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The enduring legacy of the iPod

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The enduring legacy of the iPod

Serenity Caldwell has been writing and speaking about and tinkering with Apple merchandise since she used to be sufficiently old to double-click. Managing editor of iMore, she hosts a host of well-liked podcasts and speaks incessantly at meetings. In previous lives she labored at Macworld and Apple Retail.

Fifteen years in the past, Apple presented the iPod.

Whilst the tempo of generation can appear sloggish once we're on the third year of similar smartphone designs, it from time to time takes a step again to make you recognize simply how a lot has modified. Fifteen years in the past, I used to be in my first yr of highschool and the internet used to be nonetheless thought to be extra of a geeky fascination than mainstream good fortune. It used to be the age of Neopets and Napster for the ones of us fortunate sufficient to attain rapid web connections and private pc time, and for those who sought after track on your pocket, you both have been nerdy sufficient to have invested in a MiniDisc participant, or (much more likely) you shoved a Walkman right into a bookbag.

That yr, I used to be the first individual at my highschool to possess an iPod. I will be able to't take note why my father used to be gracious sufficient to present me one of the plastic-and-steel track gamers — my birthday used to be months away at that time — although I think it is going to were a end result of consistent hint-dropping. And, whats up: My dad has all the time been an Apple fanatic at his core. He will have first of all purchased the iPod for his personal makes use of, most effective to have me reconfigure it for my very own day by day lifestyles.

No matter the explanation why, that iPod temporarily was one of my maximum prized possessions subsequent to my iBook (additionally lovely new). I confirmed it off to somebody and everybody who would pay attention, proudly proclaiming its superiority over the Walkman and, to a chum's amusement, his paltry 32MB Rio PMP300. (We made a raffle on the bus in the future about which song participant would finally end up a mainstay in 5 years which I by no means accumulated on — in large part as a result of him paying attention to no less than 3 months of Apple braggadocio and final my good friend used to be sufficient cost.)

As anyone who liked song and scored soundtracks in her head, the iPod used to be a revelation: It made even the maximum mundane of duties one thing particular. It proved helpful in class, too, letting me rehearse for performs via studying alongside to MP3s of recorded scripts. And, in all probability most significantly of all, it helped spur a rising pastime in shopper generation and gave me my first street in teaching and serving to folks with their units.

I had many Apple units sooner than the unique iPod and feature bought many extra since, however it is in all probability telling that its 5GB metal shell stays in a loved position on my table, 15 years later. It wasn't simply device that made the iPod a success — whilst dated, its design stays one of my all-time favorites. I would spin that click-wheel to mitigate rigidity, or whilst considering up one thing to put in writing, or just because it used to be there in my pocket and I sought after one thing to occupy my palms. Spoiler: It nonetheless spins lately. It even boots up, even though its battery is gone the level of retaining various mins' price.

However this little white rectangle is liable for just about each and every pocket-sized product Apple has produced since. Jason Snell stated it best possible in his (now ten yr previous) five-year-reflection on the iPod for Macworld:

Protecting one of the ones first-generation iPods in my palms nowadays, it is putting simply how a lot the iPod hasn't modified in 5 years. It is nonetheless a white block with a stainless-steel again. Positive, the main points have advanced: the edges have been sharp, however now are clean; the display is now colourful and succesful of showing pictures and movies; the scroll wheel does not bodily transfer anymore. However that unique iPod—with its 5GB arduous pressure, full-sized FireWire port, and $399 price ticket—were given a exceptional quantity of main points proper the first actual time. No marvel it become this sort of good fortune.

The iPod amplified Apple's logo into the mainstream, giving many customers an opportunity to go into the corporate's ecosystem for the first time. From there, the "halo impact" took cling — it wasn't arduous to like a Mac as soon as you were given used to that straightforward little rectangle. (And for all the flack iTunes rightfully will get now, in the mid-2000s, it and the iPod made including track blissfully easy, the place different merchandise felt clunky and sophisticated.)

Over the years, the iPod has ceded its place to the iPhone; in 2016, the concept of a tool that most effective does song turns out virtually ridiculous. ("No GPS? No headphones-as-MP3-player? No step tracker?") However fifteen years in the past, that concept used to be progressive sufficient to lend a hand result in the trendy age of moveable units. The iPod rightfully merits its position on my table — and in the cupboard of generation historical past.


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