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The iPod first went on sale 12 years ago

Twelve years ago yesterday, on November 10, 2001, Apple began selling the first iPod to the world. The original iPod came with a 5 GB hard drive (minuscule by today's standards), a 160 x 128-pixel monochrome display, a FireWire connection and a mechanical scroll wheel. It was also the only iPod that ever worked with Mac OS 9.

Hardly anyone on Wall Street or in the tech press believed the iPod would be a success. Matter of fact, after Apple announced the iPod to the world just a few weeks before it went on sale, The Street's Arne Alsin wrote this little gem:

Don't buy Apple's (AAPL) stock. And if you own it, sell it. I know the company has a core following that is loyal, even cultlike, but the broader base of believers has been steadily eroding for years.

To wager on this company is to bet that the exodus of users can be staunched and then, implausibly, reversed. It's hard to imagine such a scenario, given Apple's shrinking girth. With less than 5% of the market, the company is no longer an afterthought in PCs -- it's irrelevant.

Since that time, Apple's stock is up 5,589 percent -- and it all began with the iPod. Of course, many in the day would have agreed with Alsin's outlook, but one man didn't. Here's Steve Jobs introducing the iPod. It seems like only yesterday...

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