September 7, 2005
Apple introduces the iPod Nano, effectively replacing the iPod Mini. The move surprised many in the industry, as the iPod Mini was extremely popular. However, the use of flash storage instead of a hard drive allowed for a much smaller form factor, increased reliability, and better battery life. These improvements proved extremely popular with consumers as one million units were sold in the first 17 days. The pioneering use of flash storage in a consumer electronic device paved the way for its use in many future Apple product designs, such as the iPhone, iPad, and flash storage-based MacBooks.
August 27, 2003
The city of Fairbanks, Alaska connected to what was at the time the world’s largest battery backup. Designed to help prevent serious blackouts that plagued the city every two to three years, the batteries could provide power to the city for a few minutes – enough time to start up the city’s backup diesel generators. The battery contains 13,760 cells covering more than 10,000 square feet. It was reported that in the first two years of operation, the battery system prevented at least 81 power failures.
August 26, 1938
Radio station WQXR in New York City broadcasts a program using a tape recorder for the first time. The tape recorder used was the Phillips-Miller recording system, also known as Millertape, invented by James Arthur Miller.
August 18, 1947
Hewlett-Packard is incorporated by William Hewlett and David Packard, nine years after they sold their first products from their garage in Palo Alto. Hewlett and Packard got their start in 1938 by producing oscillators used to test audio equipment. Since selling eight of their first oscillators to Disney for use in preparing movie theaters for the movie Fantasia, HP has grown to one of the largest technology companies in the world.
August 17, 1982
“The Visitors” by ABBA becomes the world’s first commercial music compact disc (CD) manufactured, pressed in Langenhagen, Germany by Polygram Records, a subsidiary of Royal Phillips Electronics. Phillips and Sony co-developed the CD standard, which was designed to be the successor to the phonograph record. By the time the CD went on sale in November of that year, about 150 titles had been produced.
August 3, 1993
Apple introduces the Newton MessagePad, one of the world’s first Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). The term PDA was first used by Apple CEO John Scully in 1992. While a commercial failure, the Newton platform set the bar for future PDA designs. But perhaps the most important advancement the Newton offered to the technology industry was the development of the ARM processor architecture. Apple invested heavily in the fledgling architecture to power the Newton devices. The ARM architecture has been the foundation of most of the world’s mobile devices since that time, including all versions of the Apple iPhone and iPad. Incidentally, in 1998 Apple sold their ownership interest in ARM, generating $800 million. This gave Apple some much needed cash to carry them through their darkest days.
August 2, 1873
The Clay Street Railroad begins operation, making it the first cable car in San Francisco’s now famous cable car system.
MTV, presumably standing for “Music Television”, launches on cable TV. As most people know, after the introduction sequence, the first video played was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. However, a bit of trivia is that the second song played was “You Better Run” by Pat Benatar. MTV had an immediate impact on the music industry and was an iconic symbol of the technology-driven 1980’s.