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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

How far have you come in the last 12 years?

Apple's first iPod, which went on sale 12 years ago today.

Apple Inc.

Apple's first iPod, which went on sale 12 years ago today.



Think 12 years seems like a long time? It was Nov. 11, 2001, that Apple released its first iPod.

"Hardly anyone on Wall Street or in the tech press believed the iPod would be a success," Michael Grothaus notes for The Unofficial Apple Weblog. In fact, he dug up this gem of a prediction from The Street:

Don't buy Apple's (AAPL) stock. And if you own it, sell it. I know the company has a core following that is loyal, even cultlike, but the broader base of believers has been steadily eroding for years.

To wager on this company is to bet that the exodus of users can be staunched and then, implausibly, reversed. It's hard to imagine such a scenario, given Apple's shrinking girth. With less than 5% of the market, the company is no longer an afterthought in PCs — it's irrelevant.

(I don't own any Apple stock. But if I'd bought a share on Nov. 9, 2001, the last trading day before the iPod first went on sale, it would have cost me $18.71 — an investment that would be worth about $1,045.70 today. Keep that in mind the next time a financial analyst assures you they know what's going on.)

Consider what the world was like before that. If you listened to something other than the radio in your car, it was likely a CD player or (ugh) tape deck. If there was a cell phone you lusted after, it probably had a Nokia logo on it. If you carried a PDA, it was a Palm or Windows Pocket PC (but probably not a Windows PC).

Then Apple put its iPod on sale, and within five years iPod users were clamoring for some kind of an iPod phone. They got one of those in 2007, and for better or worse the world has never been the same.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 2:24pm]


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