| Cult of Mac

Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for Apple’s biggest product

By

Bill-Gates-60-Minutes
Unfortunately for Gates, Steve Jobs was one step ahead.
Photo: 60 Minutes

May 12: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for iPod, Apple's biggest product May 12, 2005: Longtime Apple frenemy Bill Gates tells a German newspaper that Apple may have hit it big with the iPod, but that its success isn’t going to last forever.

The reason? Mobile phones are going to steal the iPod’s market share. The good news for Gates is that he was right on the money. The bad news for Microsoft is that Apple cannibalized itself by making the iPhone. And Apple’s smartphone became even more successful than the iPod.

Why the iPod was the signature music device of its era

By

Cover of the Cult of iPod book
The cover of The Cult of iPod, my book that documented the gadget's cultural impact.
Photo: Leander Kahney/No Starch Press

The following is from the introduction to The Cult of iPod, my 2005 book about the massive impact of the tiny music player. Introduced in 2001, the iPod quickly became one of the most important gadgets of all time. It transformed Apple and it brought a lot of joy into people’s lives. All told, Apple sold about 400 million iPods before officially pulling the plug on the device Tuesday.

I hope this intro captures why I loved the iPod, as did millions of other people.

Excerpt from The Cult of iPod

Fire, the wheel, and the iPod. In the history of invention, gadgets don’t come more iconic than Apple’s digital music player. The iPod is to the 21st century what the big band was to the ’20s, the radio to the ’40s, or the juke-box to the ’50s — the signature technology that defines the musical culture of the era. And what a marvelous technology the iPod is. Inside Apple’s little white box is magic, pure magic, in the guise of music.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Tributes to the late, great iPod flood Twitter

By

The iPod is officially dead. Music lovers just lost a best friend.
Many music lovers just lost a best friend.
Image: Basic Apple Guy

Soon after Apple officially killed the iPod on Tuesday, users flooded Twitter with remembrances of the little music player that changed the world when it barged onto the scene in 2001.

From tech influencers to industry analysts to garden-variety music lovers — you know, the folks whose ears lit up when Apple gave them a device that put 1,000 songs in their pockets — it was a genuine iPod lovefest.

Here are some of the finest tributes to the iPod.

R.I.P. iPod: Apple discontinues its tiny music player

By

R.I.P., iPod. Apple discontinues iPod touch. It's the end of the iPod product line.
R.I.P., iPod.
Photo: Apple

It’s the end of an era — Apple has stopped making the once-iconic iPod. The little music player helped save Apple, and made the company a powerhouse in the music industry, but its day is over.

The last model is the iPod touch, which “will be available while supplies last,” Apple said Tuesday in a press release.

An illustrated history of the iPod and its massive impact [Updated]

By

Steve Jobs on the cover of NewsWeek
Steve Jobs and the iPod make the cover of NewsWeek.
Photo: NewsWeek

Editor’s note: We originally published this illustrated history of the iPod to celebrate the device’s 10th anniversary on Oct. 22, 2011 (and updated it a decade later). We republished it on May 10, 2022, when Apple finally pulled the plug on the iPod.

The iPod grew out of Steve Jobs’ digital hub strategy. Life was going digital. People were plugging all kinds of devices into their computers: digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players.

The computer was the central device, the “digital hub,” that could be used to edit photos and movies or manage a large music library. Jobs tasked Apple’s programmers with making software for editing photos, movies and managing digital music. While they were doing this, they discovered that all the early MP3 players were horrible. Jobs asked his top hardware guy, Jon Rubinstein, to see if Apple could do better.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs wins posthumous Grammy

By

Cue
Steve Jobs' death caused an outpouring of support.
Photo: Grammys

February 12: Today in Apple history February 12, 2012: Months after his untimely death, Steve Jobs is honored with a Special Merit Grammy Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, collects the Grammy on behalf of Jobs’ family and “everyone at Apple.”

Today in Apple history: iPod drives profits to new heights

By

iPod
The iPod was kind of a big deal in 2005.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

January 12: Today in Apple history: iPod drives Apple profits to new heights January 12, 2005: Apple reports record earnings for the preceding three months. Holiday sales of the iPod, and demand for the latest iBook, give the company a four-fold increase in profits.

Apple brags that it sold a total of 10 million iPods, and rightly so. The massive popularity of the portable music player drives Apple to its highest earnings ever.

Today in Apple history: HP’s iPod comes out of the blue

By

The Apple iPod + HP flopped, but it was still a savvy business move for Apple
Do you remember the HP-branded iPod?
Photo: Keegan/Wikipedia CC

January 8: Today in Apple history: Apple iPod + HP debuts January 8, 2004: The clumsily named Apple iPod + HP, a Hewlett-Packard-branded iPod, makes it debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Shown off by Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the prototype device is blue, the color used for HP’s branding. By the time it arrives on the market later that year, however, the device is the same shade of white as the regular iPod. It doesn’t hang around for long, either.

Trash can Mac Pro bathes in vintage Apple posters’ glory [Setups]

By

The one harkens back to 1984.
The one harkens back to 1984.
Photo: Michael De Jong

For the first computer setup featured in the new year, we look backward. Not to the recently subsided and mostly loathed 2021, but further back to a controversial Apple product launch from nearly a decade ago. And deeper into Apple’s storied history. Cult of Mac reader Michael De Jong shared some interesting older gear and some iconic imagery with us in his setup photographs.