Apple SVP Phil Schiller’s disturbing confession

“Though I’ve had issues with iPhone naming for years, I’ve always assumed there was an underlying strategy, enigmatic as it might be,” Ken Segall blogs eponymously. “Apparently I was giving Apple too much credit.”

“When Phil Schiller sat down with Engadget recently, he casually confessed that the S and the R have no real meaning,” Segall writes. “They’re just letters.”

“Steve Jobs did the big things well, but as we know, he also did a lot of smaller things well. One of which was his ability to attach simple, memorable names to breakthrough products,” Segall writes. “After all the work that went into creating Apple’s objects of lust, he wasn’t about to muck them up with confusing names. He cracked the whip on the name-crafters as heartily as he did the designers and engineers.”

“It’s been disappointing to see Apple struggle with iPhone naming for so many years. With XS, XS Max and XR, we now have a family of iPhone names Gil Amelio would be proud of,” Segall writes. “After admitting that the letters have no meaning, he shared what they mean to him personally. ‘I love cars and things that go fast, and R and S are both letters used to denote sports cars that are really extra special.’ Phil’s rationale gets even sillier when you remember how he explained the S in the very first S-named iPhone (iPhone 3GS). ‘The S simply stands for speed, because this is the most powerful, fastest iPhone we’ve ever made.’ Apparently, Phil wasn’t thinking sports cars back then. One could argue he wasn’t thinking, period.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nearly every single time we’ve criticized Apple, it is due to lack of attention to detail.

With Steve gone, it’s obvious that attention to detail has gone by the wayside in many areas.

Apple brass, from the top down: The way to truly honor Steve Jobs is to agonize over every little detail. If you cannot manage to do that satisfactorily, go pound sand.

Some (less fastidious people) night say about iPhone naming, “Who cares?” For that Segal offers an answer, “If that’s what you think, you don’t truly understand Apple. It became the first trillion-dollar company because it had been investing in its future for 20 years. For Steve Jobs, it was never all about today. He built a rich ecosystem and paid attention to details other companies rarely do — including product naming.”

As regular readers know, we’ve written quite a bit about this very subject:

Don’t say it, but you know critics (and maybe even some X, Xs, and Xs Max owners) are thinking, “Oh, the XR is that iPhone with the [R worded] display.” More brilliant naming on Apple’s part. Lead everyone straight toward the most damaging adjective possible..

As per iPhone naming, either Phil Schiller, SVP of the world’s most valuable company and a marketing master in most other matters, is one of the world’s most awful, most confused product-namers ever; the naming is due to too many Cooks in the kitchen (smirk); or Phil’s just fscking with us. With names like “Xs,” “Xs Max,” and “XR,” we lean toward the latter explanation…

We remain wholly unconvinced that Tim Cook’s Apple holds attention to detail in the same esteem as Steve Jobs’ Apple once did.MacDailyNews, September 26, 2018

“S” year iPhones were not “slight upgrades,” but that horrid mischaracterization is exactly why we advised Apple to drop the the stupid “S of Death” naming scheme many years ago.MacDailyNews, September 13, 2017

Apple, enough with the stupid iPhone ‘S’ naming already.

iPhone “S” years usher in hugely significant features, such as oleophobic displays, significant GPU improvements, world phone capability, Siri personal assistant, video stabilization, panorama photos, 64-bit processors, TD-LTE support, Touch ID, and 3D Touch, among other improvements and additions. Each year’s iPhone deserves its own number. By not doing so, Apple is shooting itself in the foot; handicapping iPhones with an “S” every other year. Why Tim Cook or Phil Schiller haven’t put an end to this stupid – yes, stupid – “S” naming is inexplicable. Why don’t you just name it “iPhone No Big Deal This Year,” Tim and Phil?

Here’s what you say onstage and in the press release when there’s no “iPhone 7s” and you jump directly from iPhone 7 to iPhone 8: “The improvements are such that the new iPhone deserves its own number.” Period. Done. Mission accomplished. It’s your naming convention, Apple, and you can correct your stupid mistake at any time. — MacDailyNews, September 16, 2015

It’s as if Apple is naming iPhone models solely for their own internal inventory purposes, just so they can keep track of which model is which, with no regard for how the iPhones are perceived by the rest of the world – the media, the customers, etc. – outside One Infinite Loop.

The “S” doesn’t stand for “Speed,” it stands for “Stupid.” Yes, we know it’s the same case design; we know the “S” version is the one you make the big margins on; we get it. Call it the “S” internally if you must, but don’t be so engineer-ish that you insist on calling it that on the box, too!

It’s not about sales figures or the model’s success (as long as “iPhone” is in the name, it will be a success), it’s about setting a tone. In this case, with the “S,” Apple sets a tone that they are just making an incremental update… Why gift the naysayers with the opportunity, Apple? MacDailyNews Take, April 5, 2013

There are plenty of numbers in the universe. Infinite, actually. Don’t worry, Apple, you won’t run out.MacDailyNews, October 4, 2011

Phil Schiller talks iPhone Xr, Apple product naming, and much more – October 22, 2018
Apple’s inexplicably awful iPhone naming schemes – September 26, 2018


      1. Basically I want to order either the iPhone 10.1, the 10.2 or the smaller 10.3.

        Get rid of the flakey non-significant, non-rememberable stupid letters, for God’s sake … do it now actually.

