Did you know a British guy invented the iPod? No, no, not Jonathan Ive; Kane Kramer came up with idea - even patenting it, and building in DRM, back in 1979. Despite selling some preproduction units, he was ahead of his time; his patent lapsed and he even wound up being called as a witness when Apple was fighting its own patent battles. Wired has the full story and pics. And remember: this was from the year the Walkman was introduced:
Kramer came up with the idea for a pocket-sized, portable solid state music player with a friend, James Campbell. Kramer was 23, Campbell 21. The IXI System had a display screen and buttons for four-way navigation. In a report presented to investors in 1979, the IXI was described as being the size of a cigarette packet. Is this sounding familiar yet?
Back in 1979, a memory chip would store a paltry three and a half minutes of music. Kramer fully expected this to improve, and confidently foresaw a market for reliable, high quality digital music players which would be popular with both consumers and the record labels. It could actually be argued that he was still ahead of Apple after the firat iPod went on sale — that had a hard drive and Kramer had moved onto flash memory years earlier.
[With thanks to @curiousiguana]