Matt asked a good question a few posts back. I made the comment that the iPod and iTunes were never expected, or designed, to be what they are – a huge success that catapulted Apple to the leader in consumer electronics and music.
In fact, the story there is the iPod was "invented" by a new hire from another company first and then shown to senior management. iTunes was actually SoundJam, acquired from Casady & Greene (along with programmer and now iTunes stud Jeffrey Robins). Putting them together was a means to an end: make it doggy ducky simple to get music into your pocket.
There was no plan at that time to dominate music or provide online music or video downloads. No concept of Apple TV or video iPods. When you look at it now you must think those were always in the cards. But try to imagine someone drawing that out on a whiteboard in Cupertino in 1998…no way.
Funny thing is, the iPod was arguably the first computing device to require another (a Mac with FireWire) to use. Yet in spite of that hurdle, and initially being Mac-only (original intent, and the current intent of all the other iLife apps was sell more Macs), the power of having ALL your music with you ALL the time changed people’s habits. This is not marketing driven or market driven innovation. This is what I call Eureka Marketing – once you tried someone else’s iPod you knew you wanted one – an "a ha" moment that all at once feels natural and like it was always waiting for you right under the surface. It is like finding gold – one taste and you are hooked. Chapter One in my free eBook says it all. iPod user…imagine going back to a CD player that played only 12 songs and hung on a rope around your neck when you went jogging. Hard, huh?