If ever there was a device that revolutionized the world, it has to be the iPod. Consumer electronics industry has positively changed for the better thanks to this innovation.
What the Walkman did for the analog audio industry, the iPod did better for digital consumer electronics. Funnily enough, people remember iPod as the brand that introduced digital music to the world but it wasn’t the first.
There were models from Rio and several other companies that allowed users to store mp3 tracks and digital music for streaming on the go. What made iPod different though was the number of unique features it came out with.
For starters, a typical mp3 player back then could not transfer more than a song every few seconds using the USB technology at the time. iPod relied on FireWire technology which meant that it could transfer at hundred times faster pace than 12Mbps USB speeds. This together with the software (iTunes) revolutionized the world.
Ever since the launch of the iPod, Apple has managed to maintain a 70% market share in the portable music segment. There were eventual competitors who tried to do the same such as Microsoft Zune but they could not last.
Another key feature of the iPod was its unique design. Back then products were bulky and poorly designed. Companies did not spend on R&D keeping the consumer’s need for aesthetically pleasing products in mind. Apple however decided to work heavily on the design front ensuring that their product not only captured the techies but also the common man through good design usage.
The use of stainless steel, simplified controls and a compact size all rolled into a single product is probably what truly differentiated the iPod. Not only is the design simple but also effective. No wheels or unnecessary buttons, just one element that let you move through an entire library of music – this was one of the key features of the iPod.
Besides, it isn’t just the design from a hardware front that made the iPod a success. Time and energy was spent developing the UI for the iPod, which was supposed to be the easiest and most intuitive at the time. Optimized for fun, the scroll wheel made navigating huge music lists a breeze. Plus, the compact size made it so much more comfortable too.
Did you know that the concept of shuffle was first introduced by Apple with its iPod? With this single feature, it managed to win over customers from many other competing mp3 player brands. Now, one could store digital music and let fate decide what they would hear next rather than meticulously prepare a playlist where you know every single track and the sequence they play in.