One of the greatest gadgets ever made.
July 21, 2017: Before the iPod there was the Sony Walkman, a gadget so revolutionary that it quite literally changed the way we listened to music.
Originally unveiled in 1979, the Walkman truly set music free by letting people take their cassettes with them and listen to their favourite songs anywhere they wanted.
Where the boombox was powerful but unwieldy, the Walkman felt like a space age gadget. It was portable, it came with headphones and it let you listen to your entire music collection (as long as you had space to carry the cassettes).
In fact, it’s impossible to overstate just how much the Walkman changed our lives. Think how different your evening run or commute would be if you didn’t have music to listen to.
The Walkman not only set our music free but it allowed us to shut ourselves out from the rest of the world, creating a sense of privacy within even the most open or crowded of spaces.
For the next 20 years, the Walkman brand would be used to define the apex of portable listening technology.
Cassettes would evolve into CD players (with jog protection) and then finally in the early 00s the Walkman would become a digital player, holding thousands of high-resolution audio tracks.
Yes the iPod brought digital music to the masses, but it was the Walkman back in 1979 that finally set music free.
In the latest episode of Tech Hunters, Julia Hardy revisits the iconic collection and discovers that if you want your very own original Walkman today, you better start saving.
By Thomas Tamblyn