Many of us might look back on the release of the iPod and take its success as a given. After all, it was such a market innovation with a clever, simple marketing idea behind it - 1,000 songs in your pocket - that it's easy to see why it became such a stellar success.
In hindsight, at least. To date, hundreds of millions of iPods have been sold, and the current line sees many different series, including the Shuffle, the Nano, the Classic, and the Touch.
So what has led to the rise of a product like this, and what kind of market must have it appealed to in order to garner such a massive worldwide following?
Let's take a look back at this innovation known as the iPod.
The iPod started its run back in 2001, having been launched on October 23rd of that year. Initially branded as "1,000 songs in your pocket," - a look at the current Apple page for the iPod Classic advertises 40,000 songs - the concept had apparently been ordered by Steve Jobs and handed over to a team of engineers who set about developing it. Interestingly, it was the work of a copy writer to come up with the name "iPod," being a slight reference to the line "Open the pod bay doors, HAL" in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
It doesn't take a historian to figure out where this initial launch has led. Although some now-extinct iPod series had been developed, including the iPod Mini and the iPod Photo, we have now arrived at a core of iPod products that each feature a range of functionality differences and features. The iPod Shuffle - the simplest iPod out there - strips the iPod down to its bare essentials and simply plays audio with a few basic buttons to help you orchestrate them.
One of the great things about the iPod is that it is simple and easy to market. A concept like "1,000 songs in your pocket" is simple and sells itself: that's all someone needs to know in order to justify spending a lot of money on a portable music player. With a thousand songs in your pocket, there's really no reason to ever worry about buying another electronic gadget like that in the future again...right?
The iPod continues to dominate the marketplace with clever marketing and ever-increasing abilities in products that have developed outside of the original scope of a small, portable music player. Instead of being a better way to play songs - not with CDs, but with stored information - the new iPods have introduced cameras, video, and even Internet browsing into the world of portable electronics. With the release of the iPhone just a few short years ago, the idea of the personal gadget has evolved to new levels. In 2010, the world of smart phones is tightly connected with the Internet, games, music, and videos. What was once revolutionary is slowly becoming standard.
Simplicity and Wide Appeal
Finally, we'll want to consider one of the more obvious aspects of the iPod that makes it so effective: its simplicity. iPods don't try to do too much for you. Even the advanced iPod Touch doesn't do anything unless you press a simple icon on the main screen. The original iPods are simple, with the famous click wheel helping you easily navigate the menus in order to select the song of your choice. The simpler an iPod is, the less there is for customers to hate.
Why is the iPod so successful. Well, ask yourself if you own one. Do you? If so, then all you really have to understand is what prompted you to buy one.