A Look Back At The Original iPod

When Apple released the iPod back on November 10, 2001, little did anybody know that this mp3 player would not only transform Apple, but would revolutionize the entire music industry. The cost of the original iPod was a steep $399 and it had a 5 GB hard drive which was capable of holding 1,000 MP3’s. But Apple did not invent the MP3 player. Many existed before the iPod and didn’t cost nearly as much as the iPod did. So what made the iPod different? Here are the main features of the device that changed the world, the original first generation iPod.

Hard Drive

Apple used a Toshiba 5 GB hard drive in the iPod that was a bit larger than the size of a quarter. The hard drive was just 1.8″ wide and 0.20″ thick. This meant that you can have a device with enough storage space to hold your entire music library and was still small enough to fit in your pocket.

Click Wheel

What really separated the iPod from the other MP3 players was the spinning click wheel design. This unique design made it extremely easy to quickly flip through a list of songs, certainly much easier than pressing a Skip button repeatedly.

Look And Feel

Apple’s iPod just looks great, even today, from the scroll wheel in the front to the stainless steel durable back. The rectangular shape made it easy to grip and easy to slip into your front pocket. The iPod today would be considered a bulky device, coming in at 4 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.78 inches thick. But when it was presented by Steve Jobs himself he explained it was the size of a deck of cards and weighed less than most cell phones at the time (6.5 ounces).


The battery life on the original iPod was impressive. You could get up to 10 hours of continuous playback. No other mp3 player at the time could deliver half of that battery life. When the battery got low there was no need to buy a replacement battery like on some other mp3 players back then. You could recharge it on your Mac or in a wall outlet.


The $399 price tag immediately turned off many. There were countless doubters who balked at the price tag. There were after all mp3 players available at the time that cost much less. One such doubter was Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal. At the time, he said “I question the company’s ability to sell into a tight consumer market right now at the iPod’s current price.”

Apple was certainly not dominating computer sales at the time and saw the music player as a device that did not have a clear leader. Apple wanted to dominate this market. To do so it had to offer a top quality product, they created it, but then needed to price the product at $399 to make a profit. Apple has continued to offer amazing products like the iPhone, iPad and MacBooks at high prices but you don’t hear too many people doubting their products now.

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