A Decade Of Digital Tunes

I grew up in an Apple household - during the Great iPod Expansion Era. I remember riding the bus with a friend who played her music on a Rio mp3 player. It looked so foreign to me. It was round, with a soft rubbery layer. I could hardly see the name of song playing on her screen. And where were the white earbuds?

But as the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close and NPR Music shares a retrospective, it's important to remember that Apple hasn't been the only game in town. Even before the very first iPod, electronics and audio companies exercised ingenuity to develop handheld audio players, but they didn't always have a smooth, chic look that players have now. We've moved from batteries to USB chargers. Players now feature WiFi access and phone integration. And now, thankfully, we don't have to lug around that case of CDs.

For nostalgia's sake, let's a take a look back at what mp3 players used to look like. Back then, bulk was in, space was small and the price was high.


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