In the summertime of 2001, a Hollywood screenwriter buddy of mine acquired a name from his agent: “Stand up to San Francisco now. There’s an attention-grabbing challenge out there and you’ll want to be there for the pitch”
“San Francisco? Are you able to slender it down?”
There was a pause. “Report back to One Infinite Loop in Cupertino. Apple headquarters.”
My buddy and his writing companion had been quickly sitting within the foyer with confused seems on their faces — What are we doing right here? — when a skinny man in denims and a black turtleneck got here by. “Include me,” he stated. It was Steve Jobs.
How our music is formed by expertise
For the following 45 minutes, Jobs went into full presentation mode for this viewers of two earlier than dramatically reaching into his pocket and pulling out a white slab concerning the measurement of a deck of playing cards.
“Think about,” he stated, “one thousand songs within the palm of your hand.” He held out a prototype for the primary era iPod.
The gig concerned writing a promotional video that might be despatched to members of the press and the business forward of the product launch that fall. Naturally, my buddy and his companion took the job with Steve micromanaging every little thing alongside the best way. It wasn’t unusual for the cellphone to ring at 11 p.m. to listen to “It’s Steve. I’ve acquired some notes on the final draft. Prepared?”
Sadly, the video was by no means made. The musicians initially contracted to seem needed to bow out, timelines grew more and more tight, and budgets needed to go elsewhere. As a comfort, Apple paid the 2 writers with a pile of Mac PowerBooks. Actually a pile of laptops that took up a nook of the home for months.
My buddy was beneath an NDA so he couldn’t speak about something till after the iPod was launched on Oct. 23, 2001, within the foggy, complicated months following the September 11 assaults. And even then, comparatively few individuals had been paying consideration.
At first, the iPod would solely sync with Macs with iTunes put in. When Invoice Gates first noticed an iPod, his response to that was “Wow. Too unhealthy.” However when a software program replace made iTunes out there for Home windows in October 2002, every little thing modified. Inside a 12 months, the iPod had change into the patron electronics machine coveted by everybody.
My first in-person publicity got here by way of a co-worker within the spring of 2003 who had what’s now referred to as the third Gen Traditional mannequin. It was the primary iPod with an all-touch interface (no extra bodily buttons or a wheel that truly turned) and featured a tiny (1.8-inch) 10 GB arduous drive able to holding about 2,000 songs. Clicking the digital wheel after which tracing a finger round it navigated me by way of what I later discovered had been referred to as “nested menus,” taking me by way of artists, albums, songs, genres, and some different classes. Operation was slick and intuitive. And white ear thingies? Intelligent.
Provided that I used to be firmly on Workforce Home windows on the time — to not point out that I couldn’t afford the $500+ for a brand new music participant — I resisted leaping on the bandwagon till the spring of 2004 once I made an impulse buy of a silver iPod Mini over a lunch hour. It was the dimensions of an enormous pack of gum and had 4 GB of storage. “I’ll by no means want greater than that,” I stated with confidence.
Mother and father sue son for not giving them a grandchild, declare ‘psychological harassment’
Weekend fuel costs on the rise throughout Canada as consultants urge motorists to scale back journey
I rapidly grew to become hooked on the factor, particularly once I went for my weekend jogs. I’d had a digital music participant earlier than — one thing referred to as an RCA Lyra, which was formed like an enormous, bloated guitar choose and will maintain 60 songs in very low-res audio — however my new iPod Mini was higher by many orders of magnitude. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I spotted that 4 GB wasn’t sufficient, so I gave the Mini to my sister and acquired a 20 GB fifth Gen Traditional branded by U2 in 2006. And when that wasn’t sufficient, I stepped as much as a sixth Gen Traditional with 120 GB.
I handed on all fashions of the iPod Nano as a result of these tiny choking hazards had no screens and had been designed to be on everlasting shuffle. However then one evening within the late summer time of 2007, I noticed this industrial.
When the advert ended, I turned to my spouse. She acknowledged that look.
“Should. Have. One,” I stammered. And as quickly because the iPod Contact hit shops on Sept. 5, 2007, I purchased one with a 16 GB drive. Rattling the associated fee.
For the following 12 months or so, that Contact was at all times with me. It was the top of music participant expertise. How may issues presumably get any higher or any cooler?
Then it did. When my cumbersome Nokia (keep in mind them?) cellphone died, I purchased an iPhone 3G in late 2008. It did every little thing the Contact did. And it was a cellphone.
In a single day, the iPhone made the thought of a devoted music participant out of date. And as increasingly individuals acquired into smartphones, Apple or in any other case, gadgets just like the iPod grew to become much less standard. After peaking in 2008 at virtually 60 million items offered, the machine that when accounted for 40 per cent of Apple’s whole income, went into an irreversible decline as gross sales had been cannibalized by the iPhone. Quickly, iPod gross sales weren’t even value their very own line merchandise in Apple monetary stories. The numbers had been included beneath “Different.”
The Traditional was the primary to die on Sept. 9, 2014, one thing loudly protested by those that beloved the flexibility of the 160 GB mannequin to carry 40,000 songs (Quaint, contemplating that an iPhone can stream some 85 million songs from Apple Music.) The Nano was subsequent to go on July 27, 2017, the identical day because the Shuffle, er, shuffled off this mortal coil. (The Mini was changed by the Nano within the fall of 2005.)
That left solely the Contact, which, for some time, was marketed to oldsters as a starter smartphone-like machine for teenagers. It obtained its final replace on Could 28, 2019. The Contact held on for one more three years till Apple introduced on Could 10, 2022, that when the remaining stock was offered, that might be it. Inside hours, there was a run on the gadgets on the Apple web site (they’re now offered out) and Apple shops all over the world.
Despite the fact that I haven’t fired up any of my outdated gadgets in years, I really feel surprisingly melancholic concerning the finish of the iPod period. In case you grew up within the early 2000s, you’ll keep in mind how iPods inserted themselves into standard tradition. To be seen with a pair of white wires falling out of your ears was to be acknowledged as a savvy early adopter of the good cutting-edge expertise. Along with iTunes, the iPod made the present digital realities of music consumption attainable. And the expertise that went into the iPod grew to become the muse for the iPhone, nonetheless the preferred single client digital machine of all time.
Oh, and the iPod additionally set Apple on the highway to turning into a US$2 trillion firm. Keep in mind that after the iPod, “Apple Computer systems” modified its title to only “Apple.”
I nonetheless have all my outdated items, save for the Mini I gave to my sister. I’ll must get it again so I can line all of them up on a shelf as some form of tribute to the machine that modified the best way we listened to music.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for World Information.
Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing Historical past of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play
© 2022 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.