, critics begin to deem iPod competitors as cheap, poor designs.
June 15: iTunes 4.6 + European iTMS
- AirTunes added for AirPort Express wireless access to iTunes music.
- France, Germany, U.K. get iTunes Music Stores, sell 800k songs in first week.
July 11-12: iTunes Music Store Hits 100 Million Songs Sold, with a $13,200 prize package for the person who downloaded the winning song.
July 17-19: iPod 4G Debuts
- Newsweek leaks a cover image showing Steve Jobs holding the next-generation iPod two days before the official announcement.
- $299 (20GB), $399 (40GB) models borrow Click Wheel from iPod mini.
- Thinner bodies, fewer pack-ins, improved battery life.
July 26: Motorola + Apple / Real’s Harmony
- Motorola promises iTunes-compatible next-gen phones, without specifics.
- RealNetworks releases Harmony so Real RMA songs can play on iPods; Apple implies a lawsuit.
August 10: iTMS Catalog Hits 1M Songs
August 25: Apple quietly begins to search for wireless and video experts to join its iPod division.
September 25: Apple Thinks Video
- Begins search for wireless, video experts to join iPod division.
September 27: iPod+hp Ships
- Hewlett-Packard ships “Apple iPod from HP,” a repackaged iPod 4G with new manuals and HP’s tech support; it adds an etched HP logo to the iPod’s back, but doesn’t change the front plastic.
- HP also announces iPod-compatible printer (never shipped) and “printable tattoo” stickers to cover iPod bodies.
September-October: Microsoft Talks
- Attacks iPod at Portable Media Center launch.
- Says iPod unsafe, calls buyers music thieves.
October 12-14: iPod, iTunes Rule
- 4M songs now downloaded from iTunes per week.
- ~6M iPods sold, now 80%+ of U.S. digital music players.
October 26: iPod Photo, U2 iPod Debut
- Apple debuts a color-screened iPod 4G called iPod Photo.
- $499 (40GB), $599 (60GB) models include the pack-ins that were dropped from earlier iPods; the latter model is the most expensive iPod ever sold.
- “P” in photo is later decapitalized, matching mini, other models.
- Apple also introduces the U2 iPod Special Edition ($349), a 20GB fourth-generation iPod with a shiny black front casing, red Click Wheel, and U2-engraved rear metal casing. The U2 iPod includes a $50 coupon towards the purchase of a $149 Apple-innovated “digital box set” called The Complete U2, but not a copy of U2’s latest album as was widely rumored before the product’s launch.
October 27: iTunes 4.7
- Adds photo syncing support for the iPod Photo, and duplicate song search.
November 11: Sony Goes MP3
- After failing with ATRAC-based iPod rivals, Sony announces MP3-ready Walkman, plots with Warner to take away iPod’s lead in digital music.
December 31: 10,309,000 iPods Sold
January 11: iPod shuffle Debuts
- $99 (512MB) or $149 (1GB).
- No screen or Wheel; button controls.
- In 4 months, Apple has 58% of flash player market.
January 25: #1 Brand: Apple
- U2 Silhouette ad named smartest ad campaign by Business 2.0.
- By month’s end, Apple named top global brand in survey of ad pros.
February 23: iPod Price Drops
- Apple kills 40GB iPod, 40GB iPod photo.
- New iPod photos: $349/30GB, $449/60GB.
- $29 Camera Connector introduced, allows photo transfers to iPod photo without iTunes.
June 2: shuffle Knocked Off, Battery Suit Settled
- Clones of the iPod shuffle appear in Taiwan.
- Apple settles massive class action lawsuit over iPod battery defects.
June 28: “iPods” Go Color
- Color “iPods” replace “iPod photos:” $299 (20GB) + $399 (60GB).
- Apple also drops the price of the 1GB iPod shuffle to $129.
June 28: iTunes 4.9, Podcasts
- New iTunes adds free downloads of radio-like audio “podcasts” to the iTunes music store, plus iPod-ready playback.
July 6: Bush Gets iPod
- Following Queen Elizabeth II’s purchase of an iPod, U.S. President George W. Bush receives one as a gift.
July 29: HP Ends iPod Sales
- After firing CEO, HP abruptly stops iPod sales.
- Claims repackaging iPods didn’t fit new plans.
- Retailers sell off HP-badged iPods, some released only weeks earlier.
