Wired News: Inside Look at Birth of the IPod: "Ben Knauss is a former senior manager at PortalPlayer, the company Apple Computer approached to help develop an MP3 player that would eventually become the wildly popular iPod.
Knauss shared his firsthand knowledge of the device's development, the glitches that almost killed it, and the extraordinary steps Apple took to keep the iPod a secret.Knauss, who acted as the primary liaison between Apple and PortalPlayer, quit the company in 2001. According to Knauss, the iPod originated with a business idea dreamed up by Tony Fadell, an independent contractor and hardware expert who'd helped develop handheld devices at General Magic and Philips.
Knauss said Fadell left Philips and set himself up as an independent contractor to shop the idea around. Knauss said Fadell approached several companies and was turned away by all of them, except for Apple.
Apple hired Fadell in early 2001 and assigned him a team of about 30 people -- "a typical industrial design team," Knauss said, including designers, programmers and hardware engineers. He's currently the senior director of iPod & Special Projects Group at Apple.
Knauss stayed on until near the end of the iPod's development, but quit shortly before it was released because he had no confidence it would be a success.
"It was probably a mistake, but then you have to go with what you think at the time," he said.
Knauss, 33, is now contracting for Microsoft."