A look back at how Apple's hugely successful personal audio device came to dominate the market. (PCMag.com)The Apple iPod burst onto the scene in October 2001 and quickly became the most popular portable music player on the market. The general trend has been toward smaller form factors and higher capacities, though some important new features have been added over the years, including video playback.
While other players may beat the iPod on features, nothing has yet topped the iPods interface, ease of use, and integration with iTunes. And the iPod accessory market makes many of the features not included in the device itself available to those who want them.
Despite the hype, the current iPod actually didnt add much to the previous generation, though the capacity increased (30GB and 80GB models are available) and prices dropped a bit. The most notable improvements are to video battery life and screen brightness. Two interesting new features are a search function and the ability to play full-fledged video games available at the iTunes Music Store (also available to the 5G iPod via a firmware update). Purchased music can also now be transferred back to a PC directly within iTunes. In addition, the device supports gapless audio playback.
Apple played catch-up with its fifth-gen iPod by giving it video playback capabilities, which were already offered on players like the
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