Designer Apple
Dates First designed in 2001


The iPod was first introduced in 2001 during the time when many digital audio devices were growing in demand and popularity. However, the iPod became the most prominent and a popular choice for MP3’s due to its simple yet innovative interface revolving around the click wheel. Since than, many generations of its kind were introduced but offering newer features to appeal to all types of people and lifestyle needs. For example, the first generations of the iPod were designed for mainly digital audio uses but later it was capable of storing videos, images and files. The mechanical scroll wheel was also replaced by a touch sensitive click wheel for a smoother and faster access. The physical design also changed and took form in a smaller size such as the Nano and Shuffle. These models excluded the screen display but the size was suitable for an active lifestyle such as taking it to the gym and it was light enough to wear with a chain around the neck. iPod became the best selling range of digital audio players in 2004 and continue to be popular today.

A Personal View

There are mainly three mp3 players that I’ve ever owned and one of them includes the iPod mini. The other two were made by Sony and although attractive in appearance, it often lacked stability. One of the most common problems that often occur with me is dropping or physical damaging the digital players. The rock hard shell on the iPod means that it will survive most accidents and will last much longer than most of my other players. Attention to detail is important and I like how they have taken into consideration how important the material can also be.

I also like the touch sensitive wheel because it makes it interesting to scroll and easy to access files. This straight forward interface and simple design appearance means less time working out which button does what and more time spent listening to music.

The fact that you can now carry files and images means that it has multiple uses as well as being able to store and listen to music. It’s also a very handy solution to back up files from the PC in case you lose anything. You have no excuses to use anything thing else other than the iPod due to its many uses. Apple has thought about the modern technology and how it fits around our lifestyle by making things more convenient.

It has also somewhat became a style icon and a fashion accessory. The Apple Company are very famous for branding their products that suggests aesthetic appreciation, wealth and sophistication. This is often seen in their Apple Mac computers and is also appearing in their iPod players too. Therefore people are not only buying it for good design but also purchasing a type of lifestyle. It is also very easy to identify someone carrying an iPod player by the white headphones used that comes with the product. This is also seen in their advertisements where a black silhouette dancing to popular music and the iPod stands out revealing the headphones and sometimes the player. It is the headphone that you first see and recognise. This has become a fashionable accessory and a clever marketing idea.

The only criticism that I have is that Apple has a habit of releasing and re-releasing to improve the older model which means buying the latest model could risk being outdated very quickly.


MP3 players that were made before the existence of the iPod were often considered ‘big, clunky or small and useless’ and the interface were often difficult to use. It was than when Apple’s hardware engineering, Chief Jon Rubinstein brought together a team to help design and manufacture the birth of iPod. Its name came from freelance copywriter, Vinnie Chieco who thought of it after watching of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey referring to the white pods of a spaceship.

The interesting thing about the iPod is that its physical shape almost matches the golden ratio of 1:618 which will appeal to many people aesthetically on a subconscious level. Other mp3 players doesn’t come as close such as the Creative Zen player which has a ratio of 1:1.47 whereas the iPod has a 1:1.67 ratio.

The iPod increasing popularity reached its peak in 2004 when it dominated the digital music player world by reaching over 90% of the market sales. They have since than won several awards for its innovative design, engineering excellence as well as ease of use. It was voted best computer product of 2006.

The design of the iPod broke the mould of what an audio player use to look and play like. It inspired many companies to produce innovative mp3 players that follow the simple but innovative approach that the iPod has. One example is the latest Samsung mp3 model which is simply black, shiny like the iPod and has a simple touch screen interface. The unique innovation of this design is being able to slide open the device which reveals a speaker where quality sound is played aloud as well as being able to close it and listen to music privately. I admire the inspiration and design impact the iPod has had on the past and future audio players. It has left it’s successful mark in history and proving that innovative design, clever use of materials and creativity matters.


http://www.apple.com/ipod/ipod.html - The official iPod website.

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61688 - Identifying iPod Models.

Author: Samantha Cheung Date: March 2007