Since the iPod’s inauspicious launch event (“It’s going to be the hottest gift this holiday season,” quoth Steve Jobs), the face of gadgetry has changed completely. It furthered the cause of digital media. It made people who would otherwise claim to have no interest in technology jelly-kneed. It paved the way for the smartphone and tablet revolutions. Sure, most of this stuff would have happened eventually anyway, but there’s no doubt that the iPod accelerated the march of digital technology and turned gadgets into front-page stories. For us, its 10th birthday gave us an excuse to traipse the corridors of recent history in search of other genre-defining gadgets. Ah, what joyous memories… You can see our retrospective findings in a story called 39 Gadgets That Changed The World in this month's issue, on sale now. Get misty-eyed – and expect a few surprises. Surprise is everywhere this month. We were very surprised, for example, to see just how excited we could get by a fast autofocus – the Olympus PEN E-P3 we tested is astonishing, honest – and at how much joy you can get from a tablet that costs less than £200, and at how good electric bikes have got. Nice surprises, just as the iPod was in 2001. Enjoy.
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