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20 years ago today, Apple unveiled the first-ever iPod

First Gen Ipdo
First Gen Ipdo (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's iPod turns 20 today.
  • Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPod on October 23, 2001.
  • At the time he said "With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again."

Today marks the 20 year anniversary of Apple's iPod, announced by Steve Jobs on October 23, 2001.

At a small event in 2001, Apple's co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs told an audience that Apple had "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", claiming that "With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again."

Apple's first iPod let you store 1,000 CD-quality songs on its 5GB hard drive, transferred using a built-in FireWire port. Transferring 1,000 songs took "less than 10-minutes", and Apple boasted 20 minutes of shock protection for the hard drive so that you could use the iPod while running, biking, or exercising.

The first iPod had a 160 x 128 pixel "high-resolution" (yeah, we know) display with an LED backlight. The iPod cost $399 when it was released on November 10, and came with an iTunes 2 CD, earbuds, and the power adapter. The first iPod also brought with it Apple's iconic click wheel, at the time the company described it as the "easiest to use digital device ever." Here's a snippet from the original press release:

The scroll-wheel makes it possible to hold and operate iPod with just one hand and features automatic acceleration when scrolling through long lists so you can find your music in seconds. iPod also features customizable settings such as shuffle, repeat, startup volume, sleep timer and menus in multiple languages including English, French, German and Japanese. iPod can display song data in any of these languages, enabling users to mix and match songs from all over the world.

You can see the first iPod Commercial below:

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.