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What Do the Letters in "iPod" Stand For?

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/10/2010

What does the "i" in iPod stand for? We were curious too. If you're asking "What do the letters in iPod stand for?" we've got some explanations for you.

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    We’ve all thought about it as we scroll through our many iPod songs: what do the letters in iPod stand for? Do they stand for anything? Or, is this just another catchy Apple name? Well, the answers to these questions depend on the source. So, let’s explore the proposed answers to the iPod question.

    First of all, let’s go into what an iPod does. It’s a portable device that allows you to hold thousands of songs on a little machine. This was one of the first players that allowed you to take your music anywhere without having to carry multiple CDs or a boom box.

    The first obvious answer is that it’s an acronym for something. Well, each letter may not stand for something, but the "i" in iPod definitely has significance. It’s been proposed that the "i" actually refers to Internet. It's also been suggested that it just follows the Apple pattern of naming all of its creations. For example, the iBook, iTunes and iMac all start with the letter "i".

    This "i" has become a symbol of Apple itself. Many people believe that the letter stands for intelligent or even interface.

    The Pod part of the name may actually be an acronym for something too. For example, many people think it means portable open database (POD). So, the iPod name could stand for interactive portable open database.

    Steve Jobs has even joked in an interview saying the "i" in front of Pod actually stands for idiot. But, no one really gives credence to this theory.

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    2001: A Space Odyssey

    The next major theory is that it’s a reference to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first iPod was released in 2001, which was the year that the futuristic movie was set. This movie centers around a man stuck in a space ship with a computer that has taken over the ship. The name of the computer is HAL.

    In one part of the movie, the astronaut says the following line: “Open the pod bay door, HAL”. And, people think iPod is taken from this line. The pod reference in the line refers to the EVA Pods used on the Discovery One spaceship. The EVA pods were white and very small. They were only able to hold a single person.

    What gives more credence to this theory is that the pod was supposed to be a vessel that held the seeds of a plant. And, your iPod contains hundreds or thousands of small files of music that could be viewed as tiny seeds.

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    Does It Mean Anything?

    Then, of course, there’s the overwhelming theory that the letters in iPod really don't stand for anything, and that Apple just came up with a cute name. And, that people are literally just chasing ghosts. So, what you choose to believe is entirely up to you. What do you think it stands for? Do you think it’s all just a big joke?