August 10: Apple Can’t Patent UI
- Failing in effort to patent iPod’s UI, Apple finds itself threatened by Creative, which successfully patented a key aspect of library navigation.
September 7: mini Killed, nano and ROKR Debut
- iPod mini, “the most popular iPod”, killed without warning.
- Replacement iPod nano is ultra-thin, small color iPod.
- $199 (2GB), $249 (4GB), sold in black or white bodies.
- Special edition engraved Harry Potter iPod announced.
- Apple and Motorola unveil first iTunes phone, ROKR E1, billed as an iPod shuffle in a cell phone; instantly reviled.
September 7: iTunes 5.0
- Adds staff reviews of music, streamlined look, easier search features, and preference menu changes.
October 12: iPod (with video)
- iPod 5G debuts as music player “with video as a bonus.”
- $299 (30GB), $399 (60GB), black or white bodies.
- 2.5”, 320x240 screen, enough battery for 2-3 hours of video.
October 12: iTunes 6.0
- Adds videos to the iTunes Music Store.
- Five TV shows, 2,000 music videos: $1.99 each.
- Videos are 320x240, formatted for iPod’s display.
- By month’s end, 1 million videos sold.
- Gifting and reader reviews also added.
December: 42M iPods, shuffles Sold Out
- Apple announces huge iPod sales, and that shuffles are sold out through year’s end.
- NBC videos come to the iTunes Music Store.
December 8-13: Creative, Microsoft, MTV
- Creative launches iPod-clone called Zen Vision: M
- Microsoft and MTV work to duplicate iTunes with URGE music service
January 10: iPod + FM Radio
- Apple intros iPod Radio Remote.
- Adds FM to iPods and nanos.
February: Sandisk Now #2
- Memory chip maker surprisingly becomes #2 U.S. MP3 player vendor.
- Distant second to Apple.
February 7: 1GB iPod nano, Cheaper shuffles
- $149 (1GB) nano intro’d via press release.
- iPod shuffles now $69 (512MB), $99 (1GB).
February 22: 1B iTMS Songs
- 1 billionth song sold to Alex Ostrovsky, wins iMac, 10 60GB iPods, $10,000 iTunes credit + name on Julliard Music School scholarship.
February 28: iPod Accessory Day
- Apple unveils iPod Hi-Fi, a $349 “audiophile” speaker system, and $99 leather iPod cases.
- Many users are shocked by the prices and skeptical of the value.
March 8-14: iTunes Season Pass
- TV shows and sports can now be purchased on discount in advance, with future parts downloading automatically.
April 19: PortalPlayer Out, Samsung In iPods
- Longtime iPod chipmaker dumped for Samsung, iPod memory vendor.
May 15: Creative vs. Apple
- Creative and Apple sue each other over iPod UI patent violations.
May 23: Nike + iPod
- The Nike + iPod Sport Kit is announced.
- $29 iPod nano add-on lets runners track progress and hear voice prompts
- 450,000 sold in 90 days.
June 6: New U2 iPod
- A video-ready version of the U2 iPod debuts, bundled with a U2 video download.
June 12-20: Chinese Trouble
- iPod maker Foxconn cited for labor issues.
- CEO oddly tells shareholders that Apple is working on a “none-touch” iPod.
July 11: Microsoft’s Zune
- Having failed to beat Apple earlier, Microsoft plans iPod and iTunes clones for late 2006.
- The “Zune” name given to the iPod clone quickly meets with skepticism, as do odd color choices, including brown.
August: Bye, Dell + Napster
- iPod and iTunes competitors falter.
- Dell quietly withdraws from MP3 player market.
- Napster publicly mulls a sale.
August 8: U.S. Carmakers Back In-Car iPod
- Ford, GM, Mazda 2007 cars will have iPod-ready stereos.
- By year’s end, over 70% of cars sold in U.S. are iPod-ready.
August 23: Apple + Creative
- Lawsuit settled; Creative becomes iPod add-on maker, gets $100M from Apple with caveats about future patent licenses.
September 5: “Made For Sansa”
- Sandisk launches accessory program with iPod add-on developers.
September 12: iPod 5.5G, nano 2G, shuffle 2G Debut, iTV Shown
- New iPods debut with brighter video screens ($249/30GB, $349/80GB).
- New metal nanos: 5 colors, battery+ ($149/2GB, $199/4GB, $249/8GB).
