iPod blew everyone’s minds when it first came to the market and promised to play songs for days. Little did we know that this sort of device was invented long before Apple got the idea. Okay, we admit that it wasn’t as tech savvy as an iPod. However, it is still pretty cool when you consider the fact that it was built before digital data store or integrated circuits were commonplace. Lo and behold the Panasonic RS-296US!
It wasn’t as portable as an iPod, or maybe not portable at all as it weighed 40 lbs. However, the RS-296US was able to “store” roughly two-days worth of music. What’s more fascinating is that it was able to play music in a fully programmable fashion. These carousel-type designs got into fashion with CDs later on, but this certainly was one of its kind when it came to playing cassettes.
It could store up to 20 cassettes at a time that were loaded onto the top. Once the device was started, the tape was automatically placed, rewound when finished, flipped for side B, taken out, and replaced with the next cassette in line.
This all sounds pretty sophisticated though. But due to pure mechanical nature of the design, it lacked the ability to record, fast forward, or play side B of a tape before side A. The cost of this gadget was $179 at that time, and it amounts to over $1,000 in today’s world. So indeed it wasn’t as “cool” as today’s smartphones or iPods, but it remains quite a fascinating piece of the technology while considering the time and era of its invention.
Would you prefer using this record over your iPhone for the sake of good old days? Let us know in the comments’ section below!