'Another freaking MP3 player': What cynics said about the iPod, back in 2001

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Hindsight is 20/20, and predicting which new tech gadgets will be hits and which will flop is a fool's game. But it's still funny to look back at the people who were dead wrong about a world-changing tech innovation, years after the fact.

Take this thread on MacRumors, a popular Apple fan blog, from 2001—the same year the original iPod was introduced.


The thread is called "Apple's New Thing (iPod)," and it links to a roundup of leaked details of the first iPod. Fans on the message board were skeptical of Steve Jobs's plans to branch out from iMacs and PowerBooks and get into the music business. (Remember: back in 2001, Apple mostly made computers, and other companies had already released standalone MP3 players.)

Apple fans were outraged about this stupid-sounding "iPod" thing:

"Great just what the world needs, another freaking MP3 player. Go Steve! Where's the Newton?!" wrote user "WeezerX80."

"iPoop…iCry. I was so hoping for something more," wrote user "elitemacor."


"No ***** Way. All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve's mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off," wrote user "nobody special."


"gee! an mp3 player with a HD! how original! kinda reminds me of a JUKEBOX i once knew.." wrote user ooh wow.


"Why oh why would they do this?! It's so wrong! It's so stupid!" wrote WeezerX80 (again).


User "Pants" encouraged Apple to focus on servers instead of MP3 players. "Are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?"


And that's just the first page! Later on in the thread, we are treated to opinions like:

"$399 is just too much for an MP3 jukebox. Sorry Steve, this isn't it…"

"I'm really disappointed. So much hype and anticipation that it was hardly 'groundbreaking,' moreso 'heartbreaking.'


"I for one am disappointed and think that apple is making a mistake by trying to get into this market."

The iPod, of course, would ultimately become one of the best-selling electronics devices of all-time, with more than 400 million units sold. Along with iTunes, the iPod helped revolutionize the music industry, and position Apple as a company that made more than just computers. (Perhaps more importantly, the iPod's development would lead to the iPhone, which turned Apple into a global juggernaut.)


You couldn't have known all of that back in 2001, of course. But unfortunately for these message board cynics, their doubts have been preserved for history.

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