Ask anybody and they’ll tell you Apple invented the iPod. Not entirely correct according to Apple themselves, who has credited a UK man as author of some of the original patents that outlined how today’s PMPs work. Kane Kramer had no idea about iPods back then, but he sketched out a rudimentary media player in 1979. Sadly, financial difficulties in 1988 meant he couldn’t renew the patent and so it entered the public domain. Apple then used the concept as evidence in their legal case against Burst.com, who were accusing the company of patent infringement and looking for a slice of iProfits.
Kramer’s PMP was called the IXI, and stored only 3.5 minutes of audio and oddly enough it even looks just a bit like what eventually became the iPod. The inventor had to endure ten hours being questioned by Burst’s legal team, who had claimed that the intellectual property of four patents they held was being used by Apple without payment or agreement. Obviously now that Apple has fessed up, Kramer is looking at some kind of compensation. Apple did give Kramer a free iPod that apparently broke after several months. Sadly if not for the lawsuit Kramer may have lived in relative obscurity and we would never have known.