Re: Many of Apple's ...
>The iPod was copying Creative and iRiver with a case and silly control inspired by Dieter Rams' stuff for Braun.
I think you've got your dates muddled, Mage! :)
- The iRiver H120 wasn't released until 2003, two years after the 1st gen iPod. It used the same Toshiba HDD and battery as the iPod, but featured analogue recording.
-The iPod took its dial interface from a 1990's Bang and Olufsen telephone and from Sony AV gear, not Braun. The control mechanism on the iPod was superior to the iRiver. I had the iRiver H320 - it was a very good machine, but without a scroll wheel it was PITA to navigate long lists.
-The pre-iPod Creative player used a laptop HDD and as such it was the size of a CD-Walkman. It was not pocket sized.
In short, Apple got to market first with the right combination of size, convenience and capacity. Had they not, somebody else would have done - the essential part, the HDD, was available to anyone to use. It's worth noting that the iPod was $600 dollars when first released, and was FireWire and Mac only - indeed, most PCs at the time didn't have FireWire, and USB 1.0 wasn't fast enough. The 1st gen iPod wasn't a massive seller, but it got Apple's foot in the door.
It was a strange time - the first MP3 players were from unfamiliar names like Rio or LG, and the Japanese, though they had done much research in the area, hadn't got involved. Some were sold with only enough capacity to store a few songs. There were still competing formats of memory card, too, before we largely standardised around SD. Until I got an iRiver, I didn't bother with MP3 and stuck with my Sharp MiniDisc player (1999, with scroll wheel).