Tony Fadell answers questions about iPod development on Twitter

Tony Fadell — known as the “Father of the iPod” — took the day to answer on Twitter a few questions about his work at Apple with one of the most successful products in technology history. He worked at the company between 2001 and 2008 as a designer and then vice president of iPod engineering.

Tony believes the success of products like the iPod and iPhone is due to the fact that they were launched at the right time. They were able to launch the first iPod after 10 months of development, which even surprised Steve Jobs.

The real reason why iPod & iPhone were successful was based on the market timing & the complete ground up design (HW+SW). That said, I pushed to ship the 1st iPod in <10 months. Long timelines are the death of daring projects inside (struggling) companies. We even surprised SJ!

Fadell said he would not change the way things happened, as he says they did their best at the time.

Negotiations with iPod parts suppliers were an essential part of product development. They made a long-term deal with Toshiba to supply internal hard drives for iPods.

At one point, they signed a $4 billion deal with Samsung to order flash memories that would be used on iPod nano. These negotiations were also crucial for the iPhone development years later.

Asked about the user experience, he answered that what made the iPod so successful was the strategy of offering high-end models every year with even more features. The company was also selling some cheaper models at the same time so that people could get into the Apple ecosystem.

Although Apple was concerned about Sony leading the audio market at the time, they never succeeded in the MP3 player business. Sony was already one of the leading record labels of the time, so they were afraid of affecting their business by investing in digital music.

One of the most curious answers is related to iPod expansion for Windows users. The iPod was initially developed to work exclusively with the Mac, as Apple used the FireWire connection, and there wasn’t an iTunes version for PC. They had to set aside their “religious” feelings to prioritize business.

It was Walt Mossberg, one of the best-known tech journalists and a personal friend of Steve Jobs, who convinced Apple CEO to make the iPod compatible with PCs.

You can read more Tony Fadell answers about the iPod development here.

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Avatar for Filipe Espósito Filipe Espósito

Filipe Espósito is a Brazilian tech Journalist who started covering Apple news on iHelp BR with some exclusive scoops — including the reveal of the new Apple Watch Series 5 models in titanium and ceramic. He joined 9to5Mac to share even more tech news around the world.