iPod Turns 18: Here's What People Thought in 2001

Today marks the 18th anniversary of Steve Jobs unveiling the original iPod at a small event on Apple's Infinite Loop campus. While the iMac started Apple's renaissance in 1998, it was the launch of the iPod in 2001 that truly set Apple on a path towards becoming the world's most valuable company.

ipod say hello
Jobs famously pitched the original iPod as offering "1,000 songs in your pocket." The combination of its 5GB hard drive and 0.75-inch thickness was impressive at the time, with the device also featuring a two-inch screen, up to 10 hours of battery life, a FireWire port, and the first iteration of the iconic click wheel.

"With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go," said Jobs in Apple's press release from October 23, 2001. "With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again."


While many people were thrilled about the iPod, others were not so impressed. Here is a sample of some comments from the MacRumors forum thread about the iPod from the day it was announced, with some light editing for clarity:

I still can't believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares about an MP3 player?

Hey - here's an idea Apple - rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why don't you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive and crap server line up? Or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?

We live in the YEAR 2001… not 6,000 years from now when ridiculously awesome technology will exist. No other MP3 player has a hard drive like this… 5 gigs… Rio of the same size offers 64 megs… get over your moping… this is revolutionary… plus it's just the beginning.

This is not like any other MP3 player on the market, imagine being able to store several days worth of music at once! The iPod will be great for travelers, students, heck anyone who is really into music.

There are already two products similar to this on the market. The Nomad Jukebox and the Archos Jukebox which can come with a 20 gig hard drive. The iPod is obviously a lot cooler and has FireWire, but it is far from revolutionary. I for one am disappointed and think that Apple is making a mistake by trying to get into this market.

This is a nice product. A firewire MP3 player/HD with 5 GB capacity in such a small package. It is a little overpriced for such a device, though.

Opinions are similarly split in this Slashdot thread from the day the iPod was announced.

In an October 2001 column for The New York Times, well-known tech writer David Pogue described the iPod as "the most beautiful and cleverly engineered MP3 player ever," suggesting that it would become a smash hit if Apple lowered its price and made it compatible with Windows:

Apple clearly believes that the iPod's advances in size, speed, function and elegance are worth the $150 price premium, but not everyone feels that way. In an informal poll at the Macworld.com Web site, 40 percent of Mac fans indicated that they would not be buying an iPod, and every single one cited the price.

It should also be noted, however, that the remaining 60 percent had either already ordered iPods or were virtually drooling into their keyboards. They are among the first to succumb to the lure of the most beautiful and cleverly engineered MP3 player ever. But if Apple ever lowers the iPod’s price and develops Windows software for it, watch out: the invasion of the iPod people will surely begin in earnest.

In July 2002, Apple did just that, lowering the price of the 5GB iPod to $299 and extending compatibility to Windows. iPod went on to become the best-selling digital music player in history — at least until smartphones.

More links related to the original iPod:

Apple discontinued the iPod classic in September 2014, followed by the iPod nano and iPod shuffle in July 2017. The only model still available for purchase is the iPod touch, which received a minor refresh last May.

Top Rated Comments

DNichter Avatar
25 months ago
Sounds a lot like the same type of comments we hear today regarding new Apple products.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
25 months ago
MacRumors' comments section could learn a lot from history. With very few exceptions, pretty much every negative comment made 5 or more years ago has been completely disproven with time. I'm sure it'll be the same 5 years later.

All of the below have been failures. Apparently.

Apple Watch, iCloud, Beats acquisition, iPad, MacBook Air, the latest MacBook Pro (and the model before that... oh, and also the one before that...)
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gaximus Avatar
25 months ago
Its almost like people didn't think Apple didn't know what they were doing, only to be proven wrong. Glad this knee jerk reaction doesn't happen any more.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anthonymoody Avatar
25 months ago
Oh MAN am I tempted to DM all the nay sayers from that original thread.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
carlos700 Avatar
25 months ago
"Or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?"

I feel like this has been the same critique for the last 18 years. ?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
840quadra Avatar
25 months ago
I still have my 15gb 3rd generation. The OG iPod Touch, since it was the first touch sensitive iPod with no click or physical buttons. still gets used and works great. I always thought the clickwheel was a step backwards from this design in some ways.



Looking at the archives of this site, I sure do miss some of the old days, and chatting with users no longer active here!

Attachment Image
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1x mac mini screen feature

High-End 'M1X' Mac Mini With New Design and Additional Ports Expected to Launch in the 'Next Several Months'

Sunday August 22, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to launch an updated high-end Mac mini with a new design and a faster "M1X" Apple silicon processor in the "next several months," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. In the latest publication of his Power On newsletter, Gurman writes that a new high-end Mac mini, which has previously been reported to feature a new design with additional ports, can be expected to replace...
mac scanner permission error

Apple Says Fix Planned for 'You Do Not Have Permission to Open the Application' Error When Using a Scanner on Mac

Saturday August 14, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
In a newly published support document on its website, Apple has acknowledged an error that some users may receive when they try to use a scanner with a Mac in the Image Capture app, Preview app, or the Printers & Scanners section of System Preferences. A screenshot of the error message from the HP Support Community When attempting to use a scanner with a Mac, Apple said users might get an...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
macbookpro13large

macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

Sunday November 15, 2020 5:33 am PST by
A large number of late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are reporting that the macOS Big Sur update is bricking their machines. A MacRumors forum thread contains a significant number of users reporting the issue, and similar problems are being reported across Reddit and the Apple Support Communities, suggesting the problem is widespread. Users are reporting that during the...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
General YouTube Feature 1

YouTube Premium and Music Surpass 50 Million Subscribers

Friday September 3, 2021 2:19 am PDT by
YouTube says it has passed 50 million subscribers for its Premium and Music subscriptions, making it the "fastest growing music subscription" service in the world, according to YouTube's global head of music, Lyor Cohen. YouTube says that it has more than 50 million paying subscribers collectively across YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The Google-owned service says it attributes this...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...