The term “PC”, in the technological context, stands for “Personal Computer”. In theory, that computer you’re sitting in front of is a PC, whether it’s a Windows machine, or a Mac, or Linux, or whatever. In practice, of course, when you refer to a computer as a “PC” most people assume a Windows computer. The question “Is it a PC or a Mac?” is not uncommon in terms of wording, because Windows is so ubiquitous that it is the default — the assumption.
While I don’t think that we’re entirely there yet, it is notable that the term “iPod” is becoming shorthand for “portable digital music player”, much the same way “MP3″ in turn means “digital music file”, even though there are many players other than the iPod, and most of them, (including the iPod), do in fact play several file formats other than MP3.
Much as many people feel they are locked into Windows because they have Windows software, Apple is further cementing its position with the iTunes Music Store — every song they sell (several hundred million so far) is another dollar’s worth of music that will only play on the iPod (or a PC — Windows or, of course, Mac).
Which brings us to this (partial) web ad for Ask.com, a.k.a. “Ask Jeeves”. Here is a company, totally separate from Apple, putting out an ad relating to digital music — so they want to depict their mascot, Jeeves, listening to a portable digital music player. He is holding a small rectangle with rounded corners, white on one side, grey (metallic perhaps) on the other, with the headphone cord plugged into the center of the narrow top side. Looks pretty iPod-like to me.
And that, right there, is why I own Apple stock.
(That and the fact that my Dad, who is not a gadget person, owns one; and the fact that as I was leaving my building Friday morning, I reached into my pocket to get mine, and at the same moment, the woman walking next to me pulled hers out of her pocket; and the growing numbers of white earbuds I see in Chicago as I walk from the train to my job — not to mention on the train itself; and… you get the point.)
Now about those Mac Minis….
(Side Note: The image above is not actually the full animation. The original ad was done in Flash, and I recreated it only roughly by turning screen captures into an animated GIF. The full ad was more smoothly animated, and among other things, Jeeves actually is supposed to be snapping his fingers….)
Update (15 April 2005): Another good example is the term “podcasting“, which has a lot to do with digital audio, but is ostensibly not specific to the Apple iPod.