Time magazine has offered up its
Coolest Inventions 2003
list, and Apple’s iTunes Music Store grabs the top honor.
Described by Time’s Chris Taylor as “a software product that just might save [the] free-falling [music] industry,” iTunes Music Store gets kudos for being available to both Mac and Windows users, and being incredibly simple to use. iTunes Music Store’s ease of use even earned the endorsement of musician Sarah McLachlan, who sang for attendees of October’s Windows iTunes launch event. McLachlan declared herself “a complete computer dummy,” and said that if she could use it, so could anyone.
“In a year when record labels hit a sour note by suing students, grandparents and 12-year-old file sharers, [Apple CEO Steve] Jobs had effectively brokered a peace agreement: he had shown the music industry how to win friends and make money on the very Internet that was being used to steal their songs.
The relationship between the iTunes Music Store and the selling of iPods isn’t lost on Time, either. The magazine recognized that Apple’s profit margins on the iTunes Music Store itself are miniscule, but quotes Jobs himself to explain Apple’s motivation for having the service: “Because we’re selling iPods.”
“Each $499 iPod returns as much as $175 in profit,” said Time, quoting an industry analyst.
Time’s list of cool inventions for 2003 includes dozens of examples of technology at work, and not all of them are lifestyle products like the iTunes Music Store, either. Also on the list is the Nasal-Mist Flu Shot, camera phones, Aqwon’s hydrogen-powered scooter, Murray Broom’s transparent Napali kayak, and technology currently in development at the University of Tokyo that promises to make people and objects invisible.