I found an interesting article today that says the acutal inventor of the iPod is not Apple but some furniture salesman named Kane Kramer from the UK. Apparently his invention was patented in 1979 (I believe he calls himself a revolutionary) but since he couldn’t afford to pay the costs to keep the patent, it fell to public domain where Apple more than likely found it and gobbled it up . I do admit, it’s a great design and years ahead of it’s time.
I am borrowing this picture from his site that shows his early patent drawings.
What I also find interesting is that no mention of this guy would have ever come up if Burst Patents hadn’t tried to cash in on Apple’s sucess by trying to claim the iPod violated it’s own patents. In Apple’s defence they said, wait, no, you don’t have the patent, we stole it (legally) from this British Bloke over here. Oh, and thanks for the good idea, buddy, here’s a free iPod for your trouble!
Too bad his iPod broke after less than a year. I feel kinda bad for this guy, I mean, if he had been able to hold onto his patent would we all be listening to music on our Kane Digital Audio Player? Or would Apple have found another public domain patent to copy? It’s always interesting to me how these things turn out. Any comments?