Apple Admits that Englishman Invented The Ipod

September 8th, 2008 at 12:00 am

IXI ipod kane kramer

The iPod has changed the entire way we listen and buy music since Apple "invented" it.  Apple holds some copyright to the design of the gadget but that sexy sleek music player has a lot of history behind it dating back to the time when the Apple just fell off its tree.

In 1979, a 23 year old British inventor Kane Kramer, came up with the idea of a music player so similar to the present iPod which he called IXI.  The IXI was a credit card sized device that had a rectangular screen and played 3.5 minutes of music stored on a chip.  ack then , even 210 seconds of music was not enough for the IXI to hit the market and even Kramer knew it and predicted that that capacity would increase in time.  So he filed for patents on the IXI.  However, in 1988 Kramer lost the patents to the music player after his company failed to raise the required £60,000 to renew the patents across 120 countries.  Consequently the patents became public property.

Fast forward a little over a decade, Apple releases the first iPod in 2001 and is selling 163 million units to date.  Apple was also recently in a legal battle with who was claiming some rights to the iPod and of course some settlement.  That battle has been settled out of court and Apple still holds the rights to the iPod.

Ironically, Apple won the battle with the help of Kane Kramer, now 52.  Apple used the facts that the iPod was based on Kramer’s IXI drawings and design and that the patents to those were already public domain by the time Apple developed the idea.

Kramer was contacted by the California computer maker to seek his help. Kramer recalls, "I was up a ladder painting when I got the call from a lady with an American accent from Apple saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done."

He continues, "I must admit that at first I thought it was a wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still up this ladder slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Apple would like me to come to California to talk to them."

Ironically,  Kramer still has not receive a penny for his contibutions to the iPod.  Even though Apple admitted that they used his IXI idea, there have been no suits filed by the Brit.  However, they are in talks over some kind of compensation but generally Kramer isn’t pushy on the matter.  He says, "To be honest, I was just so pleased that finally something that I had done which has been a huge success and changed the music industry was being acknowledged. I was really quite emotional about it all."

[via Daily Mail