SLIDESHOW

iPod Oddities

A decade of weird sidelights of the world's most iconic gadget.

Happy Birthday iPod Classic

Ten years ago this week, Apple unleashed a potent musical force upon the world. I speak of the iPod, that tiny white box of a thousand songs that captivated the world for years after its introduction.

In honor of this anniversary, I decided to look back weird accessories, strange artistic tributes, and other odd sidelights of the world’s most iconic digital music player. So put in your earbuds and zone out from civilized society — it’s time for iPod Oddities.

Rock Your Teeth

The first iPod visually defined itself by its stark, pure whiteness. Wouldn’t you want your teeth to do the same? Dr. Bocelli, a mysterious figure associated with “The Institute for the Advancement of Musical Science” solved that problem in 2007 with the Bocelli Musical Whitening System.

The System, no longer for sale, shipped with a mouthpiece in which you’d place chemical whitening strips. After sticking it into your mouth, you’d plug the mouthpiece’s cord into your favorite iPod. The mouthpiece would then vibrate in sync with music played on the iPod, giving you that tingly fresh feeling you expect from a musical whitening experience.

(Photos: Institute for the Advancement of Musical Science)

Post-War iPod

German industrial designer Dieter Rams created the sleek, minimalistic look of this Braun T3 Pocket Transistor Radio in 1958. Some have compared its design to that of the first iPod–wheel-shaped input device and all–and it’s no surprise: chief iPod designer Jonathan Ive has expressed admiration for Rams’ work on more than one occasion.

(Photos: Apple, The Museum of Modern Art)

Encased in Carbonite

This functional iPod sculpture originated in 2007 when American artist Billy Chasen decided to make a real-life version of an exploded diagram.

Chasen carefully disassembled his iPod and set it in a block of acrylic resin, but he made sure to leave the iPod’s dock connector projecting through the bottom of the acrylic block.

Amazingly, the iPod still works. With the dock connector exposed, Chasen has full control over his media player even though he can never touch it directly.

(Photos: Billy Chasen)

iPod Kills

No, your eyes aren’t about to explode. You’re looking at WowPod, an interactive media sculpture created by Russian artists Aristarkh Chernyshev and Alexei Shulgin in 2008.

Believe it or not, this wavy iPod replica actually works — its screen, controls, and matching giant earbuds perform as you’d expect.

(Photo: XL Gallery)

Do Not Adjust Your Set

No, your eyes aren’t about to explode. You’re looking at WowPod, an interactive media sculpture created by Russian artists Aristarkh Chernyshev and Alexei Shulgin in 2008.

Believe it or not, this wavy iPod replica actually works — its screen, controls, and matching giant earbuds perform as you’d expect.

(Photo: XL Gallery)

Rube Goldberg Would Approve

Since the creation of iPod, people have wondered the best way to control a docked iPod from a distance. In 2007, Acme Research came up with a novel solution that involves a tiny video camera pointed at your iPod’s screen. Simply hook the LeDoc up to your TV set and you’ll be able to navigate iPod’s menus from across the room with the included remote control.

(Photo: Acme Research)

Abe Lincoln’s iPod

If Apple’s Jonathan Ive were a lumberjack, he might design an iPod like the one seen here.

In reality, a fellow named Josh D outfitted his beloved iPod Mini with a handmade case of Australian redwood and brass. The resulting device exudes class and style (especially when sitting in its matching wooden dock), lending a timeless air to an inherently ephemeral piece of technology.

(Photos: Josh D)

For Those With Very Large Ears

Over the past 10 years, the earbuds Apple packs in with every iPod have become just as iconic as the iPod itself. Rampant devotion to the Cult of Earbuds results in outlandish tributes every now and then, including this 500XL iPod speaker system released in 2008. Shaped like giant iPod earbuds, the speakers are allegedly 500 times the size of the original. That’s pretty big.

(Photo: Fred and Friends)

The iPod…in 1979?

In 1979, British inventor Kane Kramer conceived of the world’s first solid state digital music player. He sketched up designs for his invention (seen here) that look eerily similar to products that would emerge 20 years later. Kramer envisioned a world where people would buy and download digital music over telephone lines, even though his design contained only enough memory to store 3.5 minutes of audio. Despite his best efforts, Kramer’s invention never left the prototype stage.

He patented the design in the US and UK, but failed to renew it long before Apple released the iPod. Apple used Kramer’s creation as evidence of prior art in a patent case waged against it in 2007.

(Photos: Kane Kramer)

Point and Shoot

By now, we’ve all seen iPods hooked up to strange and fanciful accessories, but have you ever seen one attached to a M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System?

The iPod Touch seen here is running BulletFlight, a ballistic computation app developed by Knights Armaments that helps snipers predict the trajectories of bullets fired from high powered rifles. Knights Armaments also sells a custom iPod Touch rifle mount (also seen here) that works in conjunction with an iPod case designed by OtterBox.

(Photos: Knights Armaments)

Mass Synchronization

Own a bunch of iPods? The Parasync, seen here, lets you charge and synchronize as many as 20 of them from a single iTunes library. That means you could sync every model of iPod ever made (those with dock connectors) at the same time.

The Parasync seems odd at first glance, but consider the fact that some schools deploy iPods to an entire classroom of students at once. Now, all of them can listen to Steely Dan together.

Happy Birthday, iPod.

(Photo: Parat Solutions)