The original iPod was released in October 2004. When Apple released the iPod, there was no explanation of what iPod stands for. Many people have developed theories to explain what iPod means. What does iPod stand for?
Apple has several products that begin with a lower case “i.” The iMac, iBook, and iTunes are a few examples. When the iMac was released, Apple stated that the “i” stood for “Internet.” The “i” eventually lost its “Internet” significance as it became a tag to identify consumer-friendly products as opposed to commercial products. Whether “Internet” still applies is really just a matter of opinion.
The word “iPod” does not look like an acronym in which each letter stands for a word. In acronyms, every letter is capitalized. For example, NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The capitalization of only the “P” in iPod suggests that the brand name is in two parts: “i” and “Pod.”
What is a pod? A pod is an enclosure that holds something. Examples of definitions for “pod” from dictionaries include “a streamlined compartment” and “protective housing.” Considering that an iPod is both a streamlined compartment and protective housing along with the selective capitalization used, this is a likely meaning of iPod.
One story about the meaning of iPod states that the “i” stands for intern, suggesting that an intern at the Apple Corporation developed the device. This seems highly unlikely, not because an intern would be incapable of doing so, but because of all the products that begin with “i.” Are we also to assume that the iMac, iTunes, iBook, etc. were also developed by interns? One would wonder why Apple would have anyone but interns working for them if that were the case.
Another story about what iPod stands for treats “Pod” like an acronym “POD.” This theory claims that the software for the iPod was originally called the Portable Open Database. During development, the product was referred to as such. By the time the product was to be released to the public, calling the device the POD was well-ingrained and Apple stuck with the name. In keeping with their system of brand names, Apple put their “i” signifier in front of it and the iPod was born.
For those of us who are not techies or have an inside contact at Apple, the validity of that story is open to speculation. Even if the “Pod” in iPod started out as an acronym for Portable Open Database, one must assume that Apple saw fit to change the “POD” to “Pod.” In doing so, Apple may have intending the meaning of “Pod” to merely reflect the standard dictionary definition. So, we have “iPod,” a user-friendly storage compartment for songs and videos.