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Twelve years ago this winter, Apple released a product that would revolutionise listening to music forever. They released something called the iPod – a white, rectangular block slightly smaller than your hand which could hold up to 1000 songs, easily fit into a pocket and be operated with just a thumb whilst the user was walking to the shops.

Portable cassette players were just about gone, replaced by the portable CD player (although this was soon to be replaced by the MP3 player) and now this new gadget which, at the time featured a black and white screen with a scroll wheel which could be used to scroll through artists and songs in alphabetical order and then chosen by pressing the round button in the centre of the wheel.

Upon the iPod’s inception the Apple Store didn’t exist yet so the only way to listen to one’s music on the iPod was to rip CDs onto their Apple computer or laptop before dragging and dropping the tracks into iTunes. Two years later Apple released the third iPod which could now hold up to 7,500 tracks along with the now instantly recognisable silhouette ads. The second model was the same as the first but now contained Microsoft compatibility.

By using modern/recent and upbeat songs, these ads became useful in launching and boosting the careers of, at the time, less-recognised musicians or as advertising for new releases. Artists included in these ads included N.E.R.D, Black Eyed Peas, Jet and U2 who would soon have their own signature red and black iPod released.

2004 saw the release of the iPod Mini which did everything the iPod did but was half the size and the sale of 10 million iPods since its release. Of the iPod, Bono has been quoted as saying “The iPod is probably the greatest pop object since the electric guitar…We—as a band—talked about the idea for an iPod years ago.”

A year later, in 2005, Apple released an iPod which could play music videos and films, purchasable through the Apple store followed by the Mini’s replacement known as the iPod Nano. Furthermore, the iPod Shuffle was also released as something to attract those interested in athletics.

Over four years, between 2006 and 2012, Apple released five versions of the Nano (by now the best-selling iPod ever) along with a colourful selection of iPod Shuffles.

Happy 12th Birthday, iPod

2007, however, was a staple year for the iPod as it saw the advent of the iPod Touch. With this, people could listen to music while also browsing the Internet, reading emails and playing games, all in the palm of their hand. By September 2012, Apple had sold in excess of 350 million iPods since its 2001 release and today, it’s almost impossible to walk to town or go shopping without seeing someone wearing a pair of headphones or white earphones and fiddling with a shiny little music player.

In the video below you can see every model of iPod released so far:

http://youtu.be/r8oLAq–wf0

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