On a chilly, rainy day in San Francisco 15 years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at the 2001 Macworld Expo to present new Apple products. After talking about boring technicalities of new hardware and software, Jobs switched registers. He introduced Apple’s digital hub concept, then started talking about a revolution.
“There is a music revolution happening right now.”
Jobs discussed the current state of digital music: how people ripped CDs, put music on computers, created playlists, and how people burned those playlists to CDs to listen on the go or in the car. People even copied digital music to MP3 players. Jobs said that music player apps were “too complex. They are really difficult to learn and use.”
Jobs then introduced iTunes, arguably the most important software Apple ever released, other than its operating systems. iTunes set the tune for the company’s next decade and its rise from a “beleaguered” hardware and software company to the industry leader we know today. Admitting that Apple was playing catch-up, Jobs said, “We’re late to this party and we’re about to do a leapfrog.”
And they sure did.
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