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By Jason Snell for Macworld
[Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the iPod. I’d write a reminiscence article about it, but I already did one 10 years ago…]
Since its first release five years ago on October 23, 2001, the iPod has become one of the most recognizable products in the world. It has transformed Apple’s business and its public image, and is probably responsible for a “halo effect” that has improved the Mac’s image and fortunes as well. Whether you’re a rabid iPod lover or someone who just doesn’t see why the iPod’s such a big deal, it’s hard to dispute the gigantic impact the iPod has had on our technological world.
On the day the iPod was unveiled, none of us knew we were witnessing the arrival of the first iconic product of the 21st century. We had a pretty good idea we were going to see an Apple music player, but we got more than we were expecting. I was there with Macworld’s Rick LePage, Jonathan Seff, and Philip Michaels—if you look on the video of the event posted on YouTube, you can see us in one of the cutaways.
My notes from the event are still on my Mac: an overview of the Digital Hub concept. iDVD 2’s ship date had slipped a second time, to early November. A demo of iMovie, of iTunes, and of Mac OS X’s Image Capture utility (because iPhoto wouldn’t come into being until 2002). And then, at last, the main event: a music product. “It’s a large target market,” Jobs said. “It knows no boundaries. No one has really found the recipe yet for digital music. And we think, not only can we find the recipe, but we think the Apple brand is going to be fantastic, because people trust the Apple brand.”