There were MP3 players before the iPod. They just weren't very good. Most MP3 devices stored about eight songs and had a calculator aesthetic rather than high-tone finesse. Then Steve Jobs and Co. came along offering 1,000 songs in a clean, white box the size of a deck of cards. The iPod wildfire didn't catch full flame, though, until the third-generation model boosted the storage capacity and refined the interface. At that point, Hipsters bought in, and Apple hasn't looked back: by 2005, more than eight out of 10 digital music players sold at retail were iPods.
By Jeremy Caplan and Brendan Lowe
Next 2002: SANYO SCP-5300