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20 years ago, the iPod was born

Apple unveiled the first iPod on Oct. 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino, Calif. The device was able to hold 1,000 songs.
Apple unveiled the first iPod on Oct. 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino, Calif. The device was able to hold 1,000 songs.

It officially has been 20 years since Apple announced the upcoming release of one of its most iconic products: the iPod.

The company unveiled the first version of its handheld music player to the world on Oct. 23, 2001, and it went on sale the following month. With the slogan "1,000 songs in your pocket," the first-generation iPod was quick to capture the public's attention and was the companion to the newly unveiled iTunes, the digital music software that ushered in a new era of how people listen to music. Apple went on to sell more than 400 million iPods, according to The New York Times.

When Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997 after a 12-year absence, the company was on the verge of losing it all, but the iPod, which NPR described in 2009 as a "quantum leap in listening," was one of the products that turned things around.

Though ubiquitous smartphones have largely replaced portable devices solely dedicated to music, Apple still sells one product under the iPod name: the iPod touch.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.