Fourteen years ago, Apple was beginning to come back from the brink, led by the late CEO and co-founder of the company Steve Jobs. On October 23, 2001, Jobs introduced the device that is credited with jumpstarting the company’s fortunes, making CDs and other MP3 players obsolete, and pointing the direction towards consuming music and other media off of thin, lightweight and pocketable devices — the iPod.
At the time, Apple only had one product line — the Mac. Jobs took the stage and surprised the Mac faithful by saying that he was going to introduce a product that he described as a “breakthrough digital device that’s not a Mac.”
At the time, most MP3 players held just a handful of tunes — perfect for a run, but not capable of holding the thousands of songs in a person’s music library. In addition, the user interface on most of these devices was horrible. Apple revolutionized the business by using a small hard drive that could hold a thousand songs or more, and make individual songs or playlists simple to find.
Did the gamble work? Yes. Apple opened its online music store — at that time called the iTunes Music Store) — on April 28, 2003, and the company has been the largest music vendor in the world since early 2010.