Flashback: How Was the iPod Received in 2001? (Not Well.)

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After all the hype leading up to its revelation, the iPad has gotten mixed early reviews, tilting a little towards negative.

The iPad has its cons, to be sure: the inability to multitask and the lack of a camera being the worst two strikes against it. But it’s worth remembering the harsh initial reaction against a certain other flawed Apple device: that would be the iPod, in 2001.

Looking back at the knowledgeable techie news forums of the day, you may experience deja vu: a lot of the anti-Apple talking points and storylines are surprisingly similar.

A MacRumors commenter, October, 2001:

“Sounds very revolutionary to me. hey – heres an idea Apple – rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why dont you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive and crap server line up? or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?”

Another:

“Mmmm. APPL is already down $1.00…

Looks like the markets aren’t looking too favorably on Apple’s new forays into the digital device market.
Of course the iPod is cool, neat, whatever. You wouldn’t expect anything less from Apple. But I agree with most on this forum. $400 is simply too much in the present economic climate. One other thing. I’d like to know what their margins for the iPod are…”

A prescient comment from Slashdot:

“Keep in mind it’s $400 right now becuase the Apple Fanatics will have to have one. They’ll pay anything for the latest cool toy from Apple.  In 6 months, hopefully the rest of us will be buying the 20GB version for $200.”

And one more from MacRumors, which Hacker News had a lot of fun with and which could not have been written in any year not known as 2001:

“I have a cd walkman and a burner already, and besides that now that I don’t have a dotcom job anymore I need that $400 to pay car payments and rent.”

None of this proves anything about the iPad, per se. But it does go to show that snapshot tech punditry is not always the most accurate gauge of the future.

(h/t Hacker News)


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