Plug in baby

March is the month that sees the anniversary of the birth of the world’s first MP3 Player. It’s bizarre to cast your mind back to a time before they existed (for the younger generations at least), and even weirder to think it was only 11 years ago. But the first commercially available personal MP3 player was indeed launched in 1998, and we would never have had the iPod if it wasn’t for the less than snappily titled MPMan F10, manufactured by Korea’s Saehan Information Systems.

The F10 contained 32MB of Flash storage (a tiny amount compared to the thousands of songs and videos the MP3 players of today can hold), and it connected to an old-style parallel port on your PC from which songs could be copied to the player. As you can see it wasn’t as flashy as the MP3 players which we’re used to nowadays, and whilst it might be stretching things to call it a design classic, Mr Jobs and co. certainly owe a lot to the technologies and possibilities first offered by the MPMan back in 1998.


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