Today in Apple history: Apple sells its 100 millionth iPod


The iPod was Apple's most successful product yet.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

April 9: Today in Apple history: 100 millionth iPod sold April 9, 2007: Apple sells its 100 millionth iPod. Coming five-and-a-half years after the portable music player went on sale, the landmark event confirms the iPod as Apple’s most popular product of all time.

Until the iPhone arrives a couple months later, that is!

iPod becomes Apple’s biggest product

Launched in 2001, the original iPod famously put “1,000 songs in your pocket” on a 5GB hard drive. The device capitalized on the rise of digital audio files to replace physical recordings like CDs and vinyl. It also played into Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ digital hub strategy, which placed the Mac at the center of consumers’ lives, and laid the groundwork for the iPhone.

Over the next two decades, the iPod would have an enormous impact on Apple’s fortunes and the culture at large. By April 2007, Apple had released more than 10 iPod models: five original iPods, two versions of the iPod mini, two iPod nanos and two iPod shuffles.

The devices spawned an enormous ecosystem of more than 4,000 accessories, from cases to standalone speakers. Plus, upward of 70% of cars produced in the United States in 2007 offered iPod connectivity.

iPod and iTunes drive Apple’s success

Along with the success of the iTunes Music Store — the third-biggest music store in the United States at the time — the iPod represented Apple’s ascendancy to the pinnacle of the tech world.

It was an amazing turnaround for a company that almost went out of business just a decade earlier.

“At this historic milestone, we want to thank music lovers everywhere for making iPod such an incredible success,” said Jobs in a statement issued by Apple. “iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that.”

Celebrities pay homage to the iPod

To mark the 100 million iPod sales milestone, Apple enlisted celebs from the music and sports worlds.

“It’s hard to remember what I did before the iPod,” said singer Mary J. Blige in the same press release. The iPod is “more than just a music player,” she said, “it’s an extension of your personality and a great way to take your favorite music with you everywhere you go.”

Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France champion, also sang the iPod’s praises.

“I take my running shoes and my iPod with me everywhere,” said the bicyclist. “I listen to music when I run. Having my music with me is really motivating.”

Apple also took out an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal celebrating the sale of the 100 millionth iPod.

Apple marked 100 million iPods sold with a full-page newspaper ad
Apple marks the occasion with a full-page newspaper ad.
Photo: Apple

100 million iPods was just the start, but all good things must come to an end

But this was just the start. By 2011, Apple sold a massive 300 million iPods. While the company eventually stopped reporting iPod sales, the current tally probably stands at more than 400 million. The iPhone, meanwhile, passed the 1 billionth unit sold in summer 2016 and just kept going.

In 2022, Apple finally discontinued the iPod touch, the last remaining model of the music player.

“Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go,” Apple said in a press release — entitled “The music lives on” — on May 10, 2022. “Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line — from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac — along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.”

And with that, Apple pulled the plug on the mighty iPod and marked the end of an era.

How many iPods did you own back in the day? Let us know in the comments below.


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