Apple iPod celebrates 12th birthday; success of the device started Apple on the road to the iPhone
The second event that led to the introduction of the Apple iPhone actually occurred a little less than two years before the Motorola handset was introduced. On November 10th 2001, Apple unveiled the very first Apple iPod. The first few months, the enhanced MP3 player could connect to iTunes only via a Mac. Priced at $399, the first iPod had a 128 x 160 "high-resolution display" and was packed with 5GB of storage. 1000 songs could be kept on the device. Phil Schiller, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing predicted that the device would be a hot seller for the holidays. During the fourth quarter of that year, Apple sold 125,000 units.
Two years later, 1 million iPods were shipped and that number soared to 4.4 million the very next year. By the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2005, Apple shipped 22.5 million units with another 39.4 million sold by the same point the following year. By the time the first Apple iPhone was sold, Apple had cumulative sales of the device that exceeded 100 million iPods and iTunes was a library with 5 million songs. The success of this product gave Apple the confidence to take on a more complicated mobile phone industry. The iPod helped Apple build mobile devices and cement relationships for parts, distribution and marketing of Cupertino's iconic smartphone. In other words, the iPod helped Apple learn how to create, manufacture and sell a mobile product.
We can't say that had there been no iPod, the iPhone would never had existed. Jobs' frustration with the ROKR E1 pretty much proves that. But without the success of the iPod, the iPhone might have been different. It almost certainly would have taken longer to develop. As it is, iPhone users can thank the iPod for its contribution to the development of a product that did change the mobile phone industry forever. Happy 12th Birthday, Apple iPod!