On this day in 2001, Apple unveiled the iPod. That first iPod had 5GB of storage and, in the words of Steve Jobs, “put 1000 songs in your pocket”.
While the iPod was certainly revolutionary, those of us of *ahem* a certain age fondly (or not so fondly) remember another portable music player that changed everything: Sony’s Walkman.
The idea for a lightweight music player was the brainchild of Sony engineer Akio Morita. Because of the nature of his job, Morita spent plenty of time on trans-Atlantic flights, during which he enjoyed listening to opera music on a small cassette player. While he enjoyed the arias, he found his listening device rather cumbersome, and he wondered if it could be made more practical by removing the recording mechanism and creating a cassette player that simply played music and didn’t record it. And with this brainstorm, the Walkman – one of the quintessential symbols of the 1980’s – was born.