This past weekend was the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the iPod, which not only quietly started the remarkable Apple renaissance but also ushered in a new era that would eventually subsume everything, including us.
The iPod anniversary is a good reminder that the arc of time is long and invisible. It is appreciated only in time itself. In the immortal words of Steve Jobs, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”
When iPod launched, digital music was a mess. Napster had awakened us to the potential of digital and online music, but the dream was a nightmare. The music industry hated Silicon Valley. (It still does.) You had to buy compact discs, rip them and then put those files onto your devices. These digital music players had exotic names — iRiver, Rio, and Creative Labs, for example. I had them all. I hated them all, though iRiver was pretty awesome for its time. We were so close, yet so far. Against that backdrop came the iPod.
The day iPod launched — October 23, 2001, a share of Apple would have cost you 33 cents. On Friday, October 22, 2021, a single share of Apple cost a whopping $148.69. Talk about a butterfly flapping its wings!
On the day of its launch, I wasn’t paying much attention. Like millions of other Americans, I was grieving for our nation. (Read more...)