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The Chippy -- April Fool's Day, 1989
The British childrens show Going Live told its viewers about a revolutionary new portable music player called "The Chippy" that would soon be sold in stores.

Host Phillip Schofield said that it was no bigger than a credit card but could store hundreds of songs. And soon, Schofield said, such a device might be able to hold an artist's entire back catalogue. Plus, it could play back any song instantly. It achieved this by storing all the songs on a computer chip. Thus, the name. (The name had a double meaning, since in British slang a "chippy" refers to a fish-and-chips shop.)

Schofield invited viewers to call in and request a song for "The Chippy" to play, and thousands phoned the station.

Toward the end of the show, he revealed that The Chippy was an April Fool joke.

But by 1998, less than 10 years later, such devices were actually being sold. They were the first digital audio players (or MP3 players).

Going Live's Chippy player is best remembered for being an unusually prescient April Fool joke. Tom Townshend, writing for MSN Music, even joked that Schofield invented the iPod, on account of the Chippy joke. invented the iPod. However, the first prototype digital audio players were created as early as 1979. So neither Schofield nor Going Live can really take credit for the idea.

April Fool Categories: Technology, 1989.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.