The original iPod is now 15 years old.

Back when it was released in 2001, the iPod made Apple the target of high-frenzied acclaim for introducing the next innovation in MP3 players.

Technology has advanced tremendously since then, harboring such a magnitude that serves very little warrant for owning a separate music player other than your own smartphone. That said, it's still fascinating to look at the progression.

The iPod's history is a fine example of not just how rapidly technology has advanced in just 15 years, but also a heartfelt glance on Apple's humble beginnings before its eventual success with mobile products.

Apple's iPod lineup hasn't been getting much love recently, that's for sure. So much of the company's muscle has been flexed for the iPhone and Macs, with the iPod touch gathering dust in the background. It's still a pretty powerful and solid device for music, film, and pretty much anything an iPhone can do minus network calls. Long before it, though, was an interesting sequence of developments, with the iPod earning an LCD display, having more storage, eventually supporting video and then rocking a touchscreen.

Of course, Apple has a special page dedicated to the iPod's history. On that note, here's a brief flashback of Apple's iPod line in honor of its 15th anniversary.

In October 2001, Apple introduced the original iPod, with 5 GB of storage for $399. While the innovation was visible, it still wasn't immune to scrutiny, with many saying that it was a risky move for Apple to release it with a premium price for low-tier specs. It initially didn't sell well, confirming the bulk of market expectations.

But in 2003, something changed all that. Apple released the third-generation iPod along with the iTunes Store, selling a million songs in its first week. Suddenly, everyone had access to the music they liked and could bring them over to a music player that fits in their pocket. And who can forget those delightful, snappy and pastel-friendly iPod ads back in the day?

Over the years, the iPod sustained its status as a innovative product, but at a price. That stopped when the nano, shuffle and mini versions of the iPod came, essentially introducing the iPod series in a very comfortable pricing scheme. By then, everyone could easily own an iPod, and even the term "iPod" was replacing the term "MP3 Player" as a standard way of referring to a portable device that stores music.

In 2007, Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone, to uproarious acclaim. The iPhone stirred the iPod's future, since it basically functioned as an iPod, and then some. Apple released the iPod touch for those who couldn't get the iPhone, but wanted the same experience.

However, iPod technology has plateaued by then. More smartphones sprung, wholly able to function what the iPod stood as, and it slowly became apparent that there was no need to purchase a separate music player if a smartphone can function as one altogether.

Today, while Apple's iPod touch rocks high-end specs closer in vein with the iPhone, it's clear that there isn't much space for it on the market anymore, given that more premium smartphones get cheaper by the second. Still, the iPod is a neat and memorable footnote in Apple's history, touting it up the pantheon of companies who dared to make a blod move and innovate.

Happy 15th birthday, iPod.

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Tags: Apple iPod iTunes