It's almost impossible to remember a time before the Apple iPod. You know, back when we carried around cassette decks for running or walked cautiously holding our CD players (so they wouldn't skip when playing back our favorite mixes). Then came the Apple iPod, and it revolutionized the industry. It also ultimate made Apple a household name, and iEverything was born. What's even harder for us to wrap our minds around is that it's now been 20 years since that revolution took place. As with everything that ages, there are few things as satisfying as seeing early prototypes that led to the final design. Thanks to a developer with an early prototype of the Apple iPod
we get to peek behind the curtains, and what's back there is quite neat.
Not all prototypes are pretty, and this early Apple iPod is certainly in that camp. But that's okay, it's a prototype after all, not a final production model. What makes this one quite funny to us is the comical size. In the first image we see the prototype looking like a rudimentary mock-up of what the Apple iPod would become. We see the menu wheel
not in it's final resting place, and the action buttons are just in a straight line—nothing that unusual.
Then we looked to the right and noticed the MacBook sitting next to it, and that really
put things in perspective. This prototype was absolutely massive! Then in another image we see the original Apple iPod sitting on top of the prototype to really give us a sense of scale. Check it out...
Sure, no one would want to run around with an MP3 player that big, so it's nice to see that Apple figured out how to get it to fit in our pockets. While the portable music player wars isn't really a thing anymore, it's nice to remember how far we've come.
While the iPod may not have been the first to market with the idea of a high-capacity, portable music player, it was the one that got it right early on. It ultimately became the market leader for all others to chase, including Microsoft with its failed Zune line of media players.
Today the Apple iPod is still available as the iPod Touch
for those who just want a media player sans phone functions. But really, most people find their music libraries residing right on their cellular mobile devices or a streaming service like Apple Music
Images Courtesy of Panic