homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

A Prototype of the Original iPod

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2021

a prototype of the original iPod

To mark the 20th anniversary of the iPod, Cabel Sasser shared some photos of one of the coolest artifacts in the Panic Archives: a prototype of the original iPod.

As you can see, it’s… quite large! We’ve always assumed that this mighty shell was designed to fit the large breadboards or circuit boards that were used during the earliest days of iPod development, until everything was eventually sized down to actual iPod-size. (It also has the Jobsian side-benefit of keeping the engineers in the dark about what the final device will look like.) I can’t get enough of those chunky, clunky, clicky black buttons wired up for navigation.

You can see how big it actually is when compared to the size of the actual iPod:

a prototype of the original iPod compared to the original iPod

Update: Tony Fadell headed up development of the iPod at Apple and had this to say about the prototype above:

This is a P68/Dulcimer iPod prototype we (very quickly) made before the true form factor design was ready. Didn’t want it look like an iPod for confidentiality — the buttons placement, the size — it was mostly air inside — and the wheel worked (poorly)