In search of the missing ‘i’ in Apple Watch

“Apple Inc’s Tuesday launch was a marketing extravaganza stuffed full of gadgets, corporate hyperbole and celebrities of every stripe,” Christina Farr and Jennifer Saba report for Reuters. “One thing was missing: the ‘i’ in front of the Watch.'”

“The company that spends hundreds of millions of dollars marketing and advertising its gizmos does not do things without careful deliberation,” Farr and Saba report. “Some branding experts say Apple chose that foreshortened appellation both to distinguish its first new device in four years and send a message to the public that it was moving into new territory.”

“Marketing chief Phil Schiller once said in court that Apple’s strategy, which spends hundreds of millions of dollars on ads, is to ‘make the product the biggest and clearest thing in advertising,'” Farr and Saba report. “It is a new era,” said Ellen Leanse, a brand strategist and former senior Apple executive. ‘It was a highly confident move that signals, pardon the pun, watch us… It would have been trite to call it the iWatch. It would have been looking backwards,’ she added. ‘This could pave a new path for a product family’ like the Macintosh.”

Read more in the full article here.

50 Comments

    1. Agreed. It’s far harder for other companies to argue about the legitimacy of using “Apple something” as a product name than it is when sticking “i” in front of a word. Many people will refer to it as iWatch anyway, why waste resources getting the name?

    2. Actually it’s much simpler than that.

      The “i” era was the Steve Jobs era. New product categories developed and introduced during Steve’s tenure were “i” products: iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.

      The “Apple” era is the Tim Cook era. New Product categories developed and introduced under Tim Cook’s tenure are the “Apple” products: Apple Pay, Apple Watch, etc.

      Expect any new product categories introduced in the next few years to carry the “Apple” logo/word as the first part of the name.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking. I also think the “i” thing gave precedence to too many jokes by idiot Fandroid among others looking to deride Apple. It had served its purpose for a while and now it’s firmly Tim Cook’s era. They’ve done well and more than proved Apple will continue to thrive and prosper.

        1. Apple TV was (and to some extent, still is) considered a “hobby”. It was declared so by Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs always referred to it as if it were some side experiment. He never thought of it as a distinct product line representative of Apple as a whole.

          Apple Pay and Apple Watch are definitely specific (and may become core) product lines of Apple, Inc.

      1. Agree. I wish Apple would just drop the “i” from the Mac name already (it’s long overdue and pretty much meaningless) and return the AIO form to its original name… Macintosh, or simply Mac. Keep the Pro designator for that line.

  1. The only thing really to be said about the Apple Watch is ‘halo effect’. It is about bringing people to the Apple brand who may not already own Apple devices. It is a fashion accessory first, a technology play second, and part of an Eco-system third.
    It is a very interesting departure from the norm at Apple, where personalisation is at the heart of the purchase rather than being for accessory companies to come up with cases or stickers to make an item more individual.
    The question which many people will want answered is how often in time will Apple refresh the physical design. The unibody MacBook Pro / Air has kept the same physical design for years whereas the iPhone changes every two years. Will we see Watch S or Watch 2 next year (actually, I hope they just call it Watch – 2nd gen).

  2. The apple watch is not a very good halo device since you need an iPhone for connectivity. It is hard to see someone buying an iPhone just to get the watch.
    Later iterations may become independent once the tech advances. Then it may act as a halo device.

      1. Except that Samsung made their first Gear so that it was only compatible with the newest hardware (and not even all versions of the newest hardware, as I recall), whereas Apple made the Watch compatible with the 5-series phones as well as the 6-series ones.

        Also, I don’t get why people expected this device to work completely independently of a phone. Maybe five or ten years from now, that would be reasonable. But based on today’s technology, the size and battery life demands, and design challenges, it’s impossible to have both a truly useful, marketable device (i.e. something the average person would actually want to buy and wear) AND a completely stand-alone smart watch. Which is why none of the Android options will be successful, whereas the Apple Watch will.

