Essentially it's just a little collection of microchips in a plastic case, but in a few short years the iPod has become the quintessential accessory for music fans everywhere. It's the defining symbol of the role advancing technologies play in every aspect of our lives. In "The Perfect Thing", Steven Levy traces the roots of the download phenomenon with Napster and MP3.com, the seismic shockwaves sent through the music industry around the globe by the burgeoning popularity of internet file-sharing and downloads, to the setting up of iTunes and the invention of the iPod. He talks to the people who were there at the inception, including Apple CEO Steve Jobs and design guru Jonny Ive - the visionaries who designed and sold the iPod to the world. He explores the cultural effects of the iPod: a statement of personal fashion; a point of contact with other users swapping tips and playlists; a tool that has changed the way artists make music in the first place; a multi-billion dollar brand where accessories range from replacement 'white bud' earphones to a full steering wheel iPod set-up for a BMW. Finally, Levy looks to the future of the music industry in the new era and of the iPod itself, and the new technology and marketing nous needed to stay ahead of the competition. Much more than a book for gadget freaks, this is the unique inside story of how a little machine the size of a cigarette packet is conquering and defining the world.