In a story shared by the CEO of Stripe, Patrick Collison, Tony Fadell describes the timeline of the original iPod. Fadell says he joined Apple in late January to run the iPod project but that when he joined, the iPod wasn’t an iPod — Apple wanted to make a hard-drive-based MP3 player but that was essentially it. “No team, prototype, designs, nothing”.
Incredibly, the product was completed before the end of the year. Fadell pitched a design prototype to Jobs in March, the team found manufacturing partners in April, and Apple started shipping the first devices to customers in November.