On October 23, 2001, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a digital music player called the “iPod” during a media event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. At the time, Apple was a company only beginning to emerge from almost a decade of troubles, and the debut, held only shortly after the September 11 attacks in New York City, was almost a non-event.
The original iPod, which cost $399, had a cutting-edge 1.8” 5GB hard drive that could be filled with high-speed FireWire connectivity, and used a brightly backlit 2-inch monochrome screen and innovative Scroll Wheel for control. It was about the size of a deck of cards, weighed 6.5 ounces, and worked only with Mac computers. “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” Jobs said at the time. Almost no one believed the man, or understood why the iPod’s design was importantly different from previously released MP3 players, but his words turned out to be spot on.
Five years later, the iPod is now a true cultural icon, and has in fact changed the way the world listens to music—more than 69 million iPods are now in the hands of music fans around the globe. The iPod accounts for over 75% of all portable music players sold in the U.S, and is the leading such device in several other major countries. Over 3,000 iPod accessories are said to be available for purchase, while approximately 70% of the 2007 model year cars sold in the U.S. will offer direct iPod integration as an option. Apple’s iTunes Store continues to ring up sale after sale of music, movies and TV shows, with iTunes accounting for 85% of digital media purchased and downloaded in the U.S, and leading each of the markets in which it sells music worldwide. And neither the iPod or iTunes show any sign of slowing down.
iLounge will also be celebrating its fifth birthday soon. Our site, known back then as iPodlounge, launched just two weeks after the iPod was introduced, making us one of the first publications to cover the iPod exclusively. Today, iLounge provides more than 1,000 iPod accessory reviews and many more thousand news stories, articles and tutorials. Over 2,000 iPod accessories are in the iLounge database, with products from over 300 different companies represented. Continually growing as the number of iPod owners increase, iLounge sees millions of readers every month, including over 100,000 registered forum members. We’ll be announcing a celebratory contest very soon.
From all of us at iLounge to Apple’s iPod teams, past and present, congratulations on your fifth birthday. We plan to be here to celebrate many, many more.