On January 10, 2001, Steve Jobs went on the stage at Macworld Expo in San Francisco and presented a new app that would change the course of Apple. iTunes would become Apple’s most important app, not only because it was the companion of the iPod that would be released later that year, but also because it would become the framework for all of the company’s future online stores.
Jobs explained the process of ripping and burning CDs, since, for many, this was new. He ripped a CD – the B 52s’ Time Capsule – then he imported a folder with 1,000 songs to his library. He then showed how to play music, how to sort the library, how to search for songs, and how to create a playlist; all of these were techniques that were new for most people.
As Jobs said in his presentation, there were a number of programs that could play MP3s, and, on the Mac, there were two main options: SoundJam, sold by Cassady & Greene, and Audion, from Panic. Both of these apps were simple, focusing more on the player aspect, even though they offered features such as playlist creation, ripping CDs, and syncing music to MP3 players.
Apple approached both companies, and eventually purchased SoundJam, along with its three developers (who still work for Apple).
This is a fascinating, detailed look at the history of iTunes, an app that still exists. On Windows.
Interesting that there are lots of people who have never even seen iTunes, came on board after iTunes was split into pieces, have entirely missed this major chapter in Apple’s history.