iPod is a popular brand of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple Inc and launched on October 23, 2001. As of 2008, the current product line-up includes the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the video-capable iPod Nano, the screenless iPod Shuffle and the iPhone. Former products include the compact iPod Mini and the spin-off iPod Photo (since re-integrated into the main iPod Classic line). iPod Classic models store media on an internal hard drive , while all other models use flash memory to enable their smaller size (the discontinued mini used a Microdrive miniature hard drive). As with many other digital music players, iPods, excluding the iPod Touch, can also serve as external data storage devices. Storage capacity varies by model.
iPod came from Apple's "digital hub" category,when the company began creating software for the growing market of personal digital devices. Digital cameras, camcorders and organizers had well-established mainstream markets, but the company found existing digital music players "big and clunky or small and useless" with user interfaces that were "unbelievably awful," so Apple decided to develop its own. As ordered by CEO Steve Jobs, Apple's hardware engineering chief Jon Rubinstein assembled a team of engineers to design the iPod line, including hardware engineers Tony Fadell and Michael Dhuey, and design engineer Jonathan Ive. The product was developed in less than one year and unveiled on October 23, 2001. Jobs announced it as a Mac-compatible product with a 5 GB hard drive that put "1,000 songs in your pocket."
The name iPod was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter, who (with others) was called by Apple to figure out how to introduce the new player to the public. After Chieco saw a prototype, he thought of the movie 2001: A space Odyssey and the phrase "Open the pod bay door, Hal!", which refers to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship. Apple researched the trademark and found that it was already in use. Joseph N. Grasso of New Jersey had originally listed an "iPod" trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July 2000 for Internet Kiosks. The first iPod kiosks had been demonstrated to the public in New Jersey in March 1998, and commercial use began in January 2000, but had apparently been discontinued by 2001. The trademark was registered by the USPTO in November 2003, and Grasso assigned it to Apple Computer, Inc. in 2005.