The surprising success of the iPod mini

Filed under: Design,Hardware

iPod mini - pinkIntroduced during the January 2004 Macworld keynote as “the world’s smallest portable music player to hold up to 1,000 CD-quality songs” the iPod mini was made available in the USA more than a month later, on the 20th of February.

In a February press release it was mentioned that there were “over 100,000 pre-orders” and Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller stated that the response to iPod mini has been off the charts” foreshadowing the impact that the model would have.


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The extraordinary reception of the iPod mini surprised even Apple which originally planned the model to just go after the high-end flash-based devices.

Hence, at the end of March, another press release was issued, warning that worldwide availability was postponed to July, due to the “much stronger than expected demand in the U.S. far exceeding the total planned supply”. In the release Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations Tim Cook was quoted saying that

“The iPod mini adds further momentum to the iPod, which is already the leading digital music player in the world.”

If we take a look at statistics by early 2004, Apple knew it had a hit with the iPod: in less than three years, the device had captured 31% of the U.S. market for mp3 players. Thanks to the release of the iPod mini Apple’s market share grew during 2004 and in January 2005 was at a staggering 65%.

iPod nano - silverAs to which were the winning factors of the iPod mini making it the most successful iPod model ever the answer is simple and yet manifold. It was small in size and weight, extremely portable, designed with great care and with an eye to wearability.

It was also marketed as a must-have fashion item, not just encased in a stylish curved aluminium body but offered in five colors: silver, gold, pink, blue and green. In the following years Apple reproduced many of those characteristics in the second and fourth generation of the iPod nano which very much resembles a mini and in the second generation of the iPod shuffle.

The iPod mini and iPod nano pictures are “courtesy of Apple”

Thursday 01 July 2010, 3:47 pm
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New hands of Cupertino

Filed under: Design

After “The hands of Cupertino” and “More hands of Cupertino” here are new examples of the prominent use of hands in Apple’s promotional iconography.

The images featured are from the new iPod lineup introduced in the September of 2009.

iPod nano September 2009 - videorecording

iPod nano September 2009 - coverflow

iPod shuffle September 2009iPod shuffle September 2009

iPod touch September 2009 - ad

iPod shuffle September 2009

All images are © and courtesy of Apple.

Thursday 10 September 2009, 4:26 pm
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The birth of the iPod Division

At the end of May 2004 Apple’s organization underwent a major shakeup. Three years after the introduction of its digital player, the Cupertino company created a new iPod division.

Jon Rubinstein from hardware to iPodJon Rubinstein was appointed Head and his role changed from “Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering” to the new “Senior Vice President iPod Division”.

The rest of Apple’s activities at the time were redirected into the Macintosh Division, with Timothy Cook at the helm.
Although Cook’s role was widened, his formal status didn’t change, at least according to the Executives Profiles page on the Apple website where he kept the old title of “Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations”.

The reorganization reflected the growing importance of the iPod at Infinite Loop, in particular after the introduction of the enormously successful iPod mini.

Five years later the iPod division came to an end when Apple’s digital walkmen joined the iPhone in the new “Devices Hardware” division, headed by new Senior Vice President Mark Papermaster

The screenshots of Jon Rubinstein are from cached versions of the Apple.com website on the Internet Archive and are “courtesy of Apple”

Wednesday 20 May 2009, 1:09 pm
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The hands of Cupertino

Filed under: Design

If you take a look at Apple’s output of information and promotional material there is one thing that stands out: the prominent use of hands.

During its’ thirty year the Cupertino company has conceived, produced and release an incredible amount of products and strategies but has been incredibly consistent in its imagery. Be it the need to explain the workings of the mouse, to show the very small footprint of its computers on the desktop or the reduced thickness of a player, the professional results one can get, the revolutionary interfaces or just how easy the networking is, Infinite Loop’s “hands on” and extremely personal approach is unmistakable and very clear from the iconography of Apple’s ads throughout its history.

hands on the Lisa

A computer everyone can useHere's how you can use it
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Monday 17 November 2008, 5:01 pm
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