How an Original iPod Ended Up in London’s Science Museum


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Today is the 8th birthday of the iPod and yes, though it hasn’t reached even a decade of life, it’s already the object of several museum exhibits.

Back in 2007, London’s Science Museum put out a national search for a first-gen iPod — CoM reader Joe Weiss answered the call.

Last year, his donated first gen iPod, together with all the original packaging plus unopened earbuds and software to the museum for posterity.

See it in the museum, find out what firewire had to do with it and whether he regrets giving over his iPod after the jump.

Museum piece: Joe's first-gen iPod.
Museum piece: Joe's first-gen iPod. @Joe Weiss

CoM: How did you come to donate the ipod?

JW: I owned it from new but when iTunes dropped the firewire support I moved on…like many others I’m now onto an iPhone.

The Science Museum appealed for a donation, at the time I was torn between putting it eBay or donating, but the best side of me won and I offered it up.

In the museum. Joe's quote is directly across from Steve Jobs'.
In the museum. Joe's quote is directly across from Steve Jobs'.@Joe Weiss

CoM: So did you write to the museum and say, “I’ve got your iPod?”

JW: It wasn’t quite straightforward, it had to be in mint condition and working. I also had to send photos in and write a ton of stuff on what it meant to me, one paragraph made it onto the wall.

NB: His quote is on the left of the iPod (across from Steve Jobs calling it a “21st century Walkman.”)

Weiss’s quote: “I’m a dyed-in-the wool Apple fan. My first impression was…WOW! If I met Mr. Ive I’d say, “When I bought the first gen iPOd I couldn’t see how they could improve…Yet you’ve done it, time and time again. For this visionary skill along you deserve a knighthood.”

Small device, big impact. The iPod on exhibit. @Joe Weiss
Small device, big impact. The iPod on exhibit. @Joe Weiss

CoM: That’s pretty enthusiastic. Do you ever wish you still had the iPod?

JW: It makes me happy that it will be preserved in the Museum forever and every time it will be displayed it will have the ‘Donated by …’ id on it.


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