            1. The iPhone started off slowly and took a couple generations to take off like gangbusters, BUT it didn’t rely in another device to work properly. The watch is an iPhone peripheral. That’s going to be the major limitation of its marketability. Unless Apple makes it Android compatible it’s only going to appeal to a subset of iPhone users. If Apple is smart, Android compatibility won’t be too far off. It’s what they did with the iPod and Windows and look how that worked out.

            2. They made the iPod work with Windows porting iTunes as well as Safari. But there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell Apple will do anything to make their watch Android friendly, especially since the technology ties into an iPhones. Since I prefer Apple all the way it’s not an issue for me. Having only one foot in the Apple ecosystem seems kinda lame too. Your mileage may vary.

            3. I see your points, but unless there’s some reason for a non-iPhone user to buy one then the Apple Watch will turn out to just be a moderately popular iPhone accessory without much incentive to upgrade often. I think it’s a nice device but i’m not remotely interested in getting one and I’ve had every other iPhone since the original and have been a dedicated Apple customer and promoter for almost 30 years. I see Apple selling a lot of them at first, but I see sales dropping to very moderate levels soon afterward.

            4. I don’t recall seeing numbers, but I do recall the phrase “vast majority”.

              The iPhone and iPad are far more popular than the Mac and most of the iDevice users I know use Windows. I try to convert the heathens, but with only limited success. Unsurprisingly, the cost of Macs is the Big issue.

            5. It may not be so moderate a sales figure if more iPhone buyers get the watch as well. Sales to others who use different phones may not matter. The Galaxy Gear Watch only worked with the Note 3 and so they made no attempt either to be ubiquitous. You are being honest now about not getting one (as many have said) but when they are out and in the Apple Stores and you look at it you may well feel differently then.

              I don’t anticipate sales dropping. If anything I see them increasing and the ultimate seduction with Version 2. I would agree with you about other failed watch effarts. The difference here is it’s Apple and them making a much more compelling reason for the device to exist than the poseurs who haven’t a clue nor the wherewithal to create anything other than a pointless ill-designed and executed gadget.

    1. I think it will work very well, since it will enable ApplePay for all the older iPhones that do not contain the NFC hardware. I think iOS 8 is slated for every iphone starting with the 4S. That’s a pretty big demand base.

  3. It is true that the Apple Watch needs an iPhone tethered to it for full functionality. First, Verizon is practically begging customers to trade in any functioning iPhone (4 and newer) for credit towards a new iPhone 6 or 6+, so that should make the go towards growing the base of users with the newest phone grow faster. So the base of iPhone users will be able to use the watch fully (Apple Pay, etc.). I also wonder if at some point Apple would make an Android app that would enable an Android phone to work with an Apple Watch. That would be an interesting game changer, not unlike iTunes for Windows. Thoughts?

  4. i like the idea of them getting rid of the “i” and use  instead. better to advertise the company name & logo. get people saying apple all the time instead of “i”.

    1. Yep. I used to refer to myself as “Jim from ________” when making business calls. Several years ago, I changed that to “Jim at ________” so that it puts my email address in their head. I have always hosted my own mail and domain name, and have always been Jim@_______. Good call.

  5. I think the visual of the Apple logo in front of the product name is a much better marketing tool. Everywhere 🍎Pay is excepted will have that visual as a logo. It much better differentiates between Apple and all the wannabes.
    There’s no mistaking an apple!

  6. pay, watch, and— the next major disruption, the movie watching experience?— tv — it’s cool to use the shift/alt/K key combination and get the Apple logo instead of having to spell it out in English (so boring).

  7. Apple TV isn’t called iTV because they don’t own the trademark in UK where Independent TV is the commercial network.
    I bet some country is a sticking point with iWatch and they either will or will not have sorted it by the release date. (wasn’t it Apple Phone at first ).

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