Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs wins posthumous Grammy


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

February 12: Today in Apple history February 12, 2012: Months after his untimely death, Apple co-founder 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


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 laptop, 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 yet.

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


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 iPod+HP, a Hewlett-Packard-branded iPod, debuts 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 digital music player is the same shade of white as the regular iPod. The device doesn’t hang around for long, either.

This MacBook Pro workstation enjoyed a very merry Christmas [Setups]


MacBook Pro setup with dual monitors
Sometimes the holiday season turns a half-empty desk into a powerful computer setup.
Photo: TemporaryAd_4202@Reddit

Ah, the magic of Christmas. Even a grownup can get deliriously excited about unwrapping a rich haul of computer gear that turns a Charlie Brown Christmas tree of a setup into a powerful workstation that would intimidate Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Today’s user had a decent MacBook Pro and iPad Pro to begin with, but ended up with a proper, highly functional setup. And commenters had further suggestions for additions, too. Hey, the more the merrier!

Today in Apple history: iPods take to the skies


The first iPod went from pitch to shipped product in 7 months
Goodbye, in-flight magazines!
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

November 14: Today in Apple history: Apple partnerships land iPods in airplanes for use with in-flight entertainment systems November 14, 2006: Apple teams up with a slew of airlines to offer the “first seamless integration” between iPods and in-flight entertainment systems.

A special dock will let iPod owners use the devices to play music and videos on planes’ seat-back displays. The plan promises to rid the world of old-fashioned in-flight movies and airline magazines.

Today in Apple history: iPod Photo brings color display to music machine


The iPod Photo brought us one step closer to the iPhone.
The iPod Photo brought us one step closer to the iPhone.
Photo: Apple

October 26: Today in Apple history: iPod Photo launch brings color display to music machine October 26, 2004: Apple debuts its iPod Photo, a device capable of putting not just 15,000 songs in your pocket, but also 25,000 photographs.

It is the first iPod to offer a color screen and the ability to display digital images and album cover art. The iPod Photo represents a big step forward in the functionality of Apple’s iconic music player.

Today in Apple history: Apple puts 1,000 songs in your pocket with first-gen iPod


Today in Apple history: Apple puts 1,000 songs in your pocket with first-gen iPod
Introduced on this day in 2001, the iPod quickly became a cultural phenomenon.
Photo: Newsweek

October 23: Today in Apple history: Apple puts 1,000 songs in your pocket with first-gen iPod launch October 23, 2001: Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the first iPod, a device capable of storing an entire music library in a highly portable package.

The first-generation device boasts a 5GB hard drive capable of putting “1,000 songs in your pocket.” That may not sound too dazzling in a world in which people can stream the massive Apple Music library from their iPhones, but it was a game-changer at the time!

Today in Apple history: Apple offers ice water to Windows users in hell


On this day in 2003, Steve Jobs revealed his plan to bring iTunes to Windows.
Photo: Apple

October 16: Today in Apple history: iTunes Music Store comes to Windows October 16, 2003: Six months after opening the iTunes Music Store for Mac owners, Apple expands the service to cover Windows PCs as well.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs later quips that making iTunes available to Windows owners is akin to “giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.”

Today in Apple history: iPod shows it has life after iPhone


The first iPod touch, released in 2007.
Apple released three new iPods, including the first iPod touch, in 2007.
Photo: Apple

5SeptSeptember 5, 2007: Apple introduces its first new iPods after the release of the iPhone. The lineup includes the third-gen iPod nano, the newly renamed iPod Classic and — most significantly — the debut of the iPod touch.

In doing so, Apple sets out to demonstrate that there is still plenty of life left in the iconic portable music player.

Today in Apple history: iPod gets a new Click Wheel


The fourth-generation iPod brought key improvements like the Click Wheel, but still left some people disappointed.
The fourth-generation iPod brought key improvements, but still left some people disappointed.
Photo: National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution/Flickr CC

July 19: Today in Apple history: Fourth-generation iPod gets Click Wheel interface July 19, 2004: The fourth-generation iPod brings neat innovations to the popular audio device, including the Click Wheel interface recently introduced on the iPod mini.

