An occasional review of technology, markets, and ideas.

iPod Release

Breakdown of Steve Jobs' launch presentation of the Apple iPod.

iPod Release

It’s hard to believe that the iPod became available 21 years ago. I remember after seeing the iPod I instantly wanted one since it was way easier to carry around that device rather than my Sony Walkman and folio full of CDs. That said, it wasn’t until much later that I sat down and re-watched Steve Jobs introducing the iPod to really understand the clarity of his product strategy/vision which is what I'm mainly going to focus on in this post.

My main goal is to outline the structure of his presentation since I thought it was one of the clearest example of corporate strategy, using the strategy to determine where to focus energy, and finally how to leverage technology to make something great (rather than having a problem in search of a solution).

There are a couple other things that I think are important to note about the way Jobs presents.

  1. First is the way he always starts with the why (with slides) quickly followed by a demo.
  2. Second is the way that everything is framed in a way that highlights the user benefits. For example, when he talks pricing he first reiterates all the key features of the iPod including the 5GB hard drive, FireWire, 10h battery, and the fact that you can have 1,000 songs in your pocket which was 2 orders of magnitude more than you could hold on a CD and then says that it's being sold for $399.

Jobs outlines Apple’s “Digital Hub Strategy” which boiled down to the idea that the Mac could become the center of your digital lifestyle. The Mac would become the sun around which every other digital device floated.

Jobs then articulated the broad categories of these digital peripherals which included:

  1. Video
  2. Music
  3. DVDs and
  4. Photos
Key Categories of the Digital Hub

Software Updates

Apple has always been about the synthesis of hardware and software so Jobs spoke to the different pieces of software that they had for each quadrant. Over the course of the year, they made improvements to iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, and Image Capture which he spoke to and then demo'd.