Tony Fadell Reflects on Creating the iPod Ahead of Device’s 20th Anniversary

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One day ahead of the 20th anniversary of Steve Jobs unveiling the original iPod on October 23, 2001, Apple’s former senior vice president of the iPod team Tony Fadell has reflected on his role in creating the device in an interview with CNET‘s Roger Cheng.

Fadell said that Apple was on a mission to launch the iPod before Christmas 2001. Impressively, he said that he “really got started” with developing the device in May 2001, just five months before it was introduced by Jobs. “It was nonstop, seven days a week,” he said.

When Jobs unveiled the iPod at a small press event at its former Infinite Loop headquarters, the device was not fully finished, according to Fadell. Nevertheless, he said Jobs handed out this early version of the device to the media in attendance, along with a collection of 20 CDs containing the music that had been pre-loaded onto the device.

Fadell added that by 2005, Apple was starting to look into the cell phone market. As he has shared in previous interviews over the years, Fadell said his team toyed with prototypes of a full-screen iPod with a virtual click wheel, adding that the Mac team had separately designed a “massive capacitive touchscreen the size of a pingpong table.” Apple ultimately launched the iPhone with a multi-touch display in 2007.

The full interview is a worthwhile read over at CNET for those interested in the days leading up to the original iPod’s launch two decades ago.

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