Happy 40th Birthday, Sony Walkman
Sony unveiled the first Walkman unit – the TPS-L2 – in Japan on July 1, 1979.
The very first portable music player used audiocassettes, which allowed – when paired with headphones plugged directly into the unit – its user to enjoy music privately.
While it may seem silly now, the ability to bring your music with you was revolutionary. And the technology would go on to change the world.
Over time, Sony upgraded the Walkman with dual audio jacks, the ability to play both sides of the cassette tape automatically, and the ability to record sign.
Sony’s WM-D6C and WM-DD9 models became top sellers in the 1980s, and have gone on to become prized by collectors.
The Walkman was the dominant form of portable audio – with Sony adapting the brand to play compact discs - right up until the beginning of the 21st century when digital music started to outpace analogue and the arrival of the iPod.
In 2010, Sony officially ceased production of its cassette Walkman range. However, it continues to use the Walkman brand in portable audio products and high-fidelity players.
While Panasonic and Toshiba also launched portable music players, such was the ubiquity of the Sony line of products, the word ‘Walkman’ quickly became a generic name for all portable cassette players.