Breakthrough Technology!

Over thirty years ago today, the Walkman TPS-L2 was launched in Japan (July 1, 1979).  This was a breakthrough technology at the time because it was the world’s first (affordable) portable stereo.
Walkman TPS-L2

Here’s a look at the chronological evolution of portable music players in the U.S. (it develops slowly at first, but then skyrockets in the new millennium):

  • 1954 – Regency Electronics Inc. introduces the first commercial portable audio device, the pocket transistor radio, or the TR-1.
  • July 1, 1979 (25 years later) – Sony Walkman TPS-L2, the world’s first portable stereo music player (As a kid, I listened to Beethoven, Mozart, and pop singer, Jewel on cassette tape)
  • 1984 (5 years later) – Sony releases the Discman, or the D-5o, the first portable CD player (My first CDs included Charlotte Church and LeAnn Rimes)
  • 17 years go by and then…the iPod (2001 – 2006)
  • November 10, 2001Apple’s first iPod (5GB) is released with iTunes integration
  • March 2002 (4 mo.s later) – Apple’s second generation iPod is introduced (10GB model)  *Copyright battles ensue over the digital hub concept for music
  • July 2002 (2 mo.s later) – Third generation iPod is rolled out, offering a capacity of 20GB.
  • September, 2003 – iPod capacity increases to include a 40GB model (the online iTunes Music Store also introduced just months before and by October, a software upgrade allows users to add voice recordings and pictures)
  • January 2004 – Apple introduces color and the iPod mini (4 GB); increases the capacity of the 10 GB iPod to 15GB
  • “Podcasting” becomes mainstream by 2004
  • iTunes Store goes abroad in June
  • July 2004Fourth generation iPod is released, introducing the shuffle feature
  • October 2004 – color-screen iPod photo (40 & 60 GB); iPod U2 Special Edition is also launched
  • January 2005 – the flash-based iPod shuffle emerges
  • June 2005 – iPod and iPod photo merge into iPod color
  • September 2005iPod nano replaces iPod mini; first iTunes compatible cellphone is announced
  • October 2005Fifth generation iPod with video playback
  • October 2006 – red 4GB nano for (Red) AIDS in Africa fundraising initiative
  • 2007 the iPhone is released!

In the spirit of the 21st century, I will leave you with an infographic that shows the evolution of the iPhone (so far). *All models are capable of playing music.  Could the iPhone be the next major portable music player?  Fastcompany doesn’t think so…


9 thoughts on “Breakthrough Technology!

  1. Today, I went to the beach front with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

    • Perhaps the iPhones reminded you of holding the seashell like a phone? Regardless, I’m sorry your daughter got pinched! I hope she will come around and want to go back. She may just exhibit shell avoidance for a while…

  2. Interesting post. Technology has certainly changed how we do things. When I started my Masters in 2001, I recall doing a paper about the speed with which technology was being released to us. I had a section about this wondrous device called the iPod. No one I knew had one, it was the year it was released. Look at me now, iMac, iPhone 4, iPad 2. 🙂

    • What a neat story, thanks for sharing! Where did you complete your masters? Is your degree in business or computer technology? I am looking at the influence of technology on the Millennial generation in regards to how it affects their behavior, preferences, interests, social interaction, etc. within the arts. I am specifically interested in identifying effective ways of engaging younger audiences and patrons in the symphony orchestra experience (current master’s project). What do you think?

  3. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI,
    just 3G .. Anyhow, superb blog!

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