What the iPod did for music, this will do for energy

Back in the 1980s the Walkman was huge.

For the first time ever people could listen to music on the move – without disturbing anyone else.

The idea came directly from Sony’s 1978 chairman, Akio Morita. He wanted a device that would “let his kids rock out without deafening dad”.

This was the result:

Source: Sailko

The Walkman was an instant hit. It was released in 1979 and went on to sell more than 30 million units over the next ten years. Everybody had one.

Next came the Discman, which used CDs – and used to skip, a lot – and then the MiniDisc player.

But neither of these really had the cultural impact the original Walkman had.

Millennials used to be called “the iPod generation”

In 2001, with the release of the iPod, everything changed.

For the first time people had a reliable way of taking their entire music collection with them wherever they went. This was unprecedented.

Mp3 tech was new, so it took a few years for the iPod to really take off. But by 2005 Apple was selling over 20 million units. In 2006 it hit 39 million – more than the Walkman sold in a decade.

And over 50 million iPods were sold each year from 2007 to 2010.

What made the iPod so successful?

It took a burgeoning technology that had huge potential but no easy way in and made it accessible to the masses.

There were mp3 players before the iPod but as Apple argued they were “big and clunky or small and useless” and had “unbelievably awful” user interfaces.

I remember buying one of those “small and useless” mp3 players in 2000. It was about the size of a matchbox and could fit about six songs on it.

I thought it was amazing. I used to take it everywhere. But Apple was right. For the mass market an mp3 player like that would never work.

A year later the iPod was released. And for the first time ever, you could store your entire music library in your jeans pocket.

It was small, but not too small. It could hold around 2,500 songs and had a battery that lasted ten hours. Best of all, it was incredibly easy to use.

The iPod changed the way a whole generation thought about music. People around my age were literally referred to as “the iPod generation”.

What the iPod did for music, fusion will do for energy

Okay, so by now you’re probably wondering what this all has to do with energy.

Well the way I see it, the energy market right now is like the music market of the mid-2000s.

We still had the big clunky tech in charge. Walkman, Discman and MiniDisc players were still the most popular way of listening to music on the move.

We can think of these like coal, oil and gas. They work, but not very well.

If there was no iPod, you’d think your MiniDisc player was just fine. Until renewables became viable alternatives, the pollution and unsustainability of fossil fuels was just something we accepted.

Then new, innovative tach was unlocked. Those “big and clunky or small and useless” mp3 players that came before the iPod are like today’s renewables.

The tech is good, and the potential is massive. But on their own they are not powerful or useful enough to overthrow our appetite for fossil fuels.

In some niches, they do just fine. Just like some people liked those early mp3 players. Britain’s Royal Oil project is a great example of this. It is providing clean, unending energy in Cornwall.

But for the world stage, renewables don’t yet have the power of oil, coal and gas.

We are waiting for that iPod moment, and that moment may be upon us.

Fusion energy. That thing that has long been promised but never yet delivered is now a reality.

Fusion is how the sun itself makes its energy. And now we can recreate that reaction here on Earth. To say this could revolutionise energy is an understatement.

If you’re not aware of how fusion energy works, here’s a brief explainer.

Unlocking the power of the sun, here on Earth

Fusion energy, also known as an artificial star generator, is a form of nuclear energy.

Unlike our current nuclear plants, which are based on nuclear fission, the artificial star generator uses nuclear fusion.

In the most basic terms:

  • Nuclear fission is the splitting of one atom into two, creating large amounts of energy.
  • Nuclear fusion is the combining of two atoms into one, creating vast amounts of energy – orders of magnitude more than nuclear fission.

It’s called an artificial star generator because nuclear fusion is the process that gives our sun and other stars their energy.

Nuclear fusion is literally harnessing one of the most powerful forces in the universe. And doing that is just as difficult as it sounds.

It took just three years between the first nuclear fission detonation in 1945 and the first nuclear power plant coming online.

Whereas it’s been over 60 years since the first nuclear fusion detonation in 1952, and there’s no sign yet of a nuclear fusion power plant.

At least there wasn’t.

But all that has now changed, thanks to a new superconducting material. This technology now makes nuclear fusion possible. The world-changing potential here is huge.

The way I see it, this is energy’s iPod moment.

And what’s more, Eoin has tracked down the one company making this massive breakthrough possible and he will soon be releasing his full research on it.

Here’s a sneak peek from his presentation:

If I’m not being clear enough here, let me be blunt about this:

  • Fusion energy is THE secret to creating infinite, clean energy here on Earth.
  • It has never been possible to make it work… until just a few months ago.
  • Scientists have proved that – thanks to high end superconductors – it is possible.
  • And I’ve discovered ONE tiny company is quietly supplying those superconductors to the world’s top energy experts.
  • Infinite energy is at stake. A tiny company holds all the cards.
  • And right now you have the chance to get in before other analysts put two and two together.

And he’s not exaggerating when he says this has the potential to create infinite energy here on Earth. That’s how the late Stephen Hawking described fusion energy: “[Fusion energy] would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.”

A lot of tech gets hyped up beyond its real benefits or potential, but fusion is not one of them. This is world-changing stuff. So look out for Eoin’s fusion report. I’ll keep you posted on when he’s releasing it.

Until next time,

Harry Hamburg
Editor, Exponential Investor

Category: Technology

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