The 10th Anniversary of the iPod [Infographic]

This October marks the 10th anniversary of the iPod, the device that truly made the modern Apple, going on sale. An infographic takes a look at the evolution of the music player over its first decade.I’ll never forget my first iPod. I’d had a portable CD player and even the first portable MP3 player, the Diamond Rio, but the iPod was a revelation. For the first time, I could have my entire music collection at my fingertips without having to fumble to change CDs.

by visually via

With the passing of Steve Jobs recently, it makes sense to take a look back at the device that helped bring about Apple’s incredible renaissance in the first decade of the 21st century.

The iPod was invented by Tony Fadell. Steve Jobs saw something in the idea that RealNetworks and Philips had both passed on. The early prototypes were encased in shoeboxes in order to keep the design a secret.

The device eventually debuted with a scroll wheel, becoming yet another iconic Apple design when the iPod finally hit the streets. But, as with any other Apple product, it earned nearly as many haters as it did fans, with one critic saying that the name was an acronym for Idiots Price Our Devices.

Even if the concept of the MP3 player wasn’t exactly new and the iPod only worked with Macs, they still flew off store shelves. The device just seemed to have a je ne sais quoi about it, as Apple products usually do. Or the idea of having their entire music libraries in their pockets outweighed the iPod’s supposed drawbacks.

But the model evolved, first by replacing the scroll wheel with a touch wheel, then adding color, then introducing the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. And finally the iPod touch debuted in 2007, essentially an iPhone without the phone.

Those famous silhouette dancing commercials also helped make the iPod into a cultural icon. Those trademark white earbuds started sprouting out of coat pockets everywhere, and even people like Pope Benedict XVI and Queen Elizabeth II had one, which was gifted by President Obama. Of course, in recent years the iPod has been overtaken by the iPhone in terms of  popularity,  but it looks like it will be around for some time, at least for people who don’t want to get locked in a cell phone contract just to get an iPhone.

If you like this, you can read our look back on the life of Steve Jobs and our coverage of the launch of the iPhone 4s.