Why did Apple drop the i-prefix from Apple Watch and Apple Pay?

“Most people expected Apple to show off an ‘iWatch’ and an ‘iPay’ or ‘iWallet’ mobile payments system to go along with it,” Shara Tibken writes for CNET. “But Cook didn’t stick to the ‘i’ moniker at all, shirking the branding that has been pervasive at the company since the iMac computer landed in 1998.”

“Why the name change?” Tibken wonders. “Apple’s not saying, but some analysts believe the Apple Watch and Apple Pay represent the Cupertino, Calif., company’s efforts to start a new era — one separate from Steve Jobs. Jobs, who died from pancreatic cancer in October 2011, had his hand in every product Apple introduced after he returned to run the company in 1997. Each iPhone and iPad released since his death built on the first devices he created, rather than something entirely new. But the Apple Watch is different.”

“The jury is still out on the Apple Watch, but at the very least, the wearable — and Apple Pay — helped Cook keep his vow that the company would enter new product categories and deliver ‘some really great stuff,'” Tibken writes. “The ‘i’ in Apple’s products came from the early ages of the World Wide Web. Many people today believe it stands for ‘me,’ but it started out as ‘i’ for “Internet.” The majority of Apple’s popular devices and services today use the moniker, including iPad, iTunes, and iCloud. Along with helping Cook make his own mark on Apple, the new naming structure could help Apple push its overarching brand, analysts say. Another theory? The ‘i’ was getting stale… The new naming convention unveiled Tuesday has become a punchline among the technorati. Even Cook accidentally referred to the device by its rumored ‘iWatch’ name in his interview with ABC News on Tuesday. Whatever the reason for the new name, Cook made clear that the company Jobs left behind hasn’t stopped innovating.”

Read more in the full article here.

37 Comments

  1. Anyone can put an “I” in front of a word (except pod, phone or pad) and sell a product: iTruck, iToilet, iPorn, iEtc. People will think it has Apple’s stamp of approval. But the Apple logo before the word makes it distinctly an Apple product. Think different.

    1. It is distinctly more difficult for another company to Anything, or Apple(anything). This gives much more control over the naming of their products. i(Anything) is dead, and Apple killed it. I am so happy about that. Apple TV was a good experience for them, as a name. I liked it when they used iPod, iMac, iPhone, but it’s just been a bag of hurt, and made Apple seem like a bully.

      Now they are unfettered to name their products without worry.

      Anyone else wanting to use Anything, from now on will just look like a douche, and Apple can probably justify stomping all over them.

      1. Agreed. Apple has had a lot of problems in recent years with Copywrite on names. So many companies followed Apple’s lead on the “i” that they’ve found almost every product category name imaginable already existing somewhere around the world with the “i” name. The  nicely nullifies that problem. No one else on earth can use that. Much easier to defend in court.

  2. Just look at all the copy cats. How many times has Apple tried to trademark an ‘iName’ in other countries and have to pay large amounts to secure the name or maybe even find themselves unable to secure the name at all?

    Just stick with the  logo and problem solved. You will see a lot more of this from now on I’m sure. Hey, it worked for Prince.

    1. Good point. Curiously (?) the mark on the top is tv (the difference being lowercase when the world uses uppercase for a TV).

      Ultimately it’s just marketing. Reading deep meaning into any of it is mental silliness, I think.

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