iPod Socks »

In 2004, Apple introduced a very curious accessory for its music player: iPod Socks.

Coverage of the Original iPod 

The iPod turns 15 years old today. I thought it would be fun to revisit early coverage of the music player to see how people responded to it at the time.

The Brown Fury at Slashdot:

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Jonathan Seff at Macworld didn’t seem to think the Nomad comparison was a big deal, and praised the speed FireWire 400 brought to transfers:

The iPod has a smaller hard drive than the 20GB, USB-based Nomad Jukebox, but its FireWire interface makes the USB connections on other MP3 players seem slower than molasses. It takes hours to transfer 5GB of music files to a music player that connects via USB; the iPod can transfer that amount in as little as 12 minutes.

Walt Mossberg was impressed and compared the iPod to other MP3 players of the day:

Portable digital music players are frustrating gadgets. These hand-held devices, which play songs in the MP3 format, seem like a great idea, but they are hobbled by major drawbacks.

Some can hold only a scant 10-20 songs on little memory cards too expensive to buy in quantity. Others include built-in hard disks that can hold hundreds or thousands of songs, but are large and bulky with lousy battery life.

For the past 10 days or so, however, I’ve been testing a terrific digital music player that solves all of these problems. It has massive storage capacity, is small and light enough to slip into a pocket and can be run nonstop for an impressive amount of time. Its controls are simple and clear, and it downloads music from a computer at blazing speeds.

It’s no surprise that this new music player, called the iPod, comes from a company with a long history of great engineering and user-oriented design: Apple Computer. This is Apple’s first noncomputer product in years, and it’s a design home run. The iPod is simply the best digital music player I’ve seen. It costs $399, and will be available Nov. 10.

David Pogue wanted Apple to push harder:

Apple clearly believes that the iPod’s advances in size, speed, function and elegance are worth the $150 price premium, but not everyone feels that way. In an informal poll at the Macworld.com Web site, 40 percent of Mac fans indicated that they would not be buying an iPod, and every single one cited the price.

It should also be noted, however, that the remaining 60 percent had either already ordered iPods or were virtually drooling onto their keyboards. They are among the first to succumb to the lure of the most beautiful and cleverly engineered MP3 player ever. But if Apple ever lowers the iPod’s price and develops Windows software for it, watch out: the invasion of the iPod people will surely begin in earnest.

Apple would end up doing both, but that’s a story for a different time.

Margaret Kane wondered if the $399 price tag was too high:

It’s an important product for Apple. For starters, the iPod is the company’s first foray into the consumer electronics market and marks an effort to use Mac-powered devices to drive sales for its product line. The move comes with a question mark, however: Has Apple created another iMac-like hit or a well-designed but too expensive flop like its Cube?

Eliot Van Buskirk didn’t seem to share that concern, and wrote an amazingly forward-thinking review:

I know that Mac-only compatibility is just one of the things that people will complain about in reference to this device. But the naysayers have it wrong, and I’ll tell you why: The iPod is revolutionary in a number of ways, and its descendants will replace the PC.

(I’m typing this on my iPad.)

Not everyone could see this future. Rodney O. Lain didn’t:

I don’t want Apple to relegate itself to an also-ran. Apple is shaping up, with the iPod, to be the Sony of the computer industry. This bodes well for those interested in more “pedestrian” devices like MP3 players. But there are those of us who would like an Apple solution for tasks like portable computing, easy networking (when is AirPort gonna move past 11 Mbps?), and power computing. This is the end towards which the company is money will be made.

Fifteen Years Ago, Steve Jobs Announced the iPod 


Fifteen years ago today, Steve Jobs announced the original iPod.

His pitch was simple: 1,000 songs in your pocket.

The iPod was designed to easily sync all of your digital music. You could take it with you, wherever you went.

In a world where portable music meant often carring a battery-powered CD player and a huge wallet of discs, this was a revolution.

The original model used a 5 GB spinning hard drive, which allowed granted the music player both portability and density. Most people didn’t have 5 GB of digital music in 2001. FireWire 400 meant data transfers were nice and speedy, and its 10 hours of battery life was good enough to not worry about recharging in the middle of the day.

In a way, though, the specs didn’t matter. The iPod was small, easy to use and offered a great user experience. I recently spent some time with mine, and it’s shocking how much Apple got right with its first try.

Today, the iPod seems old-fashioned. Our smartphones have access to the all of the world’s media with just a few taps in apps like Apple Music, Spotify or YouTube. In 2001, that seemed like science fiction.

The iPod, however, was cool.

‘hello again’ 

Apple today announced an event that will take place on October 27. Here’s what the invite looks like:


Wait, damn it. That’s not right. Hang on.

Here we go:

Hello again

Crap. This is confusing. Let me see what Jason posted.

There we go:

Hello again again

I guess we’re getting Macs. I highly doubt that new MacBook Pros will have the same historical impact as the Macintosh and iMac, but it’s fun that Apple revisited the tagline.

On the Mac’s Stale System Sounds »

Jason Snell, arguing that the Mac’s system sounds deserve some attention:

The Mac comes with 14 built-in alert sounds, all available from the Sound Effects tab of the Sound preference pane. One of them, Sosumi, dates from System 7. Three more—Glass, Purr, and Submarine—date from Mac OS 9. Six others (Basso, Frog, Funk, Ping, Pop, Tink) are from the earliest days of OS X. The newest ones seem to be Blow, Bottle, Hero, and Morse—and they’ve been around since at least Snow Leopard in 2009.

These alerts don’t just show up as system beeps. They also appear in other places, such as alert sounds when you’re reminded of calendar events. And they’re just so stale.


Xserves Still in Use »

Andrew Cunningham at Ars:

Apple put the final nail in the Xserve’s coffin in January 2011 when it officially stopped selling rack-mounted servers. Instead, the company started pushing server customers toward Mac Pros and Minis. On Sept. 20 of this year, Apple lowered that coffin into the ground when macOS Sierra dropped software support for the systems. And while Xserves running El Capitan will keep getting security updates for a couple of years and the current build of the macOS Server software still runs on El Capitan, the hardware will soon be completely buried.

For a few years after the Xserve’s death, the company offered Mac Pro and Mac Mini Server configurations (PDF) that could do some of the same things, but even those options eventually disappeared. Even though Apple never offered true server-class hardware again, that doesn’t mean the hardware isn’t still out there doing its job.

Ken Segall Visits Prague Apple Museum »

Ken Segall:

So, yes, I did visit the Apple Museum on my first day in the Czech Republic last week. (Do I get any points if I walked across the Charles Bridge to get there?) I even sat down with the museum’s manager days later to learn a bit more.

Now that I’m back in New York, here are some photos and observations from my little adventure.

Back in Black(book) »

This month at iMore, I wrote about everyone’s favorite notebook:

Like its predecessor, the MacBook’s case was plastic: The two lower-end models used an outer shell that was glossy like the iBook; the screen bezel, trackpad and keyboard were in a nice, matte white.

But the most expensive MacBook model, which cost $200 more at launch, came in black.