Pour one out for the iPod, the attractive little gadget of my teenage goals. Whereas Apple lastly discontinued the last iPod model this week, the “pod” lives on within the digital audio medium all of us love and obsess over.
The iPod was by no means actually the format the place the podcast flourished (that will be the smartphone), however on the time podcasts have been getting began, the iPod was just about the one sport on the town. In 2004, the iPod controlled 60 percent of the full MP3 participant market. It was the default possibility for listening to audio exhibits on the go, if an inelegant one.
“It was a horrible expertise,” says Leo Laporte, founding father of early digital audio outlet This Week in Tech (TwiT) and host of radio present The Tech Man. “You needed to obtain it to your laptop, join your laptop by way of iTunes to your iPod, copy it over your iPod, after which you could possibly hearken to it.”
However with the gadget ubiquitous, the “podcast” identify appeared like a pure match for the scrappy on-line audio exhibits that have been beginning to emerge. So pure that two individuals declare to have individually merged “iPod” and “broadcast” collectively. The primary recorded occasion is in a 2004 Guardian article by journalist and technologist Ben Hammersley the place he threw round potential names for the medium (“GuerillaMedia” didn’t catch). That very same 12 months, digital audio pioneer Dannie Gregoire named one among his software program packages “podcaster” and registered domains that includes the phrase “podcast,” then popularized it with the help of former MTV VJ and early podcast host Adam Curry. Gregoire says he had not been conscious of Hammersley’s article earlier than developing with the identify. “It’s an apparent phrase to provide you with, given the know-how,” he mentioned. Hammersley didn’t reply to request for remark.
Both method, it caught on. Apple not solely let the phrase stay, regardless of potential trademark infringement, but it surely embraced the medium wholeheartedly by making a podcast listing in iTunes in 2005. That very same 12 months, George W. Bush began releasing his presidential radio addresses in podcast kind. The New Oxford American Dictionary took discover of all of the hubbub and made “podcast” its 2005 word of the year.
Not everybody was thrilled. For years, Laporte fought — and misplaced — the battle to rebrand “podcasting” as “netcasting,” arguing that the phrase tied the shape too intently to Apple. Time has confirmed him proper and improper. Sure, the iPod was a fleeting section within the run of podcasting. However the phrase outgrew its namesake to the purpose the place Apple is only one a part of the podcasting ecosystem and never even the dominant one. Spotify has taken its crown because the most-used platform for podcasting, and Apple’s podcast programming is minimal, at greatest.
Even so, the phrase is inescapable. Just a few years in the past, Laporte relented and at last modified the TWiT Netcast Community to the TWiT Podcast Community. “That’s the way in which language is,” he mentioned. “You may’t combat it.”
This story initially ran in Sizzling Pod, The Verge’s preeminent audio trade publication. You may subscribe here for extra scoops, evaluation, and reporting.