Monday, May 16, 2005

iPod Goes Goes Mainstream with Moms: Is Podcasting Next?

This week brought yet another indication that the Apple iPod is more than a trendy fashion statement. I suppose buying one was inevitable, given that my family lives nearly next door to Apple, and these sleek devices have been proliferating around the high school campus my teenager attends, though I tend to be skeptical about the gadget du jour, with a stash of now outdated game consoles and various devices gathering dust. My son and I did research on the web looking at the different iPod models, and I was frankly surprised by the new capabilities.

Earlier, I had quickly discovered the utility of flash computer drives for transferring lecture materials from my home computer to classroom computers, and thought their 256 mb capacity perfectly adequate, but now I discovered the iPod could be used the same way, but has a 20 GB hard drive, twice the capacity of our home computer. Then in browsing through the technical specifications, I discovered somewhere along the way, some "parent-friendly" software had been developed to download an electronic calendar, phone numbers, address books and to-do lists, the reasons early generations of PDA's were popular.

Now this was becoming much more interesting, but somehow the games and hype about the size of the playlists still didn't fit my baseball/soccer mom image. But then my Newsweek arrived the day after Mother's Day with guest columnist, Caroline Gong, another soccer mom, declaring "I Can't Live Without My Darling iPod" and I got a different perspective. I had already noticed the proliferation of iPod accessories in my local Fry's electronics, well beyond the desires of fickle teenagers. And then I discovered the iTunes store has downloadable audio books, including best sellers and language lessons, plus National Public Radio programs. Up until now, I had considered podcasting an interesting technology ahead of its time appealing primarily to technogeeks, but with moms (and their buying power) embracing the underlying gadgets, 2005 could become the year that podcasting goes mainstream!
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