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Apple announces iPod

This Day in World History

October 23, 2001

Apple announces iPod

After weeks of speculation about what, exactly, Apple had up its sleeve, Steve Jobs made an appearance on October 23, 2001, that ended the mystery. Jobs announced Apple’s newest product, a portable digital music player that would, he said, put “1,000 songs in your pocket.” The iPod was born.

When Jobs made the announcement, some industry analysts wondered how well the product would do. While many admired the iPod’s handy size and battery life, they were skeptical due to the hefty $399 price tag and Apple’s lack of experience in consumer electronics. Steve Jobs was convinced he had a winner, however, telling one industry reporter “iPod will be a landmark product.”

Jobs proved prescient. The iPod quickly took off. By the middle of 2002, Apple had sold 600,000 units, and the following year total iPod sales surged past two million units. Sales skyrocketed: by 2005, they exceeded 40 million, and they passed the 100 million mark two years later. The popularity of the device was aided by Apple’s introduction of iTune software earlier in 2001—and by the opening of the iTunes Music Store early in 2003. By the end of that first year, users had already downloaded 25 million songs from the online store. No one doubted Apple’s ability to compete with consumer electronics any longer.

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