The word "iPod" has come to be so common, the product so ubiquitous, that we hardly blank an eye at it anymore. But the success of the iPod has made us forget that its a pretty weird word, a word that didn't exist before the iPod itself did.
When giving new products invented names, companies often create the name based on a meaning or acronym. Is that the case here? Does "iPod" stand for anything?
Short answer? Nope.
The word iPod doesn't exactly stand for anything, at least in the sense that it's not completely an acronym. But the name itself is based on a few things.
IPod may be an invented word, but that doesn't mean that the name doesn't have a meaning. The name derives from two different sources: the "i" and the "pod."
The "i" was a common component of the names that Apple gave products in 2001, when the iPod was released. Among the examples of this are iMac, iBook, iPhoto, and iTunes. While some of those products live on, Apple has largely dropped the "i" prefix from its products (the Macbook replaced the iBook, for instance), though it lives on in iTunes, iMac, and iPad.
As to where the "i" comes from, there are different theories. Some say that "i" stands for "internet," though that doesn't quite seem to ring true in all instances. Other people say the "i" stands for the first initial of Apple designer Jonathan Ive's last name. Ive's innovative and appealing hardware designs have made Apple products very influential, but he designs hardware, not software, so that doesn't explain the use of the "i" for programs like iTunes.
The "pod," according to some sources, stands for "portable open database," the name of the software that runs the iPod.
The answer, though, is less satisfying (and, perhaps, a bit less clear). The word iPod doesn't, apparently, get its name either from Ive or an acronym. Instead, the story goes that the name iPod was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelancer Apple had hired to work with the original iPod design team, who was inspired by the movie 2001. Wikipedia has the full details on this inspiration.
So, there you go. Next time the question of whether iPod is an acronym comes up in conversation, you'll have the answer. You'll be a hit at parties or ready to help your team win its next trivia night.
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