Steve Jobs' Six Best Music Innovations

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3. iPod It only took five years for the iPod to grow from a luxury to a necessity. Now we can look back at the days spent walking around with a battery powered CD player with the embarrassment of a former fanny pack enthusiast. For all its undeniable innovations, the iPod is still a clunky beast. Screens break, entire music collections spontaneously combust. Thanks to the limitation of early iPods' hard drive space, people listen to lower quality music than ever before. Most of our society would agree that the pros outweigh the cons - particularly those who use iPod as a catchall for mp3 players, the same way Southerners often say "Coke" to mean "any soft drink".

2. iPad Gorillaz used an iPad to produce an entire record. Brian Eno used the device to take his generative music concept to a new level. The Digitech guitar effects company just developed a system interfacing digital recreations of famous guitar pedals with a physical board to step on during live performance. The most exciting thing about the iPad is that we've barely unlocked its capabilities.

1. Mac II personal computer Okay, the totally obsolete Apple's Mac II now only occupies a tiny niche in music. Video game music lovers (aka. "Chiptune" kids) love the computer's grainy, eight-bit sounds akin to early Ataris and Nintendos. In the grand scheme, the Mac II was the first Apple product - or mass produced machine in general - to accommodate music into its platform via Midi (aka. Musical Instrument Digital Interface). It now seems so foreign that music was recorded and produced without the aid of computers. Sure, similar niches to the Chiptuners have emerged around cassette tapes and wire recorders and the like. But 99 percent of music is made and listened to in some part via a computer. If Apple hadn't pioneered the capability with the Mac II, Bill Gates probably would have. But he wouldn't have done it as well.

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