        1. Interesting naming convention, simple and clear eliminates random alphabet characters. To follow your lead and be accurate it should be 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3 for all 2018 models. Apple has been selling iPhones for 12 years.

          I prefer the automobile industry naming convention instead that leaves no one confused, 2018 (year) and Max (model), etc…

    1. MDN should get a life, as well as the author of the article, take a poll who gives a real rip on the name of the device, as long as there is a clear ID as to what device you’re getting.. Chances are, you’d find out most people don’t care..

    1. Finally, someone who both remembers a bit of Apple history and isn’t into deifying Steve Jobs. I loved him as the returning Apple CEO, but he was a person, not a saint – nor was he infallible.

      Apple has kept the basic iPhone and iPad and MacBook/Air/Pro and iMac and Mac Pro nomenclature. I do not see a big deal with the X, Xs, Xs Max additions. Those are distinct and still fairly simple names. And most people still just call them iPhones, anyway, after they are purchased.

  1. Phil Schiller is an all round talent, very loyal to Apple etc but he is limited in his marketing abilities. Jobs did all the heavy lifting, Jobs spent a lot of time with the marketing guys thinking of ad campaigns like Think Different. i’ve never read of any of the great marketing ideas coming from Schiller.

    Schiller education was in science, he was great at executing Jobs ideas and probably does an extraordinary job dealing with the supply chain to the about 100 countries Apple sells in plus all the political intricacies marketing to so many different regions. A increadibly monumental task.

    but his creative side seems weak. Remember the terrible ads that came out after Jobs passing the torch, like the ‘Apple Genius’ ads?

    Cook had to hire talent like Tor Myrhen to take over advertising and report directly to him. Apple ads today and the graphics like the banners etc have improved.

    ( i’m big apple fan, used to work in advertising)

    1. We can’t reanimate Steve Jobs. The science isn’t quite there yet, never mind the ethics. But of course there is always the next best thing. I admit that would not be Tim Cook, despite his stellar leadership record and his genius in making Apple more profitable than any Columbian cocaine cartel. Tim failed spectacularly by placing principle above loyalty, and loyalty is the only thing that really matters in the uber-secret compacts amongst the elite who rule the global economy. Cook also demonstrated his idiocy by aggressively promoting privacy, a shocking anachronism in today’s world of invasive, data-slurping technology. Another thing, he actually listened to his dying mentor Steve Jobs who advised him to be himself. Bullshit — he should have photocopied Steve’s tough-guy style. Yes, he fired Scott Forstall, but he should have fired simpering Jony Ive instead. If only he’d been more forceful, Apple would be a very different company today. Maybe not in the Fortune 500, but at least making the Mac computers we wanted, but which even Steve Jobs wasn’t willing to make.

      1. Your post contained many interesting and insightful gems, like this one:

        “Another thing, he actually listened to his dying mentor Steve Jobs who advised him to be himself. Bullshit — he should have photocopied Steve’s tough-guy style.”

        Could not agree more, Herself. Hence, why we have consistently late products that miss their launch dates, not enough products at launch, accessories not available at launch (latest XR case, pencil) and consistent buggy software at launch. Heads would roll under Steve.

        Seems long ago not present day I could not wait to immediately upgrade Apple’s magical software and more importantly, trust it to just work without question. That feeling is long gone now and replaced by hesitation.

        I don’t understand the YEARLY release schedule of new iOS and Mac OSes? Once you learn the new features, you also have to learn what they changed and what was taken away. Then a few months later, it starts all over again. Sometimes feel like a squirrel on a spinning wheel always trying to catch up.

        “Yes, he fired Scott Forstall, but he should have fired simpering Jony Ive instead.”

        The most interesting nugget in your post. Yes, his design highness has certainly forgotten the average Apple user and lately the pros. Removing functionality ports leading to the dongle tax, thin obsession introducing thermal issues, cheap crap keyboards and more for what? To wow the cheese and wine design crowd and make even more money. The Ive book was the pinnacle of his inflated ego and his wayward direction for himself over Apple, very sad.

        Still, I’m trying to hold on and the new Mac Pro will be the tipping point…

      2. I absolutly agree with you! Forstall was the IT genius like Wozniak before… I am IT pro with UNIX/LINUX profession and i can see how apple follows trends and not making them… I am very disappointed since Jobs died and Fostall was fired because every side of Apple show less value but more expensive…
        I can recall the time when Apple fans made joke about android users, now i am an android user whos laughing what apple wants to sell for very expensive price, Facetime calls with 32, android had this feature with 15 users in 2014 and 25 in 2016… android has multiscreen solution which apple doesnt… and i could make very long list of shame for apple….

  2. MDN can go and jump off the cliff with the that HorseArse who’s shithole is vomiting shit all the time. Be careful that the cliff is no higher than the MacBook Air. Otherwise you might hurt yourself.

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