Ten years ago, Apple released the very first iPod, a deceptively simple media player that dramatically changed the way people listen to music.

iPod is not the first MP3 player to appear in the world but it is the first to be sold to the masses and it finally revolutionized the music industry.

On October 23, 2001, Apple took the wraps off the first iPod in a special event held in its Cupertino campus. What was presented to the public was a sleek white gadget no bigger than a deck of cards which can hold 1,000 songs and offers 10 hours of battery life. The first iPod had a black and white LCD screen and featured a 5 GB hard drive. Apple used a 1.8 hard drive, whereas its competitors at that time were using 2.5 hard drives.

Upon its unveiling, the iPod was met with severe skepticism from Apple fans and one New York Times article stated, it's a nice feature for Macintosh users, but to the rest of the Windows world, it doesn't make any difference.

In 2002 when Apple started iTunes store and iTunes for Window, iPod slowly began to be accepted. By June 2003, Apple sold 1million iPods. By the end of 2004, the number became 10 million, which is still a tiny number compared to the 297 million worldwide as of December 2010.

The noontide of the sales started from 2004 and ever since iPod has dominated the digital music player sales in the United States, with the iPod accounting for over 90% of the market for hard drive-based players and over 70% of the market for all types of players. Between January 2004 and January 2005, the high rate of sales of iPod caused its U.S. market share to increase from 31% to 65% and in July 2005, this market share increased to 74%. In January 2007 the iPod market share reached 72.7% according to Bloomberg Online.

Nowadays, however, sales of iPod have slowed down. This is mostly because more and more users carry music on their smartphones. And why not? After all, all smartphones offer audio play and large storage capacity.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, iPod sales accounted for only 8 percent of Apple’s revenue and despite iPod turning 10, it is possible that Apple may phase out its production. Hence the billion dollar question - Is the revolutionary MP3 player dying?

This quarter Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent decline from the year-ago quarter.

According to venturebeat.com, iPod may be slowing dying, as people do not need to update those units each year or they simply use their iPhones /other smartphones to listen to music.

The NPD Group’s market research also showed that Americans are reaching for their iPods less often than they used to.

What do you think? Will the iconic iPod die a slow death? Leave your comments below.