The world collectively lost its mind in 2001 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, a shiny square that promised to fit 20,000 songs in our pockets. Forget hoverboards, this was the sign that we were finally living in the future! Except that it wasn't new at all, and the first iPod is almost as old as your dad's eight-track player.

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Kane Kramer
Try making a cool silhouette commercial with that nerdy-looking thing.

In 1979, two young Brits named Kane Kramer and James Campbell invented the first-ever portable audio player with a digital library. It was called the IXI, and it looked like a cross between a calculator and a Happy Meal toy. Kramer had thought of every modern convenience for the IXI that he could without knowing a thing like the internet would ever exist. To use the IXI-pod, users would go to stores and download new music through a jukebox-like computer. He even had a system he thought would make sure people couldn't pirate their music, which might've been the most unrealistic thing about it.

The problem was that in the '70s, a portable computer chip could hold maybe half of a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo, so the device was
too ahead of its time. However, Kramer was optimistic that this would soon change and his device would one day be able to hold dozens of songs. Unfortunately, he was a bit too optimistic, and his patent had expired by the time Apple finally launched the iPod.

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