By Akriti Rana and Nimish Dubey
The serial killer smartphone has struck again and this time has taken an iconic gadget away from us, forever. After removing consumer cameras, game consoles and most music players from the tech picture, the deadly wave of smartphones has claimed another victim. It was a small musical gadget that had managed to survive all those years of smartphone domination. It didn’t have a truckload of takers in the end, but still invoked a sense of nostalgia in some and for many it was the most affordable window into the iOS world.
We are talking about the iPod. After more than two decades of existence, Apple has finally unplugged the iPod. The brand has officially discontinued the iPod, the gadget that puts “1,000 songs in your pocket”. This line may seem routine now, but two decades ago it was revolutionary. It was one of the most popular devices of its time, but many facets and its life were unknown to most people. So now that the iPod is officially at rest, let’s remember by telling you ten lesser-known facts about the dearly departed gadget:
1. The iPod was not an original Apple iDea
The words iPod and Apple can go together like bread and butter, but it might surprise you to know that the idea of an iPod wasn’t original. It was Tony Fadell, an American engineer who came up with the idea of a portable music player with storage in 1999. He even had a company called Fuse to develop the portable music player, but unfortunately he didn’t been able to get enough funding to get the project. goes on its own. He then joined Apple in 2001 as senior vice president of the – yes – iPod division. Talk about divine justice.
2. The iDea was rejected, twice!
It may be hard to believe given the popularity of the iPod, but the idea of the iPod was initially rejected not once but twice before it came to Apple. After Fuse’s failure, Tony Fadell shared the portable music player with storage idea with RealNetworks and Philips, both of which rejected it. Weird, right?
3. Born out of the need for a DJ
Necessity is the mother of invention may seem cliché to some. But it is exactly this feeling that led to the invention of the iPod. Before being hailed as the great engineer he is and “the father of the iPod”, Tony Fadell was actually also an amateur DJ who was tired of taking all his CDs to his concerts. Therefore, he wanted a portable music player with enough storage to carry his entire music collection. Of course, being an engineering genius, he found the perfect solution!
4. A Space Odyssey opened the door to its name
The name, “iPod”, was inspired by a phrase from 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. It was freelance writer Vinnie Chieco who suggested the name after seeing the film. The phrase “Open the door to the pod bay, Hal1”, was the inspiration behind the name. And because the iMac and iBook already existed, they decided to add “i” and named the legendary music player, iPod.
5. Apple created the iPod, with help from Fuse, Philips and General Magic
Even though Fadell was hired by Apple in 2001 to work on the iPod project which was then codenamed P-68, Fadell had to hire his own team to work on the project. Indeed, all of Apple’s engineers and resources were focused on the iMac line, which left Fadell with no choice but to hire more people for his team. He chose those he had worked with before and hired engineers from his own start-up Fuse while bringing in senior engineers from Philips and General Magic.
6. Pass the Steve Jobs Air Bubble test!
Steve Jobs was a person of bold statements and that nature was one of the reasons the first iPod was as compact as it was. When Jobs received the first iPod prototype, he was said to have dropped it in an aquarium in front of engineers. No, he didn’t do it to test its waterproofness! Jobs did this to show them air bubbles leaving the device indicating that there was internal space that could be saved and therefore the device could be made more compact. We don’t know if the prototype survived, but what a way to “make room”!
7. The iPod design inspiration was a product made in 1958
The idea of the iPod did not take its first breath at Apple and neither did the design. The design of the iPod was actually inspired by another device that already existed. It was taken from the 1958 Braun T3 transistor radio, which was a creation of Dieter Rams, a renowned German designer.
8. Designed and developed in less than a year
Apple was pretty quick to release the iPod. It took the company less than a year to design, develop and complete the iPod. Tony Fadell joined Apple in 2001 and the same year, on October 23, 2001, Jobs announced the “Mac-compatible” music player with a 5GB hard drive that lets you carry “1,000 songs in your pocket.” The real Fast and Furious in real tech life. And to think that people had rejected the idea twice.
9. This “Don’t Steal Music” Sticker
Apple has been a staunch defender of intellectual property rights and has always advised users not to steal or copy content as it does not benefit the creator. This idea dates back to OG iPods, which often came with a plastic sticker warning, “Do not steal music”, advising users not to illegally download their music from shady sources. Piracy was a big problem back then.
10. The iPod OG had an Easter egg
The original iPod not only puts a thousand songs in your pocket, but also a game. A game called Breakout (inspired by Pong) invented by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was included on the device as an egg which could be accessed by holding down the center button in the “About” menu. Users basically had to keep hitting the ceiling bricks while landing the ball on a horizontal bar on the base, preventing the ball from hitting the ground. A truly OG game on a truly OG device.