“The best digital music player just got better,” says Steve Jobs in a press release on the day the product launches. And yet some people feel disappointed by the upgraded music player.

Today in Apple history: Revolutionary MP3 format gets its name


The MP3 made the iPod possible.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

July 14: Today in Apple history: Revolutionary MP3 format gets its name July 14, 1995: The MP3 file format receives its official name as the new .bit file extension gets changed to .mp3. The technology allows the compression of a standard CD .wav file to one-tenth its original size, courtesy of some smart algorithms.

The format will revolutionize the music industry — and put Apple on the road to world dominance.

The MP3 enables easy sharing of music tracks online and makes music more portable than ever. Apple’s iPod will become the world’s best-known MP3 player, quickly capitalizing on the new format.

Jony Ive returns to hardware design with $60,000 record player


Jony Ive's design firm LoveFrom worked on the new Linn Sondek LP12-50 turntable.
Jony Ive's design firm LoveFrom worked on the new Linn Sondek LP12-50 turntable.
Photo: Linn Products Limited

If Apple made a turntable, would it cost $60,000? Almost certainly not, but that’s the lofty price tag on the new 50th anniversary Linn Sondek LP12-50, sketched out by former Apple chief designer Jony Ive and his firm LoveFrom.

It’s his first hardware design project since leaving Apple in 2019. And he did it for free.

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


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.

Affordable iMac rig sees no need for Apple silicon [Setups]


You won't find any M1 or M2 Macs here.
You won't find any M1 or M2 Macs here.
Photo: OptimalOutrage@Reddit.com

Not every computer setup flaunted and much-admired on social media is an Apple silicon powerhouse with an ultra-fast M1 or M2 chip. Today’s featured setup leans on a 6-year-old iMac and a MacBook Air almost twice as old as that.

But with the help of an impressive-yet-affordable audio gear list and a trio of gaming systems, the rig gets the work and play done. And don’t miss the beefed up iPod classic in the mix.

Could this MacBook Pro rig be any more Apple? [Setups]


Even the wall art above the Studio Display is Apple -- a deconstructed iPhone.
Even the wall art above the Studio Display is Apple -- a deconstructed iPhone.
Photo: 17parkc@Reddit.com

Some computer setups are more Apple-ish than others. Apple-y. Apple-centric. Today’s featured M1 Max MacBook Pro outfit welcomes a new Studio Display to replace a recently “retired” 20-inch Cinema Display, and that’s just the start of the Cupertino madness.

Almost everything else in the setup is Apple, too. The input devices, the audio gear — even some of the wall art. And what’s in the book collection? The Cult of Mac hardcover book.

New MacBook Air is thin enough to make original iPhone look chunky


New MacBook Air is thin enough to make original iPhone look chunky
It's a MacBook that makes an iPhone – even an old one – look hefty.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Surely you already know that the newly redesigned MacBook Air is super thin. But you might not have realized just how  very sleek it is. It’s actually slimmer than the original iPhone.

In fact, the macOS laptop is much, much thinner than a lot of other classic and recent Apple devices.

Full-on ‘Dark Mode’ brings creativity into focus [Setups]


The setup proper in
The setup proper in "Dark Mode." Atmospheric, eh? It's a space dedicated to creativity, but it also helps with focus.
Photo: Chris Denbow

Photographer and writer Chris Denbow puts an interesting twist on his computer setup. He credits its “Dark Mode” — which is obvious in the photographs of the desk and the room, but extends to the machines and the software he uses — for boosting his focus and creativity. He said the dark theme gives him a “space dedicated to creativity.”

“Introducing ‘Dark Mode,’ a minimal, monochromatic home office/workspace that helps eliminate distractions, [and] allows focus and productivity,” Denbow told Cult of Mac.

Why the iPod was the signature music device of its era


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.

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Tributes to the late, great iPod flood Twitter


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


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]


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.

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


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.