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  4. Was Apple iPod Steve Jobs' promise to his daughter Lisa? What Hollywood movies reveal and the real truth

Was Apple iPod Steve Jobs' promise to his daughter Lisa? What Hollywood movies reveal and the real truth

Hollywood movie depicting Steve Jobs' life and times has hinted that the Apple founder promised his estranged daughter Lisa Brennan a portable music-playing device. Thus, the iPod was born.

Devasheesh Pandey Written by: Devasheesh Pandey New Delhi Updated on: May 11, 2022 18:26 IST
Hollywood movies

Apple founder Steve Jobs has been the subject of Hollywood movies often


  • Several Hollywood movies have attempted to look at Steve Jobs' life and times
  • In Steve Jobs (2015) it is revealed that the Apple founder promises iPod to his daughter Lisa
  • Steve Jobs launched the iPod in an event in October 2001 and the device hit the markets in November

The visionary Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Technologies, announced the launch of the music storage device iPod back in October 2001. The device would 'fit inside one's pocket' and could carry over 1000 songs to listen on the go. It was a technological advancement from the more 'bulky' Walkman and iPod's slender design was an instant lure for the new generation of tech users and music listeners. Over the years after its launch, the iPod's popularity would only grow. It would eventually replace every other portable music-playing device on the market. iPod has left an indelible mark in the history of tech and gadgets and now, Apple has announced that it will be discontinued. 

Read: iPods discontinued after 20 years: How Apple's tiny gadget brought a music revolution

It is interesting to note here what the history of this revolutionary music device is and the various narratives that have been floated via the Hollywood movies on the famed Steve Jobs. 

iPod was Jobs' promise to his daughter Lisa?

In the 2015 movie Steve Jobs based on the Apple founder, Michael Fassbender plays the title role. Danny Boyle has directed it. In one of the scenes in the film, Jobs is seen having an argument with his daughter right before he is about to announce the launch of the iMac computer in 1998. Jobs put aside the world and follows his angry daughter to the rooftop. Wrapping up the conversation, Jobs says to Lisa who is walking away holding a Walkman, "I'm gonna put music in your pocket. 100 songs. 1000 songs. 500 songs. Somewhere between 500-1000 songs right in your pocket because I can't stand looking at that inexplicable Walkman anymore. We are not savages. So I'm gonna put 1000 songs in your pocket."

As per the movie, Jobs kept his promise to Lisa by launching the iPod three years after he said he would.

Jobs' relationship with Lisa

Jobs shared a strained relationship with his daughter Lisa Brennan. He had disowned her mother and after years of denying a paternity test, he finally accepted Lisa to be his biological daughter. In the light of their unloving bond, the scene in Steve Jobs makes more impact as Jobs, when he is about to take the next step in the digital revolution, makes the world wait so that he can apologise to his daughter and mend their relationship. Of course, the movie is meant to depict things with a pinch of salt.

How Jobs (2013) depicts father-daughter relationship 

The 2013 movie Jobs on Steve Jobs, in which Ashton Kutcher plays the title role, delves a little into the difficult relationship Lisa and Jobs shared. From Jobs denying the paternity test and refusing to accept that Lisa is his daughter to finally taking her into his care, Jobs shows an emotional bond that formed between the father and daughter during the later years. Jobs opens with the iPod launch event but does not have any reference to whether the Apple founder promised the music playing device to his estranged daughter or not.  

What is the real history of iPod? 

As per, Tony Fadell, a former executive at Phillips, was trying to create a software that would (legally) sell music and integrate with an MP3 player. This would be a game changer in the digital music industry. After getting repeatedly rejected, Fadell was surprised to find Apple was very interested in his concept. He was hired in early 2001 by Apple employee Jon Rubenstein and given a team of 30 employees to develop a portable music player.

After the initial stages of design and software were developed and showed promise, Jobs became invested in the portable music product. In total, it took Apple only about 8 months from the hiring of Tony Fadell to lead the iPod project to Steve Jobs revealing the product. In November of 2001, the product was available for sale in Apple stores.