The iPod is dead, but the podcast lives on

Maria J. Smith

Pour just one out for the iPod, the gorgeous tiny gadget of my teenage desires. Though Apple last but not least discontinued the very last iPod model this week, the “pod” life on in the electronic audio medium we all enjoy and obsess about.

The iPod was by no means really the format wherever the podcast flourished (that would be the smartphone), but at the time podcasts had been having commenced, the iPod was pretty a lot the only activity in city. In 2004, the iPod controlled 60 p.c of the full MP3 player industry. It was the default selection for listening to audio demonstrates on the go, if an inelegant one particular.

“It was a terrible encounter,” says Leo Laporte, founder of early digital audio outlet This Week in Tech (TwiT) and host of radio clearly show The Tech Man. “You had to down load it to your laptop or computer, hook up your computer system by way of iTunes to your iPod, duplicate it above your iPod, and then you could pay attention to it.”

But with the gadget ubiquitous, the “podcast” name appeared like a normal suit for the scrappy on line audio exhibits that were being setting up to arise. So normal that two people today claim to have independently merged “iPod” and “broadcast” alongside one another. The to start with recorded occasion is in a 2004 Guardian post by journalist and technologist Ben Hammersley where by he threw all around likely names for the medium (“GuerillaMedia” did not catch). That exact same yr, electronic audio pioneer Dannie Gregoire named a person of his software program packages “podcaster” and registered domain names showcasing the term “podcast,” then popularized it with the assist of previous MTV VJ and early podcast host Adam Curry. Gregoire suggests he had not been mindful of Hammersley’s short article ahead of coming up with the title. “​​It’s an clear phrase to appear up with, given the technologies,” he explained. Hammersley did not answer to request for remark.

Both way, it caught on. Apple not only allow the word stay, in spite of likely trademark infringement, but it embraced the medium wholeheartedly by building a podcast directory in iTunes in 2005. That exact calendar year, George W. Bush began releasing his presidential radio addresses in podcast form. The New Oxford American Dictionary took detect of all the hubbub and designed “podcast” its 2005 phrase of the yr.

Not everybody was thrilled. For decades, Laporte fought — and dropped — the battle to rebrand “podcasting” as “netcasting,” arguing that the phrase tied the form way too intently to Apple. Time has tested him ideal and erroneous. Of course, the iPod was a fleeting period in the operate of podcasting. But the phrase outgrew its namesake to the level in which Apple is just just one portion of the podcasting ecosystem and not even the dominant 1. Spotify has taken its crown as the most-employed system for podcasting, and Apple’s podcast programming is nominal, at greatest.

Even so, the word is inescapable. A couple of decades back, Laporte relented and ultimately improved the TWiT Netcast Network to the TWiT Podcast Community. “That’s the way language is,” he explained. “You just can’t struggle it.”


This story originally ran in Hot Pod, The Verge’s preeminent audio market newsletter. You can subscribe in this article for additional scoops, assessment, and reporting.

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