In the beginning, there was the iPod
On October 23 2001, Steve Jobs invited tech journalists to what would be a breath-taking product launch. Donning his signature attire; a pair of blue tight jeans and matching turtleneck T-shirt, Steve Jobs emerged on the podium and enthusiastically said: “We all love music and it is always good to do something you love.”
iPod looked uncut; no chance to the tech uncircumcised to replace the battery. The philosophy was that by the time the battery lost its capacity to incubate charge, a new iPod would be gracing Apple Store’s shelves, glorious enough to induce a fresh purchase. Snow white in colour with matching white headphones and earbuds, iPod instantly turned out to be an object of desire.
Its creator, Johnny Ive was blunt; iPod would not win a contest of tick boxes. It was entirely all about seamless usability. It had no FM turner, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi and no crossfading.
iPod was thrust into a market place of CD, flash, MP3 and hard-disk-based players that cost between S75 and $300. While the ordinary CD player offered a cost equation of $10/song, the hard disk-disk-based jukebox allured its customers with 1,000 song holding capacity and an invisible cost analysis of 30 cents/song.
$399 iPod held 1,000 songs; was ultraportable and interfaced with the computer via fast FireWire connection; 10 minutes was all you needed to fill it up with melody. It was backed up with the iTunes Music Store which atomised the song album into singles with each going for 99 cents.
iPod made Apple’s vertical integration model (where Apple manufactured both the hardware and the software) a serious rival of Microsoft’s horizontal integration ideal (where Microsoft coded the Software and let others manufacture the hardware; claim the huge chunk of the profit and let everybody else scramble for the leftovers).
iPod was marketed with grace; it would not be placed in consumer electronics shops where it would be placed next to competing inferior products with the allure of lower price tags and flashy colours. iPod was the moon amongst the stars.
Apple upped the marketing ante by handing out free iPods to celebrities. All musicians and TV personalities that mattered had one. Ophra Winfrey had one, so did the Pope. This induced the feeling that the iPod was cool; these celebrities were.
Like coca cola, iPod took the world by storm. In the begging, there was iPod, iPod grew in ‘stature’; started making phone calls; we called it iPhone. It became flatter and wider, started reading our eBooks and became an internet pellet; we called it iPad.
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