Inside the first iPod

On the device first iPod was almost identical to the prototypes Tony Fadell, only refined to the highest possible perfection. It is interesting to look inside that for nearly ten months were the most terrible secret of Apple?

The level of secrecy that accompanied the iPod during its development, it is not inferior to any defense project, not a single country in the world. It’s amazing that this project was still completed successfully.

Almost no one, including the vast majority of developers didn’t know how it will look, how big would he be, and even what it meant. It was transported around the world in sealed boxes under the sole responsibility of the first person Apple. But even coming to the place, he remained a mystery.

This mystery was made of durable opaque plastic with a dozen buttons with obscure symbols and multiple connectors, of which these were the only connectors. The size of this plastic box was a shoebox.

I wonder what was inside these boxes…it is Clear that “hardware” and “software” within them were real. It is clear that some number of people in both companies admitted to this top-secret secret, some at least a secret way opened these boxes. Otherwise, this story would be from the “before reading burn”, but even today, 17 years after publication, no details are not reported.

One of the first mysteries of our Millennium?

But after the iPod went on sale and fell into the hands of thousands of people, not connected by any obligations to Apple and have not signed nondisclosure agreements, internal secrets of the iPod ceased to be a secret.

The processors of the first iPod

That’s not a typo, the first iPod, unlike the first iPhone, was dual. Two ARM7TDMI powered “rudimentary operating system” device the size of a sealed deck of ordinary playing cards.

To connect these processors in one team was not an easy task: due to a bug in their scheme, they suffer from the same problem of nekogerrentnogo of the cache, and the PowerPC 603 a few years earlier. Remember the first BeBox who tried to sell Be, Inc?

Experts PortalPlayer, as well as engineers Be solved this problem programmatically. This problem was solved when Tony Fadell created your mind.

Disk from Toshiba, accommodating up to 5 Gigabytes, the smallest hard drive with an adult volume at the time. This disc was rotated with a frequency of 4200 rpm, and kept in standard ATA-6. And since it obviously was not intended for use in expensive stationary equipment, it can easily withstand large dynamic loads.

All device software was in its firmware in ROM. At the request of Steve jobs, the device must be switched on immediately, which is fundamentally incompatible with the download of any codes in memory.

Almost half of the internal space of the device was occupied by a rechargeable battery.

In General, even compared to the iPhone, inside the first iPod really hasn’t been anything particularly interesting.

Don’t know shot anyone inside of the chip with the software of the iPod in some kind of all-pervading rays under an electron microscope, publications about it I have not found.

But Ben Knauss, who led the development of “hardware” and “firmware” iPod in 2004, after the success of this hopeless project became apparent, spoke about the problems that occurred in the legendary plastic box and creepy Steve Jobs, the media, and he hasn’t been.

Triumph, the view from the inside

Of course, there were many problems, and their solution required all of the nearly three hundred employees, an emergency operation with breaks for holidays and almost no weekends.

In the prototype Tony Fadell, the playlist was limited to ten songs. In terms of the extremely limited RAM, which was required to store many different things to do the size of the playlist is almost limitless it was not easy. Did.

In addition, according to Ben Knauss, Steve had serious hearing problems, as Steve seemed to be that the iPod plays written unacceptably quiet, so the engineers had to work hard. As a result of their efforts, the iPod became one of the most high-profile devices in its class.

Deafness about jobs, if I’m not mistaken, no one ever mentioned. On the contrary, have exactly the opposite testimony from victims witnesses. Probably, this requirement Steve really poisoned the life of engineers PortalPlayer, persistent and very long.

One very important and serious problem for a long time remained completely unnoticed, as few would have suspected in a fairly large box portable device on batteries and recorded it from stationary source of electricity.

Most likely, the developers of electronic chargers knew that this box will be something portable, but they apparently had permission to try something else, beyond their tasks. All that is connected with the battery and the charging was done perfectly, and on time.

It turned out that the device in the off state, continues to Deplete the battery by full charge only lasted for three hours. Since the discovery of the problem to its final resolution passed two or three weeks “troubled jobs”.

And again in India went to the couriers with sealed boxes…Because the permanent memory of the device had to change.

And here such trifles almost three hundred men worked day and night!

Steve was constantly worried about all sorts of minor problems. For example, one day he suddenly decided that the menu opens after too long a delay. And in General, responds to the user’s selection is not fast enough.

This problem also had to spend a lot of time and money. Money Apple, for which Steve is responsible to the shareholders of the company.

Ben did not write it, but it is easy to bring the meaning of his argument to the obvious conclusion: instead of having to think about replacing FireWire for something more common and make the device compatible with the vast majority of personal computers, three hundred people tirelessly engaged in any nonsense.

I told an interview with Ben Causam here’s why: it’s an inside look at the process of creating masterpieces. Because the masterpieces are different from the normal items of such detail that is paid attention to.

To be continued

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