In 2000, digital music players were either big and clunky or small and useless with terrible user interfaces. Apple saw an opportunity and introduced its first portable music player. The iPod was the first MP3 player to hold 1,000 songs and 5 gigabytes of data. It weighed only 6.5 ounces and was powered by a rechargeable lithium battery that enabled ten hours of continuous playback. At $400, critics thought it was too expensive, lacked Windows compatibility, and disliked the unconventional scroll wheel. Despite this, it sold beyond expectations and went on to revolutionize the entire music industry. Designed by an Apple project team, including industrial designer Jonathan Ive, it was a year in development after ordered by Steve Jobs. The name iPod was inspired by the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the phrase ‘open the pod bay door, Hal,’ referred to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship. The iPod was awarded a gold IDEA award in 2002, and by 2007, sales of various models, including Classic (2004), Mini (2004), Nano (2006), Shuffle (2005) and Touch (2007), exceeded 50 million units.
Introduced in April 1984, the IIc was Apple’s first compact model, the first with user-friendly icon graphics, and the first with significant visual design quality. It was cited as one of the best designs of the year by Time magazine. Just three month before, Apple had introduced the Macintosh computer, the first to use a Graphical User Interface (GUI), running at 8 MHz, with 128 kB RAM, and was the first to use 400 kB 3.5” disks. The Apple IIc was a refinement of the original Apple II computer, introduced in 1977 when the company was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniac. The Apple II was the first mass-produced personal computer, featuring Visicalc, the first spreadsheet program. It remained the best-selling computer until IBM entered the market in 1981. The Apple IIc design included a much-refined mouse design engineered by consultants Hovey-Kelly, founded by Stanford University product design graduated Dean Hovey and David Kelley. Their firm later evolved into IDEO design firm, founded in 1991. The IIc had a speed of 1 MHz,128kB RAM (expandable to 1 MB, a 32 kB ROM, and a floppy drive storage of 140 kB. Apple’s improved external appearance on both the IIc and Macintosh was a result of collaboration between frogdesign and Apple staff. Helmut Esslinger’s frogdesign firm was founded in Germany in 1969. The name came from FRG (the Federal Republic of Germany.) In 1982 Esslinger opened a branch office in California in response to Steve Jobs invitation to work on his NeXT workstation, introduced in 1988. Jobs left Apple in 1977 and founded NeXT in 1985.
The Apple PowerBook was one of the most revolutionary computers ever made. It changed the way people used computers. It was highly portable and lightweight, but functioned as effectively as a desktop. We call them laptops today, and many users never leave home without one. The original PowerBook series—the 140 and 170—were designed by Robert Brunner, IDSA; Gavin Ivester, IDSA; Suzanne Pierce; Jim Halicho; and Eric Takahashi of Apple Computer; Michael Antonczak of Indesign; and Matt Barthelemy of Lunar Design for Apple Computer, Inc. The design featured a compact dark grey case with a trackball instead of a mouse. The forward keyboard was innovative, leaving room for palm rests for the user. Power was 16 MHz on the 140, which had a passive-matrix 1 bit screen, and 25 MHz on the 170 with a 1 bit active matrix screen. The design was very successful, capturing 40% of the laptop market. In 2000, IDSA named it a “Design of the Decade.” PowerBooks were upgraded and improved frequently over the years until 2006, when they were essentially replaced by the MacBook Pro. The final PowerBook was a 12-inch, 1.5 GHz G4.