BY contrast, Apple says it developed the iPod in just six months, faster than any major product in the company's history. The hand-held device, which contains more computing power than an early Macintosh, was put together starting in 2001 by hardware designers led by Tony Fadell, a young engineer who had worked at the Apple spinoff General Magic, at Philips Electronics and briefly at RealNetworks, led by Rob Glaser, who has developed the Rhapsody music service.
In the late 1990's, Mr. Fadell tried to start his own Silicon Valley company, Fuse, designing consumer electronics products, including some related to digital music. When Fuse failed to get financing, he went to Apple, first as a contractor in February 2001, and then in April that year as the senior director of the iPod and other special projects.
He would eventually build a 35-member team of engineers from Apple and other companies. Using a version of a microprocessor that powers most cellphones, the group brought the iPod together rapidly by relying on software licensed from a small start-up, Pixo, a cellphone software company founded by Paul Mercer, another former Apple engineer.