- New radically smaller metal-bodied iPod shuffle ($79/1GB)
- Offers advance look at iTV: device Wi-Fi streams videos, music to TVs.
September 12: iTunes 7.0; Movies & Games
- $4.99 iPod games, $9.99-$14.99 640x480 movies in “iTunes Store.”
- iTunes adds Cover Flow browsing mode, gapless audio playback.
October 13: Product (RED) iPod nano
- Special edition red nano debuts; $10 of the $199 nano fights AIDS in Africa.
December 31: 88,701,000 iPods Sold
January 9: iPhone, Apple TV Feted
- Apple shows “revolutionary” iPhone.
- Combines a cell phone, Internet communicator, and widescreen iPod.
- $499 (4GB), $599 (8GB) plus 2-year AT&T contract.
- 480x320, 3.5” touchscreen,
- Launch planned for June.
- iTV renamed Apple TV, set for February with 40GB hard drive.
January 30: iPod shuffle colors
- Apple adds green, blue, pink, and orange shuffles to the lineup.
February 6: Jobs Fights DRM
- CEO posts open letter on Apple’s website.
- Says Apple will sell DRM-free music if labels will supply it.
- Refuses to license Apple’s DRM.
February 21: Cisco + Apple
- iPhone trademark fight resolved; name shared.
March 5: iTunes 7.1
- Support for streaming and syncing media to Apple TV.
- Adds full-screen Cover Flow, confusing sorting options.
March 20: Apple TV Ships
- Delayed a month, the “DVD player for the 21st Century” ships.
- Requires extended- or high-definition TV, separate video cables.
- Only plays videos purchased or converted through iTunes.
April 9: 100M iPods Sold
- Apple breaks the 100 million sales mark for the iPod family.
May 29: iTunes 7.2, DRM-Free
- Apple adds $1.29 iTunes Plus downloads to the iTunes Store.
- DRM-free, bitrate doubled to 256Kbps, old tracks can be upgraded for 30 cents each.
- Only certain labels support iTunes Plus format.
May 30: Apple TV Updates
- Now deemed only a “hobby” by Steve Jobs.
- Gets a $399 (160GB) version and YouTube.
June 29: iPhone Dominates Media, Launches
- After utterly dominating news for a month, iPhone launches to lines across U.S.
- Apple sells 270,000 units in first weekend, but doesn’t sell out in many locations.
- AT&T activation problems dog the otherwise happy event, but are mostly resolved in 2 weeks.
June 29: iTunes 7.3, #3 in U.S., 3B Songs
- New iTunes adds iPhone activation support.
- iTunes Store becomes the #3 vendor of music in the U.S., surpassing Amazon.com.
- Store quietly sells 3 billionth song.
August 31: NBC Ends iTunes Deal
- Shocking TV fans, NBC opts not to renew its iTunes agreement.
- Apple blames greed, and refuses to carry the network’s Fall lineup.
September 5: iPod nano, classic, touch Debut, New iPod shuffle Colors, iPhone Price Cut
- Apple introduces a video nano ($149/4GB, $199/8GB)
- Renames iPod to “iPod classic” ($249/80GB, $349/160GB).
- Introduces widescreen, flash-based iPod touch ($299/8GB, $399/16GB).
- iPhone’s price radically cut by $200, and the 4GB version is killed off.
- Four muted iPod shuffle colors replace January’s, including new purple.
September 5-6: iPhone Mea Culpa, iTunes 7.4
- iTunes 7.4 adds 99-cent ringtone creator for iPhone, plus new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store for iPod touch and iPhone.
- Steve Jobs apologizes for shocking iPhone price cut, offering $100 Apple Store credit.
October 17: iPhone Dev Center opens
- Apple says it will release a software development kit for the iPhone in February 2008, then opens a site to help devs create custom “web apps.”
October 22: 119,265,000 iPods sold
- The number, tallying total iPod family sales for six years, doesn’t include 1,389,000 total iPhones sold through September 2007.
November 9-29: iPhone Hits UK, Germany, France
- Following September and October announcements, O2 (UK) and T-Mobile (Germany) become exclusive service providers on November 9, with France’s Orange joining on the 29th.
- Sales are respectable, but not fantastic.
- By December, O2’s CEO is already talking about a “3G iPhone” for 2008.
