A package was delivered to the Sales Director of Apple Computer Japan, Inc.
It contained a small white and metallic device similar in appearance to a remote control for an air conditioner. The prominent wheel and LED screen were embedded into the surface of the white lacquer finish and it looked beautiful, but it was difficult to discern whether or not there was a market for this device called iPod. Who is going to buy this thing?
Before the advent of iPod, users had to spend days converting their CD music to MP3 files and then transfer those files to MP3 music players. Searching for songs in the transferred files was arduous to say the least because scrolling through hundreds of songs didn't take seconds, it took a minutes. The amount of time and effort it took to find and play the song you wanted was unbelievable.
Apple bought the rights to SoundJam MP software in 2000 from Casady & Greene which Apple turned into iTunes. I owned Creative's Nomad Jukebox and had been using it with iTunes. I found the Jukebox difficult to use because its technology was incomplete. I also felt that the market for Jukebox was simply too small.
Considering the mountain of potential copyright issues, I was convinced that these portable music players were too problematic to have any kind of success. Singaporean sound card maker Creative Technology and the French electronics company ARCHOS, maker of the Jukebox 6000, were both contending for what I was convinced to be a small customer base. Issues with the integration of software and hardware in many of the products themselves were widespread.
My reaction to the first generation iPod was that it would be another gimmick that does not work well. I brought the iPod home and connected it to my computer but the data transfer process did not go smoothly. However, within a very short time the iTunes software was updated and gradually the problems were resolved.
The most impressive improvement of iPod over other music players was the music search speed using the iPod's click wheel. The product's seamless operability and the impact of watching Apple's first iPod television commercial gradually convinced me that this mobile music product would change the world. In debating the future of iPod with counterparts at Apple's headquarters, I was challenged to think about what could be done with the form factor.
After leaving Apple in 2003, I founded TUNEWEAR and began designing and producing high quality cases and accessories first for Apple's iPod and then for other Apple devices. We grew to become a top brand in the cases and accessories category with great success in Japan and throughout Asia. Now we have sold thousands of products around the world.
We take product development very seriously and conceived of the majority of product and packaging designs which are sold in the marketplace today. The patent for the first silicone case in the world was registered in 2005 and awarded to TUNEWEAR in 2006. TUNEWEAR continues to secure U.S. and European patents for a variety of forms, designs and uses. In 2011, FRAME x FRAME was awarded a patent for the first metal frame iPhone case that does not use screws. In 2015, CableArt was awarded a patent for its simple and uncomplicated cable design.
As for the origin of the TUNEWEAR name, when the company was established we were entirely dedicated to making iPod accessories. Our Japanese tagline was "Wear the Tunes." In English this became "Wear the Music, Hear the Tunes." Even as smartphones have become the norm, TUNEWEAR has not changed its name as a testament to its over 10 years of producing functional and stylish cases and accessories.