10 Things That Made The Original iPod So Awesome

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Given the current state and advanced features of mobile devices, it’s easy to dismiss the early creations as outdated dinosaurs.

This is too bad, because when it was first introduced in 2001, the original iPod was really something spectacular.

It changed how we listen to music, how we pay for it, and the level of capability that could be jammed into a handheld device — six years before the iPhone existed.

Shall we count the ways?

10. Without the iPod, we'd still be struggling with CD Walkmen

Back in 2001, many consumers were still listening to CDs on Sony Walkman players. They weren't very good -- you could only listen to one album at a time unless you were willing to carry around a bag full of CDs.

9. The iPod blew other MP3 players out of the water

The Rio PMP300 was the first commercially successful MP3 player. It cost $200 and was powered by a AA battery. The battery casing was notorious for breaking and the circular control surface commonly fell right off the face of the device.

Then we got the iPod in 2001.

8. Before the iPod, MP3 players could barely hold a full album

The previously mentioned Rio topped out at storing 30 minutes of music, barely a full album. The iPod came in 5 and 10 GB models, so people were suddenly able to carry about their entire music collections in their pockets.

7. It was incredibly small for its time

Despite its huge capacity, the original iPod was modestly sized, roughly the same dimensions as a slightly thicker deck of cards. Not too shabby.

6. The scroll wheel actually rotated

Although later models were touch sensitive, the first iPod had a click wheel that physically rotated. How charming is that?!

5. It made music transfer times much, much faster

And how do you move 10 GB of music onto a device without it taking days? With FireWire, Apple's high-speed interface for moving data from one place to another. With a speed that ranged from 50-400 megabytes per second, it was way faster than a standard USB interface.

4. Its made white earbuds into a visible street cult

The white earbuds became something of a symbol. People immediately recognised that you had an iPod and it only served to further publicize the device.

Previously, personal headset makers had tended to make wires black -- and thus barely visible.

3. The iTunes Music Store popularised buying music online

iTunes was a fairly straightforward music management program that had a humble music store to support filling up iPods with content. It arguably helped mainstream the whole idea of buying music digitally.

Evolving over time to offer apps, movies, and television shows, the iTunes Store has proven to be a huge revenue generator, driving $1.4 billion the first quarter of 2011. And it all started as a means to grant easy access to new content for iPods.

2. It saved the music business from pirates

Before the iPod and iTunes, most people downloaded music illegally from a peer-to-peer filing sharing network like Napster or Kazaa. The iPod/iTunes combo literally saved the music business, generating new revenues that were being taken by pirates.

Napster and Kazaa were basically killed by the iPod and iTunes.

1. It transformed Apple

Prior to the iPod, Apple was alive but not thriving. Steve Jobs was still somewhat newly in charge at Apple after its 1996 acquisition of Next. The company had just introduced its iconic iMacs and the perception was that Apple was strictly a computer company.

Then Apple debuted the iPod.

Now, Apple is a device company more than a computer company.

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