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The Truth Behind iPod Design

Kane Kramer is a British inventor and business man. He is credited with the initial invention of the digital audio player which lead the way to Apple Inc.’s popular iPod music player.

IXI In 1979 Kramer filed patents for his newly conceived Digital Audio Player, the IXI. The player was the size of a credit card with a small LCD screen and navigation and volume buttons and would have held data on a solid state memory chip with a capacity of 3:50 minutes worth of audio. Due to the limited nature of solid state memory of the time the IXI was never produced. In 1988 Kramer reportedly had £60,000,000 in orders for the device from the music industry when a coup within Kramer’s company kept him from renewing the IXI’s patent. The patent was voided shortly afterward and Kramer’s designs entered the public domain.

Kramer’s initial report introducing the IXI also contained detailed descriptions of a possible music download service over phone lines. Kramer reasoned that with freedom from the limitations and expense of physical media the music industry would be able to provide the consumer with more released material from more artists on a tighter schedule. Kramer’s system would have also allowed for the downloading of data and software.

In 2006 Burst.com sued Apple Inc. for patent infringements it reported were at the heart of Apple’s ubiquitous iPod. In order to combat Burst.com’s claims Kane Kramer was invited by Apple to the United States in 2008 to give a deposition that lasted 10 hours. Kramer proved that his drawings and ideas were the original concept behind the iPod and that they predated Burst.com’s patents. Burst.com and Apple settled out of court shortly afterward.

Kramer is still at work in the technology sector. His most recent project, called “Monicall” and would function as a dial in service that would make phone call conversations legally binding. Kramer also says he has plans that would end copyright infringement all together, but no details on this project have been released.

Kane Kramer official site.


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