Don't agree, when the iPod came I didn't understood the hype until I actually *tried* one: it completely blew the competition out of the water! This was a product made by people that understood that usability was everything. Most players at that time has an interface that sucked: slow and barely usable, best to just turn it on and let it play and maybe press "skip" when you didn't like a song. Maybe there were others that were just as good (or even better), but if they existed they certainly didn't have the marketing Apple had.
The same is true for the first iPhone, it basically showed the rest what was possible and where the bar to entry was, you are either able to deliver what Apple does or you just don't count. Oh and besides the fact of course that they forced telcos to provide flat-fee internet, something nobody had been able to do.