Apple released iTunes 1.0 to the world at Macworld back on January 9th, 2001. The application was based on SoundJam MP, an old piece of software Apple purchased from a development company called Casady & Greene in 2000. Apple simplified the SoundJam MP interface, added CD burning, and rebranded it as iTunes.
Fast forward 12 years, and iTunes 11 was just released with a drastically redesigned look and feel. Apple’s negotiations with the entertainment industry have turned iTunes into a digital supermarket of sorts; you can buy everything from books and movies to apps. By itself, iTunes is one of the biggest media companies in the world. The success of the iTunes Store has made Apple the top music distributor in the world, period. In 2013, Apple is rumored to introduce a Spotify-like ‘iRadio’ of sorts in iTunes for streaming.
iTunes wasn’t always the beastly monstrosity it is now. There’s more than a decade of history behind the media player everyone loves to hate. Ars Technica has a great image gallery of past iTunes versions to commemorate today’s date, and there’s a great wiki on iTunes with plenty of backstory for those interested.
Happy 12th birthday, iTunes!