iPod. It’s a name that I often find myself idly pondering.
I always thought that “iPod” was a fantastic, forward-looking bit of branding from Apple. It was a name which would allow the humble MP3 player to evolve and advance way, way beyond just audio. Add photos. Add videos. Add games. Add PDA functions, telephony and internet connectivity. Add anything. And all with an ever-increasing storage capacity. It was clear that this vessel, this capsule, this pod, might one day carry your entire digital life. So I was very surprised and a little disappointed when the name was changed with the introduction of the iPhone and the clever iPod marque apparently demoted. I assumed, being left to gradually and graciously fade away.
Indeed, Horace Dediu, the king of analysing all figures related to Apple, recently predicted that the iPod as we know it will die in 2015.
Bob Cringely still foresees an Apple device we’ll carry around our life on:
It should be no surprise, then, that Apple — a company known for its market timing — has just started shipping a new Mac Pro. That amazing computer is overkill for 95 percent of the desktop market. It represents the new desktop PC archetype, which is a very expensive hugely powerful machine tightly aimed at the small population of professional users who still need a desktop. Unless you are editing HD video all day every day, you don’t need a new desktop PC.
What the rest of us will get are new phones and whole new classes of peripherals. The iPhone in your pocket will become your desktop whenever you are within range of your desktop display, keyboard and mouse. These standalone devices will be Apple’s big sellers in 2014 and big sellers for HP and Dell in 2015 and beyond. The next iPod/iPhone/iPad will be a family of beautiful AirPlay displays that will serve us just fine for at least five years linked to an ever-changing population of iPhones.
It’s an idea that i’ve had myself before now, so unsurprisingly I need little convincing. And there’s no reason that a future iPhone device could not return to using its ancestral moniker. Apple have surprised me before on this front and could do it again.
Meanwhile, there are lots and lots and lots of rumours of an “iWatch” or other wearable device(s) coming soon from Apple. As Gruber rightly notes, you can easily see this sort of product adopting the iPod name.
So perhaps, in one way or another, the iPod brand does have a future and could yet refer to the device we carry our whole digital life around on. I do hope so.