Why The iPod Was Never Going To Be “Just A Fad”

by Joseph Sarrington Smith

In 2005, Alan Sugar famously predicted that “next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput.”

Admittedly, it’s difficult to fathom why he seemed so sure about this. But obviously, he turned out to be spectacularly wrong. iPod, the digital music player from Apple has got bigger, but the gadgets, remarkably, have gotten smaller. I remember when the first iPod was launched and being very impressed by the size. How on earth could something the size of a packet of cigarettes be capable of storing so many tunes? How on earth could it have enough memory? Of course, Apple upgraded them to the size of a credit card, and then came the iPod Nano, which was about the size of a memory stick. Looking at the original model in hindsight, it now looks somewhat clunky; almost like a brick in the wall. Furthermore, how did we manage to get around carrying a Walkman? Or even a Ghetto Blaster for that matter? How on earth were they deemed “portable”? They just seem so unwieldy now.

Of course, not everyone is necessarily a fan. In fact, I can’t help but feel as though the recent vinyl revival that I wrote about on here a few months ago is a direct reaction against the iPod. I personally don’t own an iPod. Not because I don’t like them, but because I prefer to be completely aware of my surroundings when I’m out and about. But there’s no denying that it’s cultural impact has been huge. We’ve all seen the iconic adverts; the dancing silhouettes, the colourful backgrounds, the unmistakable white headphones. Your entire record collection on something small enough to fit in your pocket? Not too shabby at all. And that I believe has been the key to its success. Steve Jobs realised right from the beginning that nobody cared about the nerdy technical aspects. All anyone really cared about was “how can I get the most out of this?”

But where do we go from here? What’s the next step? Will we reach a point whereby we have a chip implanted in our brains that can somehow play music on demand? The way technology is advancing I really wouldn’t be surprised…

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