The iPod started with a modest goal: let’s create a music product that makes people buy more Macintosh computers. In a few years, this will change the consumer electronics and music industry and make Apple the most valuable company in the world.

Arriving in October 2001, the pocket-sized rectangle with a white face and polished steel frame weighed 6.5 ounces. It was packaged with white headphones in a custom color, moon-gray, and contained 1,000 songs.

In the following years, it grew in popularity, creating what became known as the iPod generation. For most of the 2000s, people wandered the world with headphones dangling from their ears. The iPod was ubiquitous.

On Tuesday, Apple officially said goodbye to all this. The company announced it had phased out production of its iPod Touch, which halted two decades of product line-up that inspired the iPhone and helped turn Silicon Valley into the epicenter of global capitalism.

According to Loup Ventures, a venture company specializing in technology research, since the introduction of the iPod in 2001, Apple has sold about 450 million of them. About three million iPods were sold last year, accounting for a share of the 250 million iPhones sold.

Apple has assured customers that music will live, mostly through the iPhone it unveiled in 2007, and Apple Music, a seven-year-old service that testifies to today’s customer preferences. The days of buying and owning 99-cent songs on the iPod have largely given way to monthly subscription offers that provide access to wider music catalogs.

The iPod has been creating Apple’s plan for decades, packing unsurpassed industrial design, hardware, software development and services. It also demonstrated that the company rarely went first to market with a new product, but often won.

In the late 1990s, the first digital music players began to appear. The earliest versions could contain dozens of songs, which allowed people who copied CDs to their computers in the early days to carry these songs in their pockets.

Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple in 1997 after being ousted more than a decade ago, saw the new category as an opportunity to legacy Apple’s computer business to modern appeal. An avid music fan who ranked the Beatles and Bob Dylan among his favorite artists, Mr. Jobs thought the idea of ​​people’s love of music would help convince them to switch to Macintosh from Microsoft personal computers, which had more than 90 percent market share.

“You didn’t have to do any marketing research,” said John Rubinstein, who ran Apple’s engineering company at the time. “Everyone loved music.”

Mr. Rubinstein contributed to the development of the product by discovering a new hard drive made by Toshiba during a trip to Japan. The 1.8-inch disc held 1,000 songs. In fact, it made possible the Sony Walkman digital player with the most capacity that existed on the market.

The development of the iPod coincided with Apple’s acquisition of MP3 software, which will form the basis for iTunes, a digital vending machine that organized people’s music libraries so they could quickly create playlists and transfer songs. This supported Mr. Jobs ’vision of how people would buy music in the digital age.

“We believe that people want to buy their music online by buying downloads, just as they bought records, just as they bought cassettes, just as they bought CDs,” he said in a 2003 speech.

At the time, a service called Napster tormented the music industry by allowing people to share any song for free with anyone around the world. Mr. Jobs was leaning towards the woes of the music industry, marketing the ability of new Mac CDs to copy CDs with the commercial slogan: “Rip. Stir. Burn. The company put the music industry in the corner of Apple, according to Albi Galuten, head of Universal Music Group at the time.

Mr Galuten said the labels eventually agreed to allow Apple to sell songs on iTunes for 99 cents. “We refused because we didn’t have the leverage,” Mr Galuten said. “The easiest way to fight piracy was convenience.”

The $ 399 first-generation iPod cost blunted demand, limiting the company’s sales to less than 400,000 units in the first year. Three years later, Apple released the iPod Mini, a 3.6-ounce aluminum case that was available in silver, gold, pink, blue and green. It cost $ 249 and contained 1,000 songs. Sales exploded. By the end of fiscal year in September 2005, 22.5 million iPods had been sold.

Apple has enhanced the power of the iPod Mini by making iTunes available to Windows computers, allowing Apple to introduce its brand to millions of new customers. Although the maneuver would later be hailed as a business gloss, Mr Jobs at the time opposed it, former executives said.

Soon iPods were everywhere. “It took off like a rocket,” Mr Rubinstein said.

However, Mr. Jobs was pushing Apple to make the iPod smaller and more powerful. Mr Rubinstein said the company had stopped production of its most popular product ever – the iPod Mini – to replace it with a thinner version called the Nano, which started at $ 200. Nano has helped the company nearly double its unit sales to 40 million over the next year.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the iPod was its role as a catalyst for the creation of the iPhone. As mobile phone makers began to introduce devices that could play music, Apple executives worried that the best technology would not bypass them. Mr. Jobs decided that if that happened then Apple should do it.

The iPhone continued to enjoy the combination of software and services that made the iPod a success. The success of iTunes, which allowed customers to back up their iPhone and upload music to their device, was reflected in the development of the App Store, which allowed people to download and pay for software and services.

In 2007, the company abandoned its long-standing corporate name, Apple Computer Inc. – and became just Apple, a grand electronics that was created six years ago.

“They showed the world that they had an atomic bomb, and five years later they had a nuclear arsenal,” said Talal Shamun, executive director of Intertrust Technologies, a digital rights management company that worked with the music industry at the time. “After that, there was no shadow of a doubt that Apple would own everyone.”

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