November 16: Carmack Criticizes iGaming Strategy
- Following numerous complaints from developers skeptical of Apple’s still-cloudy plans for iPhone software, famed Doom and Quake developer John Carmack describes Apple’s closed game development strategy for iPods as “horrible.”
- Notes that he personally told Steve Jobs not to repeat the mistakes with iPhone gaming, but isn’t optimistic.
December 7: Apple Fights iPhone Unlockers
- Despite software updates from Apple, hackers continue to succeed in “cat and mouse game” of unlocking iPhones for sale overseas, “jailbreaking” them to run unauthorized apps.
- Apple threatens overseas importers with legal penalties of up to $1,000 per phone sold.
January 15: iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV Software Updated with Major New Features
- iPhone + iPod touch get 1.1.3 software: custom home screens and location finding ability for maps.
- iPod touch owners offered previously iPhone-only apps such as Mail for $20.
- Apple TV 2.0 software is shown, supports iTunes purchasing and movie rentals. Released 2/12.
- Hardware drops to $229 (40GB), $329 (160GB).
January 15: iTunes 7.6: Movie Rentals + Copies
- Following months of leaks, Apple + all six major studios unveil U.S. movie rental service for iTunes.
- $2.99-$4.99 based on movie’s age + DVD-/HD-quality.
- iTunes Digital Copy lets buyers of certain Fox movies get iTunes-ready, DRM-protected version.
January 22: Apple Adds Pink 8GB nano
- Lighter pink 8GB iPod nano debuts as sixth “Spring” color, Valentine’s Day gift for standard $199 price.
January 22: 141.265M iPods, 3.7M iPhones Sold
- Apple’s strongest quarter adds 22.1 million iPods, 2.3 million iPhones to totals.
- Reports suggest up to 1/3 of iPhones are purchased to be unlocked; Apple cites strong global interest.
February 5: 16GB iPhones, 32GB touch Added
- Apple debuts higher capacity devices via press release.
- $499 for 16GB iPhone or 32GB iPod touch.
- touch sells in Europe at a slightly lower price than iPhone.
February 19: iPod shuffle 1GB Price Drops, 2GB Debuts
- 1GB shuffle drops to $49, 2GB added for $69, both in same five colors. Higher capacity ships in early March.
February 20-26: iTunes Store #2 Music Retailer in U.S.
- iTunes now trails only Wal-Mart in music sales.
- Apple attacks developers of Hymn Project, software to strip DRM off of iTunes purchases.
March 6: Apple’s iPhone SDK Event
- Instead of the SDK in February, Apple releases free beta kit and $99 developer program for select U.S. applicants.
- All software will be distributed through iTunes, starting in June, requiring iPhone 2.0 software.
- Developers offer praise and concern; 100,000 downloads in four days.
- Eight days later, Apple sends out rejection letters, blaming high demand.
March 14: Ireland, Austria Get iPhone, Supplies Low
- O2, T-Mobile expand iPhone sales to more countries.
- Stock of 16GB iPhones dries up.
April: Apple Buys Chipmaker P.A. Semi
- Apple buys maker of low-power CPUs.
- Explains chips are for future iPods, iPhones.
April 3: iTunes Store #1 Music Retailer; AT&T Hints 3G iPhone “In Months”
- iTunes now top U.S. seller of music, over Walmart.
- iPhone stock scarce, AT&T hints 3G phone soon.
April 23: 152M iPods, 5.4M iPhones Sold
- Quarter reflects slowing sales growth.
May 5: Apple Welcomes International Developers
- Comes 2 months after U.S. developers join iPhone SDK program.
May 29: iPhone Patented
- A 371-page filing attempts to cover the entire UI.
June 9: iPhone 3G, 2.0 Software Finally Dated
- Apple sets July 11 release for iPhone 3G.
- $199 (8GB), $299 (16GB).
- Faster, plastic-bodied, GPS-enabled.
- 70 countries, inc. Japan + Australia, to get iPhone.
- 2.0 software and App Store to launch at same time.
- Expensive rate plans anger many potential buyers.
June 19: iTunes Store Sells 5 Billion Songs
- Music catalog now 8 million tracks
- Also claims to be most popular online movie store.
July 10: iTunes 7.7, App Store, Apple TV 2.1
- Adds the App Store, with 500 applications. 25% are free.
- Apple TV now lets iPhones, iPod touches serve as remotes.
