Regarding the Original iPod’s October 2001 Debut

In my “Greatly Exaggerated” piece last week, I wrote:

To claim that this week’s [iPod/iTunes] event was in any way not normal is to ignore the fact that Apple has scheduled an event just like Tuesday’s during September every year since the iPod debuted in 2001.

This was followed by a footnote, which read:

The original iPod debut was in October, not September, 2001, pushed back one month in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

I based this footnote on my recollection of an interview with Steve Jobs in Steven Levy’s book about the iPod, The Perfect Thing. My recollection was wrong, however. Here’s the relevant passage from the book:

The subject turned to September 11. A lot of conversations back then did that. Jobs said that after the attack, Apple had given the introduction a lot of thought, fearing that the wrong note might offend. “I think that we’re feeling good about coming out with this at a difficult time,” he said. “Hopefully it will bring a little joy to people.” Such questions led to a discussion of Apple’s relatively low-key iPod launch event, which in other circumstances might have been held in a big city — if not San Francisco, maybe even New York. “It’s a tough time,” Jobs finally said. “But life goes on. It must go on.”

And so while the scale of the introduction was scaled back in light of the September 11 attacks, there is no indication that the date was changed. I’ve edited the footnote accordingly, and I regret the error.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008