Apple announced today that it has sold its 100th millionth iPod since the portable music players were introduced in November of 2001. The Cupertino company says that makes the iPod the fastest selling music player in history.
"At this historic milestone, we want to thank music lovers everywhere for making iPod such an incredible success," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. "iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that."
There’s little denying the impact the iPod line has had on the music industry, popular culture, and (of course) the fortunes of Apple (formerly Apple Computer) along with the ecosystem of vendors, accessory makers, retailers, and manufacturers who offer iPod accessories, iPod connectivity, and iPod-themed goods. Apple has revved the device through ten models, sticking with capacious hard drive-based players which now handle video, and adding tiny flash-based players like the popular iPod nano and the super-small iPod shuffle.
"Without the iPod, the digital music age would have been defined by files and folders instead of songs and albums," said songwriter/guitarist John Mayer in an Apple release. "Though the medium of music has changed, the iPod experience has kept the spirit of what it means to be a music lover alive."
Tallying up 100 million iPod sales is also an indication of what other music device vendors face when they hope to unleash an "iPod killer"—with five and a half years of momentum and 100 million units in the market, the iPod would be the dominant force in the music player business for some time to come, even if Apple were to stop making them right now. (Which, of course, they won’t.) Increasingly, the iPod’s primary challengers seem to be music-enabled phones and smartphones—a market Apple itself hopes to tap into with the iPhone, due this June.