July 11: iPhone 3G Bows
- Worldwide launches start in Australia and New Zealand.
- Lines form; activation, call drop, and software issues anger buyers.
- Regardless, Apple sells 1 million units in three days.
July 21-30: 163M iPods, 6.1M iPhones Sold
September 9: New classic, touch, nano Released
- Fourth-generation nano repacks 3G model in 9 tall, colorful shells.
- $149 (8GB), $199 (16GB).
- iPod touch 2G gets speaker, volume buttons, Nike + iPod support.
- $229 (8GB), $299 (16GB), $399 (32GB).
- Two iPod classics replaced by single $249/120GB model.
- Four iPod shuffle colors are updated to brighter tones.
September 9: iTunes 8: HD TV Shows + Genius
- HD TV show downloads, including NBC programs.
- Genius feature finds music similar to a selected song.
- Also adds photo-heavy Grid library view, new visualizer.
September 17: 4GB iPod nanos appear
- Without warning, new 4GB iPod nanos appear in Europe.
- Suggests that Apple decided late on the top 16GB capacity.
October 6: 174M iPods, 13M iPhones Sold
- iPhone sales beat predictions, due to 30,000 selling locations worldwide.
November 4: Fadell Out, Papermaster In
- “The Father of the iPod,” the man who pitched the device to Apple, is abruptly replaced by Mark Papermaster as VP of iPod/iPhone Engineering.
- Fadell quietly leaves Apple in March 2010, founding home automation company Nest.
November 19-21: Apple TV 2.1, iPhone OS 2.2 Released
- Apple TV update adds 3rd party remote control support.
- Lets the device stream audio to Apple wireless devices.
- iPhone OS 2.2 provides iPhone-only support for Google Street View and public transport directions
- Also adds direct-to-device podcast downloads.
December 2: In-Ear Headphones with Remote + Mic Ship
- Months after adding wired three-button remote and microphone support to late 2008 iPods, Apple ships a $79 pair of canalphones as the first remote and mic accessory.
December 15-22: Apple Pushes iPhone As Gaming Device; Developer Compaints Grow
- As Apple begins to push the iPhone as a viable and growing gaming platform, developers take to the Internet to complain about lengthy delays and amateurish Apple review processes.
- Titles are rejected for unclear, often specious reasons.
- The complaints will continue through 2009.
January 6: iTunes To Go DRM-Free, 69¢-$1.29
- At Apple’s last appearance at Macworld Expo, only one iTunes announcement.
- In April, Apple will drop DRM and let songs sell for $0.69 (rarely), $0.99, or $1.29.
February 3: New iPhone Model Leaks Via UAE
- Rumors of new iPhone model in June start as the iPhone 3G goes on sale in U.A.E.
- Corroborated in March by spy shots that show new but similar iPhone body shell.
March 11: iPod shuffle 3G Out
- Apple quietly unveils new iPod shuffle via press release.
- $79 (4GB).
- No integrated playback or volume controls; requires Apple remote-equipped headphones and new VoiceOver feature.
March 17: Apple Previews iPhone OS 3.0
- Beta for iPhone and iPod touch adds cut, copy, and paste, push notifications, Spotlight search, Voice Memos, third-party accessory support, stereo Bluetooth, tethering capabilities.
- “Summer” release.
- Video recording, autofocus camera, and compass features are found hidden inside.
April 22-23: 1 Billion Apps Downloaded, Problems Persist
- 9 months after launch, the App Store celebrates billionth app download.
- 13-year-old Connor Mulcahey wins $10,000 iTunes card, 17” MacBook Pro, 32GB iPod touch, and a Time Capsule.
- Hours earlier, Apple was forced to apologize for allowing a baby shaking app, one of many deemed offensive or problematic by App Store visitors.
June 8: iPhone 3GS, iPhone OS 3.0
- Apple reveals “50% faster” iPhone 3GS, with almost identical body to iPhone 3G.
- $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB). 8GB iPhone 3G kept around at new $99 price.
- Adds 3-Megapixel still camera, 640x480 video recording, compass, and faster chips.
- iPhone OS 3.0 ships right before iPhone 3GS’s June 19 release date.
July 7: App Store Hits 50,000 Apps
- On its first birthday, App Store has 100 times as many titles as when it launched.
August 28: Google Voice Rejected; FCC Steps In
- Apple refuses to approve a Google app that offers free SMS and cheap long distance calling.
