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The original Sony Walkman TPS-L2 in a shop

SCIENCE & TECH: The Sony Walkman turns 45 – here’s why it’s still the most iconic gadget of all time

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If you show a cassette tape to almost anyone under the age of about 25 and ask them what they think it does, they’ll stare blankly back at you like you’ve just asked them to open a tin of beans with a flip-flop. But with the original Sony Walkman – the Sony TPS-L2 – turning 45 years old today, it’s time to recognize it for what it is: the most iconic gadget of all time. 

If there’s one thing Gen Z likes it’s overusing the word ‘iconic’, but in this case it’s entirely deserved. Cassettes had been around since the early 1960s, developed by Philips as a far more convenient alternative to vinyl and reel-to-reel tape, but it wasn’t until Sony launched the TPS-L2 in 1979 that the little plastic rectangles really came into their own. 



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