The iPod was the first product that defined Apple commercially. Up until then, Apple had only made desktop computers. The shift to a sleek, user-friendly, and pocket-size device cemented what would become Apple’s identity in the industry.
While the iPod was the beginning of something new for Apple, it also marked the end of an era for rival portable media players like the Sony Walkman or portable CD players. Cassettes and CDs were limited in storage and only supported playback in a preset order. But the iPod could hold 1000 songs in your pocket, with a shuffle feature, or the ability to play songs in a preferred order.
The original iPod didn’t begin as the sleek and polished piece of engineering we saw in to mid-2000s. The prototype model for the iPod was a bulky brick that looked nothing like the original iPod (via Panic Blog). It had a crude design and the dimensions of an oversized portable DVD player — made to throw off leakers before the final product release.