- FCC later investigates Apple and AT&T.
September 9: New iPod nano, shuffle, classic, touch
- nano now includes widescreen display, camera, pedometer, FM radio, and polished aluminum body.
- $149 (8GB), $179 (16GB).
- New iPod touch boosts speed, gets Voice Control, and accessibility features; lacks camera due to supply issue.
- $299 (32GB), $399 (64GB). Prior 8GB priced at $199.
- $249 classic bumped to 160GB, no other changes.
- Four new shuffle colors debut, including $59 2GB models and a $99 4GB stainless steel special edition.
- By October, 228M iPods, 33M iPhones have been sold.
September 9: iPhone OS 3.1, iTunes 9 Ship
- iPhone OS adds support for new iPod touch, minor Bluetooth, video editing, and other bug fixes.
- iTunes 9 gains CD- and DVD-emulating iTunes LP and iTunes Extras features, app organization, new iTunes Store design, and wireless Home Sharing of media.
September 14: Apple TV: 160GB, $229
- 40GB Apple TV discontinued, price drops on larger model.
October 22: Apple TV 3.0 Software Debuts
- Includes new main screen for Apple TV, Internet Radio streaming.
October 29: App Store Hits 100,000 Apps
November 11: Google Grabs AdMob From Apple
- Google buys leading phone ad company, deepening antagonism with Apple.
December 7: Apple Buys Lala
- Rumors of a web-based iTunes swirl; Apple buys/shuts Lala, supposedly for use in iTunes.
December 11: Apple + Nokia Cross-Sue Over Patents
January 5: Apple Buys Quattro, 3B Apps
- Apple buys smaller mobile ad company Quattro for future iPhone OS advertising.
- 3B App Store downloads, with 10M per day.
January 7: iLounge Pavilion Opens At CES
- Following Apple’s exit from Macworld Expo, 100+ iPod, iPhone, and Mac developers join a new Apple-dedicated section of the Consumer Electronics Show, which is warmly received.
January 27: Apple Shows iPad, iBookstore, iWork
- Confirming several years of rumors, Apple unveils iPad.
- 16/32/64GB. Wi-Fi $499-$699, Wi-Fi + 3G ($629-$829).
- Multi-touch tablet, 9.7” screens, iPhone OS 3.2.
- Release promised in 60-90 days, depending on model.
- To launch with iBooks, iBookstore, and $10 iWork apps.
February 5-22: Jobs Pitches iPad, Locks Out Sex Apps
- Steve Jobs personally demos at newspaper and magazine editorial offices, pushing iPad as next platform for publishing.
- Apple tightens content restrictions in the App Store, nixing
overtly sexual apps that were previously allowed to be sold.
February 24: iTunes Sells 10 Billion Songs
- Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way” gets a winning customer $10,000 in iTunes credit.
March 16: Apple Sued Over iPod shuffle 3G
- Supposedly workout-ready third-gen shuffle’s controls fail when moistened.
- One month later, Apple initiates a free replacement program for faulty earphones.
April 3: iPad With Wi-Fi Launches In U.S.
- Following two months of teases, the first iPad version arrives for sale.
- Sells 450,000 units and 3.5 million iPad apps in only 5 days.
April 8: iPhone OS 4.0 Announced
- First time Apple’s operating system will cut off support for first-gen iPhone and iPod touch.
- Multitasking, folders, Home Screen wallpaper, and iAd in-app advertising added.
- iPad support promised for “fall,” iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod touch 2G/3G version in June.
April 12-19: iPhone 4 Prototype Sold, Revealed
- Lost prototype of next-gen iPhone, rumored to be called iPhone HD, is sold by finder to Gizmodo.
- Site shows device, humiliates Apple employee who lost it, offers to trade it back to Apple for a better relationship or a statement that it’s real.
- Device has glass surfaces, front-facing camera, LED flash, and a metal frame.
- Police become involved after it’s returned.
- Next month, white version appears in photos.
April 28: Apple Buys Voice-Based Service Siri
- Apple quietly acquires the voice-based personal assistant service Siri, leaves app in App Store.
April 30: iPad With Wi-Fi + 3G Out In U.S., Apple Sells 1 Millionth iPad
- One day after Apple named largest cell phone maker in the U.S., iPad 3G debuts; $15-$30 AT&T contract-free data plans. Four days later, Apple has sold the millionth iPad.
