Original iPod first went on sale 12 years ago with 5GB of storage capable of holding 1,000 songs

By on November 11, 2013, 10:45 AM

The iPhone and iPad are arguably Apple’s most important product lines in this day and age but at the core, these devices are simply descendants of another key product that launched 12 years ago: the iPod.

Digital music was just starting to take hold in 2000 and at the time, there weren’t a ton of options in general for listening to music. A traditional CD player cost around $75 and held about 15 songs per disc. Flash-based players did exist but they were also twice as expensive as a CD player and were limited to the same amount of storage.

An MP3 CD player and compatible disc could hold upwards of 150 songs which, priced at $150, brought the per song pricing to about a buck each. Hard drive-based music players capable of holding up to a 1,000 songs would set you back around $300 but were worth the investment as they brought per song pricing to just $0.30 each.

Steve Jobs wanted to jump into this market with a small device comparable to flash-based MP3 players that would fit inside your pocket and store the same 1,000 songs as larger hard drive-based solutions. The problem, however, is that such technology didn’t exist as flash media at the time was limited to holding 10-20 tracks.

It wasn’t until a chance meeting with Toshiba in early 2001 that Apple found a solution – a 1.8-inch hard drive with a capacity of 5GB. It was perfect for the iPod and soon after, Apple negotiated an exclusive deal with Toshiba for the technology.

Later that year, Jobs unveiled and subsequently launched the first iPod. It wasn’t a smashing success at first but it ultimately proved wildly successful and brought Apple back from the brink of irrelevance.

User Comments: 9

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Arris Arris said:

Good old ipods. Only Apple devices I've ever owned. 2nd Gen iPod and 5th Gen iPod. 2nd Gen died. 5th Gen lives in my car arm rest attached to the stereo.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've got one of those old 10G iPods (still works) and a 1st Gen iPod Touch (Just to play Pandora, and it sometimes stutters and crashes now.) Those first iPods were ok. Shockingly to me, after all these years, those old classics iPods are the go-to Apple device if you want ample room for storage. I would have expected flash drive to take over by now.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I waited until the prices really dropped radically before I bought an mp3 player, and it wasn't an Apple either, it was a no name thing with 8 Gb storage & it's still in service today although it's well over 3 years old now.


I feel somewhat glad that I was able to purchase a 160gb ipod classic, even if it took a few years

yRaz yRaz said:

I honestly miss those days when the iPod was just starting out. Not because of ipod itself, but because of how we got to watch technology evolve. I always associate early ipods with the time when we got to watch bulky, low functioning devices turn into small high functioning devices. It was an exciting time for a geek.

anyway, I jump from my cd player with "25 second anti skip" to the first Gen iPod nano. It was the 4gb white one iirc. My friend broke it and I asked if I could have it. I bought another broken one on eBay and spliced it. The one I bpught on ebay was black so I took touch ring out of the black one and put it in the white one just to make it look cool. Afterwards I had 2 60gb iPod videos. Again, broken ones I spliced together. My very last iPod was the first Gen iPod touch and that was cool as hell

dennis777 dennis777 said:

I am still using my old 30gb ipod with a 1/4 busted screen. still plays mp3 nicely. older apples products seems to be more durable than today.

Guest said:

But what about the Creative Zen MP3 player, that came on 1 year before the iPod 2000. Apple stole the idea and patent from Creative for use in the iPod. The Creative Zen is better than the iPod. So, please recognize the Creative Zen too and stop taking Apple all the time.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Their MP3 players are pretty decent. Old (stopped adding features in 2009), but good. 160GB one lives in my car, thanks to full integration.

RzmmDX said:

If I could only replace the battery and hdd of my 3G Ipod.

It's still pretty funny how the hdd gets stuck and all you need to do is slam the side to reset the arm...

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