The Macintosh may be the soul of Apple Computer, but the iPod is its wallet.
Five years ago, the Silicon Valley icon reported quarterly revenues of $1.45 billion, down 22 percent. Profits were cut in half, and some wondered if Apple would forever suffer at the hands of low-cost PC competitors like Dell.
Apple fans needn’t have fretted, because six days later on Oct. 23, 2001, Apple unveiled the iPod, and its fortunes along with those of the music industry dramatically changed.
Spin forward five years. The company said Wednesday that it shipped 8.7 million iPods during its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30. In fact, Apple’s $1.6 billion from iPod sales in the quarter was more than it generated as an entire company back in October 2001. Those iPod sales were also 35 percent more than the same period last year and a lot more than cautious financial analysts were expecting.
It’s hard to overstate the impact of the iPod on the computer, consumer electronics and music industries since it was introduced in 2001.