Saturday, February 3, 2007

Lame Name Wars: is “iPhone” Really Worth Fighting Over?!

Filed under: News,Technology — Tom Pittman @ 11:45 am

Cisco isn’t the only one who should be suing Apple for using the name, “iPhone.” Apple’s own shareholders should be as well. Apple is one of the world’s most famously creative companies; it is just impossible to believe that “iPhone” was the best they could come up with.


Dear Mr. Jobs,

I retired 2 years ago at the age of 43 to spend more time with my wife and children, and to pursue some other goals. However, because we have 9 Windows PCs in our home — I’m not as retired as I hoped I would be.

Consequently, this last Christmas I became a first time Mac owner when I bought a 15 inch MacBook Pro for my wife, and a 17 inch MacBook Pro for me. As a former IBMer and hardcore IT guy, I thought the transition and integration of our new Macs would be at least a little bit hard, but it has been a blast. In fact, we are so impressed that we’ve decided to move our PCs out and replace them with Macs. Incidentally, I also bought 8 new iPods as “stocking stuffers” for the family and they were more excited about the iPods than their other gifts which cost much more.

At any rate, like the rest of the world (who doesn’t work for Motorola, Microsoft, or T-Mobile), I am excited about Apple’s latest product announcements. However, one thing disappointed me about the iPhone announcement: its name. In fact, I think the world was surprised by it.

Apple is one of the world’s most famously creative companies, and it is just impossible to believe that “iPhone” is the best you could come up with. Not only is it not really that good of a name, it isn’t even original.

In fact, Cisco isn’t the only one who should be suing Apple for using the name iPhone, Apple’s own shareholders should be as well.

As a former marketing major and a former CEO of a small company, I get why iPhone has some appeal to Apple. However, while this product name may fit an overall branding strategy, this product name doesn’t even fit the product! After all, it isn’t just a phone, is it?

Apple, of all companies, should be able to rise to the challenge of coming up with something great and original — it’s what you guys do!

And frankly, it is what we expect.

To get the ball rolling, here are some ideas I thought up this morning.

If you are wanting to stick to the strategy of product names beginning with the letter “i” then how ’bout:

iQuad – it’s a phone, a PDA, an Internet device and an iPod … that’s 4.

On the other hand, it may be better for Apple to continue with the secondary branding you have already started with products like the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle, and go with a name such as:

the iPod Quad
the iPod Pad
the iPod Phone
the iPod Newton

As you can tell, I like the idea of bringing back the Newton. The Newton was a device ahead of its time and it would be nice for it to take a bow now that its time has come.

Anyway, please think about it.

Most of us, if not all, would much rather see Apple resolve the iPhone name dispute with its creativity, rather than its legal department. The latter is just too Redmondian a business tactic.

Tom Pittman


Blog at