May: Zune Execs Gone
- Despite an aggressive late 2009 relaunch of Zune with HD features, Microsoft loses the two key heads of the Zune division.
May 25: Foxconn Suicides Make Waves
- Low wages, long hours away from families, and little prospect of career advancement lead to suicides at iPod, iPhone, iPad manufacturer.
- The company scrambles to improve as media publicizes the deaths.
May 26: 2 Million iPads Sold
June 2: AT&T Changes iPad, iPhone Plans
- AT&T kills unlimited data plans in favor of $25 2GB plans, just ahead of new iPhone launch.
- Old customers are grandfathered in; new ones are capped.
June 7: iPhone 4 Debuts With Renamed iOS
- Confirming prototype leaks, iPhone 4 is announced at Worldwide Developers Conference.
- New 960x640 “Retina Display,” FaceTime video calling, new front VGA and rear 5-MP cameras.
- Unit’s black/white glass body and metal frame/antenna are praised on stage by Steve Jobs.
- iPhone OS renamed iOS.
- 5 billion apps sold from catalog of 225,000.
- iPhone 4 pre-orders start one week later, crash Apple’s and AT&T’s websites.
June 21-23: iOS 4, iPhone 4 Released, iPad at 3M
- iOS 4 launches day before iPhone 4.
- Has problems on pre-2009 models.
- iPhone 4 arrives in black; white model missing.
- Apple announces 3M iPads sold, offers iMovie.
June 25: “Antennagate” Begins
- Some early iPhone 4 users find that their cell signals die when holding the device normally.
- Apple downplays the issue for days before getting slammed by Consumer Reports, sued by users.
June 28: 1.7M iPhone 4s Sold First Weekend
- Despite antenna issues, iPhone 4 is Apple’s fastest selling product.
July 2-16: Antennagate Continues
- Apple concedes antenna strength is reduced when device is held.
- Software patch reduces the “normal” number of bars.
- At press event, Jobs claims that all smartphones have the same problem, but offers free cases for the next two months, no-questions returns.
July 9: Mysterious Touchscreens Appear
- Tiny Apple-branded touchscreens appear, suggest shuffle-sized iPod touch.
- Weeks later, iPod-touch sized screen is found with front-facing camera.
July 20: 269M iPods, 59M iPhones Sold
July 23: White iPhone 4 Delayed, Free Cases
- Apple unveils iPhone 4 Case Program app, offering each buyer a free case with limited choices.
- White iPhone 4 delayed again.
August 9: Papermaster Out As iPhone/iPod Chief
- Reportedly blamed for iPhone 4-related problems, Mark Papermaster is fired.
September 1: iPod shuffle, nano, touch Replaced, New Apple TV Launched
- Fourth-gen shuffle has built-in buttons: $29 (2GB).
- New nano is audio only, with a clip and the leaked touchscreen: $149 (8GB), $179 (16GB).
- Thinner iPod touch 4G has twin cameras, Retina Display: $229 (8GB), $299 (32GB), $399 (64GB).
- $99 plastic, hard drive-less Apple TV 2G unveiled.
September 1: iTunes 10 Debuts
- iTunes 10 adds Ping social network and AirPlay wireless media streaming.
October 18: 279.5M iPods, 73.7M iPhones, 7.46M iPads Sold, 300K App Library
October 26: White iPhone 4 Delayed Again To Spring 2011
- Two days later, white iPhone 4 removed from Apple online store.
October 28: AT&T, Verizon Begin Selling iPad Directly
- AT&T selling Wi-Fi + 3G iPads with data plans.
- Verizon selling Wi-Fi only models with Mi-Fi packages.
October 29: Fortune Confirms Early-2011 Verizon iPhone
- CDMA-capable iPhone said to be released early next year.
November 16: The Beatles Land On iTunes
- Catalog of digital music holdout finally comes to iTunes in one-year exclusive.
- 450,000 albums sold in the first week.
November 22: iOS 4.2 Released for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch; 4.1 for Apple TV
- First iOS release to unite Apple’s mobile devices, brings iOS 4 features to iPad.
- Adds AirPlay, AirPrint, other new features.
December 9: First Supposed Second-Generation iPad Cases Seen
- Features slimmer design, large speaker opening, and rear camera hole.
- Some sources claim that speaker opening is actually an SD Card slot.