Today marks eight years since the iPod was introduced.

There were a ton of other MP3 players that were available when the iPod was introduced. They were all crap. The interfaces were like trying to run a three legged race over an obstacle course while blindfolded. Every one of them had ideas about “music management” that seemed to be taken from the pre-industrial age. When the iPod was introduced. Many people derided it.  Only 5 Gigs? Firewire? Who would use such a thing? A scroll wheel? What’s up with that?

Let me take a moment to veer off into a little personal story…

When I was growing up, my Grandmother set every clock in the house ahead, all by some random time. She did this to combat a long held stereotype that Black people are always late (People even referred to it as CP Time – Colored People Time). You see, being Black and being in the south meant that it was not enough to be equal to be given the respect as a human being you deserved – You had to be better because the very color of your skin put you that much further behind from the start. Therefore, it was not enough to show up on time – You had to be early. In other words, she changed the game of time itself by writing the rules to fit her condition. Because you never knew how fast any given clock was, you could not calculate for the difference. Therefore, you always showed up early.

Apple did not invent the digital music player. They changed it. For them, it was not enough to be equal to all the rest – It had to be a whole lot better. It had to be better on every level – design, integration, speed of loading music (hence the reason for Firewire over USB 1.0). By being so much better, they changed the game, thus forcing others to play by their rules.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in such a relatively short period of time.