Apple iPod prototype ‘unrecognisable’ in photos as music gadget turns twenty

Not to make you feel old, but the Apple iPod turned 20 years old over the weekend – and photos of an early prototype show that it could have looked very different.

An app company called Panic, which created 'Untitled Goose Game' and was involved in the iPod in its early days, has released pictures showing a mustard-yellow brick prototype about the size of a chopping board.

It has a tiny grey screen, four ugly directional buttons, and circuitry poking out of the sides.

However, the prototype did include the iconic click wheel resembling a wheel of cheese.

Apparently it was created only two weeks before the finished iPod, which means Apple staff must have pulled all-nighters to bridge the gap between this monstrosity and the sleek final product.

"It has always been my deepest dream to smoothly unzip a backpack on a flight, theatrically pull out this incredible beast, plug in some headphones, and use it as my actual 'portable' music player," said Cabel Sasser, Panic's co-founder. "Imagine the looks."

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The iPod was first released on October 23, 2001.

It's widely considered to have revolutionised the music industry, shifting millions of listeners away from physical media like CDs and cassettes towards downloadable music.

For many years it was also a status symbol and fashion accessory thanks to the iconic earbuds.

Apple founder Steve Jobs pitched it as allowing people to have '1000 songs in your pocket'.

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In the twenty years since its release, Apple have sold more than 400 million iPods and 35 billion songs on iTunes.

The most popular iPod, the iPod Touch, is still available to buy today, although the iPod has largely fallen out of favour as the main way to consume music.

Streaming giants like Spotify, which has 165 million subscribes, now dominate the music industry, while Apple focuses on multifunctional devices like the iPhone.

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