On this date in 2001, Apple unveiled iPod, its fourth major endeavor for that year—at great risk, by entering a new product category for which the company had no prior experience and during a time of financial hardship. Recession gripped the United States; Apple had suffered share price and quarterly revenue setbacks as a result.
Six weeks earlier, terrorists flew highjacked American airliners into the World Trade Center (collapsing the Twin Towers) and the Pentagon. There was grim mood around the country, which created poor receptive marketing atmosphere for launching anything. Then there was the distraction dogging the tech industry: Windows XP’s impending global debut two days later.