In a story told by Patrick Collison, Stripe’s chief executive, Tony Fadell describes the original iPod development process. Tony Fadell said he joined Apple at the end of January of that year to take charge of the iPod project, but when he joined, the iPod wasn’t an iPod, and Apple wanted to build a hard drive-based MP3 player, but there was no prototype, no design, nothing.
Incredibly, the product was finished by the end of the year. According to the timeline presented by Tony Fadell in Patrick Collison’s tweet, Tony Fadell showed Jobs a prototype design in March, and the team found a manufacturing partner in April, and Apple began shipping the first devices to customers in November.
The iPod story suggests that the idea of Apple making an MP3 player has been circulating within the company for some time, mostly after Apple acquired SoundJam and began converting it to an iTunes app. iTunes was released on January 9, 2001. Jon Rubenstein, Apple’s head of hardware engineering at the time, was aware of Toshiba’s small 1.8-inch hard drive. This became the core component of the first iPod.
The iPod’s productivity from development to market is incredible. But in Apple’s history, this is a small probability event. The sheer size of Apple’s products means developing a supply chain to support millions of units a month; Since 2001, the complexity of technology has also increased dramatically. Currently, it will take two to three years for Apple’s new product stouss to go into production, such as the Apple Watch project, which was launched in mid-2012. Apple’s wearable device was released in September 2014 and went on sale in April 2015.