Apple has completely changed the way we use technology, and it all started with one simple device. Offering a unique combination of music and photos as well as videos and games, the iPod revolutionised mp3 players and changed the way people listened to music.
The device became one of the most sought-after gadgets on the market, and consumers are still buying new versions and iterations of the mp3 player to this day.
From Humble Beginnings
The iPod was not an instant success. When the device was first released in 2001, sales were slow but steady. The first generation model was only compatible with Mac computers, and the device failed to make a big impact on consumers. However, Apple recognised that no brand had really managed to capitalise on the growing mp3 market.
Concerns about piracy and digital media impacted the technology, and it was difficult for users to play mp3s on external devices. Many early mp3 players had DRM copyright restrictions, and they only allowed the limited transfer of files in an effort to curb piracy. Undeterred, Apple continued to innovate its media player technology and finally enjoyed huge success with the fourth generation model.
The Fourth Generation Success
Released in 2004, the fourth generation model was unlike any other mp3 player. Apple considerably slimmed down the size of the device while simultaneously managing to boost its storage capabilities to a whopping 40GB, and the all-touch interface was the simplest way to manage and play music.
The new fourth generation models were also compatible with Windows and could be connected via USB instead of Firewire, and Apple’s new iTunes software made it even easier to transfer files. A fourth generation colour model which was capable of viewing and storing photographs was released in the same year, and Apple emerged as the leading innovator in the mp3 technology market.
Nanos, Shuffles and Beyond
Growing sales of the device considerably strengthened Apple’s position as a technology giant, and the company quickly turned its attention to broadening its range of mp3 players. The ‘Mini’ was a slimmed down version of the device which came in several different colours and designs. Although it had limited storage capability, the Mini was a huge success and was ideal for users who didn’t want to back up their entire mp3 library.
The release of the ‘Nano’ replaced the Mini, and the new model supported video playback and later generations featured a built-in speaker, FM radio and even a pedometer. Apple also offered a barebones version of the mp3 player with the release of the ‘Shuffle’, and the scaled-down device lacked a screen but had a much cheaper price tag. Apple continues to diversify and improve its media player brand, and the iPod is still one of the most popular mp3 players available.