The IPod Joins A List Of Once Popular Consumer Electronic Products

The IPod Joins A List Of Once Popular Consumer Electronic Products
Last month Apple announced they would no longer be producing their iconic iPod. The demise of the once popular MP3 player joined a growing list of once-popular consumer electronic products who quickly became passé. While there are many one-time popular products no longer available (e.g., floppy disks, 8-track tapes, etc.) We will look at videocassette recorders, the cassette Walkman and the Blackberry. All of them were everyday consumer electronic products just a few years back. These products were done in by streaming audio, streaming video and multifunctional smartphones.

Meanwhile, there are other once popular products that are losing out in popularity to newer products with enhanced technology. It would be fun to take a look back at some of them. iPod: The earliest versions of MP3 players became available in the late 1990s but held fewer than 100 songs. Also, in 1999, Napster, a peer-to-peer sharing platform was launched enabling 80 million registered users with the iPod that users could purchase and download songs at the iTunes store for 99 cents. The Apple iTunes store would soon become the world’s largest music retailer. Shortly thereafter, other rival companies, Sony and MicrosoftMSFT +1.4%, launched competitive MP3 players but were not as popular. Moreover, after a series of lawsuits, Napster shut down in 2001.

Apple’s iPod was introduced in October 2001. The original iPod weighed just 6.5 ounces and could hold up to 1,000 songs with a battery life of up to ten hours. The first iPod sold for $399 and Apple sold less than 400,000 in their first year. With smaller and less costly devices (I.e., Mini, Nano, Shuffle, Touch etc.) on the way, Apple eventually sold an estimate 450 million iPods.

The iPod, backed with a clever marketing strategy, became a “must-have” product. Additionally, the iPod was the first product that helped Apple reverse its revenue fortunes (Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997). Today Apple is the largest tech company with a market cap of over $2 trillion.

Helping to phase out the iPod was Apple’s own iPhone which enabled users to listen to music on their phones. In its final year of production only three million devices were sold (compared to 250 million iPhones). Another iPod legacy is the term “podcasting”, formerly known as “audioblogs”, was named after the iPod.
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