We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and give respect to Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2014/42/1 Digital Media Players (4), iPod 10GB model A1019, iPod 20GB model A1040, iPod 60GB model A1099 & iPod 512MB Shuffle model A1112, original packaging, ear buds, holsters, interconnects, software, warranties and user guides, paper / plastic / metal / electronic components, designed by Jonatha. Click to enlarge.

Apple iPod classic second, third and forth generation and iPod shuffle demonstrating evolution of Apple product line

  • 2002-2005
Apple's iPod was a digital media player (DMP) - a physical product with a screen and controls that integrated extraordinarily well with a desk top computer application and an internet service (iTunes). When it was released in late 2001 it quickly became the top selling device of its kind. By 2008 Apple's iPod classic and variations on it were generating 40% of Apple's total revenue before declining as Apple's iPhone and iPod touch made the iPod redundant.

The three iPod classics seen in conjunction with the first generation iPod classic (2013/101/1) illustrate the evolution of the product and the product interface; the changing method of activation from physically switched controls to touch and their arrangement on the face of the iPod from wheel to isolated elements and then integrated back into the wheel presents a neat study of the balancing act between using new technologies and restraining the form.

The iPod accumulated social cachet as it was avidly consumed by a new wave of digital admirers. It was incredibly attractive in its distinctive use of white and clear acrylic - it was also a joy to hold, touch and use. While there had been previous attempts to produce digital media devices, none had produced an elegant solution to the human / DMP interface. The astonishingly simple controls that Apple employed in their iPod resolved all the functions of the machine into five buttons and one scroll wheel which presented a friendly and intuitive interaction with the device. These controls facilitated easy access to music files through a simple organisation and display of the data hierarchy - allowing the user to locate and play a file in three steps.

Apple brought the iPod to market swiftly (developed within eight months of inception). It did so while the music industry flustered over peer to peer music sharing services which had sprung up in the late 1990s (Napster 1999-2001). With no solution to this new music distribution system - extraordinarily reticent considering the music industry had previously shown great savvy at adopting digital recording, mastering and product formats (Compact Disk) in the 1980s - Apple forged a deal with record companies to join their iTunes service to distribute files for iPods.

Looking at the way Apple develops products reveals their understanding of creativity and innovation, how existing ideas can be brought by refinement to perfection. While industry players were making attempts at portable media players, and music companies were struggling to accept and deal with new digital distribution models and systems, Apple took an idea and made it happen. Apple's diligence in perfecting and presenting an emerging technology to the public was again triumphant.

Campbell Bickerstaff, 2014

Summary

Object No.

2014/42/1

Object Statement

Digital Media Players (4), iPod 10GB model A1019, iPod 20GB model A1040, iPod 60GB model A1099 & iPod 512MB Shuffle model A1112, original packaging, ear buds, holsters, interconnects, software, warranties and user guides, paper / plastic / metal / electronic components, designed by Jonathan Ive, made by Apple Inc, California, United States of America, 2002-2005

Physical Description

Second generation iPod
Digital Media Player, iPod 10GB model A1019 (touch wheel), original packaging, ear buds, holsters, interconnect, software, warranty and user guide, paper / plastic / metal / electronic components, designed by Apple, California, USA, 2002

Third generation iPod
Digital Media Player, iPod 20GB model A1040 (dock connector), original packaging, ear buds, interconnect controller, software, warranty and user guide, paper / plastic / metal / electronic components, designed by Apple, California, USA, 2003

Fourth generation iPod
Digital Media Player, iPod 60GB model A1099 (click wheel) colour, original packaging, ear buds, holster, software, warranty and user guide, paper / plastic / metal / electronic components, designed by Apple, California, USA, 2005

First generation shuffle
Digital Media Player, iPod 512MB Shuffle model A1112, original packaging, ear buds, lanyard, software, warranty and user guide, paper / plastic / metal / electronic components, designed by Apple, California, USA, 2005

Production

Notes

The products designed by Jonathan Ive for Apple encompass a register from flamboyant to restrained. These examples of Ive's work demonstrate the demands on design and engineering made by an evolving product line, the use of materials, the evolution of the interface, reduced volumes and a playfulness that made Apple products from this period distinctly different to any other information technology manufacturer.

History

Notes

During the 1990s more portable personal devices began to appear - smaller laptop computers and personal digital assistants (PDA) such as Palm Pilot and Apple's Newton. Developments in this new range of products were less differentiated by their physical design and more and more by their software. The iPod became as much a new software device as a physical product - the iPhone and iPad taking that consumer electronics / software combination to the next level.

Apple commenced development of their own digital audio software after being knocked back by Adobe (when approached to develop a Mac equivalent of Adobe's Winamp for Windows on PC in 1999). Jobs took up the challenge and set in motion his ' Digital Hub strategy' producing software for Apple in-house. iMovie was the first product in this arena (coupled to a consumer grade drive to burn Digital Video Disks on). Jobs assembled the people and talent that went on the make the digital music strategy work - iTunes (SoundJam), and the iPod software (Pixo) and hardware sourced by Jon Rubinstein - especially the small LCD screen, rechargeable lithium-polymer power cell and the 1.8 inch 5GB drive from Toshiba a few months later. Tony Fadell was to lead the project and Jony Ive executed the industrial design.

The industry and social impact of the iPod was pervasive - its distinct design, white ear buds and cables were the object of admiration and ridicule. Third party companies made and supplied various accessories and many automobile manufacturers installed iPod docking mechanisms as standard features. Independent stereo manufacturers began to include iPod integration slots in their machines.

Apple orchestrated an international promotional campaign to support the iPod that sought to appeal to a street-wise youth audience - using stark silhouetted images of highly stylised slim young people in various dynamic postures. Within these images the ice-white iPods with their matching ice-white ear bud cables stood in high contrast to the single colour backdrops and the silhouette figure. The power of these memorable images was later (2004) subverted by a culture-jamming street campaign using the same compositional structure to bring horrific images of abuse at the US military prison Abu Ghraib to the attention of the public as opposition to the war in Iraq (iRaq) grew.

In early 2008 iPod sales were responsible for generating 40% of all revenue - this figure dropped dramatically by the end of that year following increasing sales of the Apple iPhone.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Jones Architecture, 2014

Acquisition Date

8 April 2014

Cite this Object

Harvard

Apple iPod classic second, third and forth generation and iPod shuffle demonstrating evolution of Apple product line 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 February 2021, <https://ma.as/494429>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/494429 |title=Apple iPod classic second, third and forth generation and iPod shuffle demonstrating evolution of Apple product line |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 February 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}