Development History of the Apple IPod

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Today, the advent of the iPod Touch is being applauded as one of the foremost entertainment products available. The iPod Touch has a good, and by modern technological standards, a distinguished pedigree. This newest member of the iPod dynasty has evolved however, almost entirely within the 21st century.

The need for the first iPod resulted from Apple’s recognition that that the development of digital products were moving at a fast pace for most new digital devices such as organizers, digital cameras and the like, but access to digital music remained tied to older technology based devices. Being the market led company that they are, Apple established its design and engineering teams and set them to work devising a music player to meet market demand. The very first iPod was launched upon the world in the latter months of 2001 and received a rapturous reception from an excited public. It soon established itself as a must-have, iconic product of good quality, even though some saw it as rather expensive.

The second generation was announced when in 2002, Apple released a PC version of its iPod product, so now there was one for the PC market and one for Mac users. By this clever move, Apple immediately opened up the potential market further and at the same time massively boosted sales. The strategy for development of the iPod then became clear; Apple would maintain high investment in leading edge design and engineering to continue its differentiation from would-be competitors. At the same time it would maintain its pricing model for its high end products. This appears to be quite a successful policy, given that some 150 million plus units have been sold to date.

This by now, annual announcement of the next generation brought the third generation in 2003 where all controls evolved into the touch sensitive variety, and took us on to the fourth generation in 2004. This was based on making most models in the line up smaller and had been immediately preceded by the introduction of the iPod Mini model which had introduced the clickwheel control. Shortly after this announcement, the iPod Photo was introduced , complete with color screen for displaying still photographs, but this only lasted a few months as all other models were updated to color screens.

In 2005, the continuing rollout of models saw the introduction of the simplified and cut down model without even a screen, called the iPod Shuffle. This was another Apple marketing masterpiece that was readily taken up, and indeed is now in its own third generation of development. Other introductions included the iPod Nano, which was tiny but did have a screen.

Later in the year, true to form, Apple announced the fifth generation of the iPod concept. By now we were looking at a video version of the whole iPod range, that could now play movies and video games, together with updated versions of the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano.

By January 2007, Apple was ready to announce its move into the cell phone world with the launch of its iPhone, which was not strictly part of the iPod range and in September 2007 a complete revamp of the iPod range of models was announced. This was officially described as the sixth generation launch although by now it was out of annual sequence.The main excitement was caused by the introduction of the iPod Touch, which was actually the iPhone without the phone or camera facilities. The revamp was something of a rationalization for the range, which is now based on the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, the original iPod Classic and the iPod Touch, complemented by the all singing, all dancing iPhone.

During 2008, there have been further improvements in the specifications of the iPhone and iPod Touch and no doubt changes to other models are in the pipeline. It is clear then, that Apple’s commitment to ongoing and exciting design and engineering development is set to continue into the foreseeable future.

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