Apple Ipod

1258 Words6 Pages
GO INTO ANY SUBWAY CAR or fitness center or airplane cabin or school lounge and you will see something you did not see five years ago. Snaking out of people's ears are white cords attached to tiny boxes that sometimes you will see them fiddling with, twirling their fingers on a circle on the surface of the device.

You know, of course, what I'm talking about. In fact, the odds are good that even as you observe this, your own ears are exploding in sound maybe the just-downloaded croonings of Bob Dylan's latest offering, a classic Philadelphia Orchestra symphony or an amateur "podcast" featuring a barroom-style discussion of last week's NFL games. Or perhaps your device is displaying a scene from last week's episode of "The Office."

If so, you are tethered to one of the 60 million - and counting fast - iPod music players sold by Apple Computer in the last five years. And though it may seem you are doing it simply because you like the music and are pleased by the award-winning industrial design, you can congratulate yourself for participating in something a lot bigger than the tiny iPod: a revolution that has helped topple the idea that record labels, studios and broadcasters should set the terms for how and when you entertain yourself. Instead, Apple's ubiquitous gadget has ushered in the era of shuffle.

Happy birthday, iPod. It was on Oct. 23, 2001, that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs stood before a relatively modest crowd in an auditorium on the company campus in Cupertino and reached into his jeans pocket to fish out a 6.4-ounce gizmo that he described (with the hyperbole Jobs exhales routinely) as "a major, major breakthrough."

This time, however, it was no exaggeration. Though it took Apple well over a year to sell its first million units, during the last holiday season it was moving a million iPods every week. It holds a market share of about 75% of the MP3-player market (an astounding figure for a consumer electronics category). Its iTunes music store has an even more impressive 88% share of legal song downloads.

Yes, there have been complaints. The batteries can fade too soon, the on-off switch isn't obvious, and the songs you buy from Apple won't play on competing devices (likewise, songs you buy from competing online stores won't play on iPods). And critics behold the masses in white ear buds and bemoan a nation of MP3 zombies.

More about Apple Ipod

Open Document