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September 17, 2009
by Erik Vance

IMPACT: Today, thanks to Apple’s ubiquitous mp3 player, 60 million people around the globe can put on their headphones, lean back on the subway, and pretend the other 5,940,000,000 on Earth don’t exist. Along with huge profits and hyperactive shadow people on billboards, the iPod has introduced several new social yardsticks, such as "see-how-diverse-my-iPod-is" chic and "let’s-use-my-iPod-not-yours-for-background-party-music" arguments. The so-called "cult of iPod" has also changed the way we buy and sell music. Although people still buy CDs, last year MP3s clocked in at 4 percent of the music industry, and iTunes sold more music than Tower Records (which has filed for bankruptcy).


EUREKA MOMENT: Officially, Apple engineers Jon Rubinstein, Tony Fadell, and Michael Dhuey designed the first iPod; designer Jonathan Ive created the distinctive look and control wheel; and Steve Jobs saw the market for it. Rumor has it that the iPod is slightly louder than its competitors because Jobs is partly deaf.

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