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


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Myth of the Fourth Screen

Filed under: News,Philosophy — Tom Pittman @ 11:42 am

Someone somewhere sometime said, (and a lot of people have said it since), that

  1. The first screen was the movie screen,
  2. The second screen was the television screen,
  3. The third screen was the computer screen, and
  4. The fourth screen belongs to portable digital devices such as telephones, PDAs and cameras.

Consequently, portable electronic devices are sometimes referred to as the “fourth screen.”

That sounded good to me, then I figured out that the emergence of screens might not have been so straight forward.

According to Wikipedia articles, the movie screen was born in the 1880s. However, “the origins of what would become today’s television system can be traced back to” 1873. Apparently, the television predates movies. Of course television wasn’t any kind of a commercial enterprise in 1873; if it were, then Regis Philbin would have been famous much sooner.

Meanwhile computer screens were in use pretty much parallel with television screens, it’s just that television screens were prominently placed in front of families in their homes, while the computers of the day (and their operators) were kept in back rooms well out of sight of mainstream modern culture. It wasn’t until computers started coming out of the closet (so to speak) that the public at large began to recognize the computer component of the screen age.

I could muddy murky waters more merely mentioning that the fourth screen could arguably be considered the first! Models of Kodak’s Box Brownie camera, as well as other early cameras, had viewer screens roughly the size of the screens of early digital cameras.

So let’s recap:

  • The “first screen” could have actually been the fourth,
  • The “second screen” probably tied with the third,
  • The “third screen” was tied with the second but people didn’t know it, and
  • The “fourth screen” was probably the first.

Is everyone clear on that now? 😉

At any rate, whatever the order of the screens, welcome to the SCREEN AGE.

Speaking of the screen age, when are airlines going to get with the program and replace those “No Smoking” icons in airplanes with icons indicating it is not a time to be using the  electronic devices we’ve brought on board with us?


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Hey, Whiners: Crying is not Passion!

Filed under: Basketball,NBA,News,Philosophy — Tom Pittman @ 8:12 pm

After the Pistons’ loss to Utah, Saunders paraded his ineptitude before the press as he whined about technical fouls.

“My comment is that we might as well play ‘PlayStation’ if we are going to take the emotion out of it,” Saunders said.

Boo hoo. Could someone bring poor Flip a clean diaper? Flip

Anyone who says T-ing up crybabies is taking the passion out of basketball needs to quit embarrassing himself and watch more college basketball — especially in March. Do those teams (whose league doesn’t tolerate whining) seem to lack passion?

Because I like the Pistons, I was pulling for Flip Saunders as their coach, but now I think I understand why the Minnesota Timberwolves choked in every playoffs but one when he coached them. I used to think that Kevin Garnett didn’t have the right players around him, but now I wonder if it isn’t because Flip Saunders lacks championship mettle.

As we all know (I hope), coaching plays a far bigger role in the playoffs than the regular season. Because a team plays the same team several times in a row in the playoffs, there is very in depth analysis and adjustments that need to be made to get by a team.

It takes much more than a good game plan to win though, it takes execution. And execution requires focus (through distraction) and mental toughness (through adversity), and clearly Flip Saunders and too many other NBA professionals have neither.

Thanks to our 65″ high definition television, the multiple angles the TV broadcasts often gives us, and a DVR that lets me skip back and step forward at excruciatingly slow motion, I can say with confidence that the refs certainly do miss calls, but they don’t miss as nearly many calls as get complained about by NBA players and coaches. Time after time reviews show coaches and players complaining about the right call.

However, speaking of the big picture, it doesn’t matter if a call was right or wrong though.

Those of us without multimillion dollar shoe deals have been taught by life that it isn’t always fair. When injustices happen, and they always will, the winners in life shake it off and persevere despite the setback, while the losers wear their excuses like bumper stickers on a totaled, junk yard Lexus.

Once upon a time people used to joke that the NBA stood for “No Babies Allowed.” Now it must stand for “Nancy Boy Actors.” And overpaid ones at that. These guys are far too used to the delicate handling society gives celebrities, to the point that they demand it on the hardwood as well. This disconnection with the real world is embarrassing them and the league.

The NBA’s crackdown on crybabies is LOOOONG overdue. Just like the hand checking rule when it was new, the teams that care most about winning will quickly adjust, while the others just end up showing the world their lack of championship mojo by resisting the new reality.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Celebrity death match: Steve Irwin vs. Germaine Greer

Filed under: News — Tom Pittman @ 9:32 am

“Maybe there are a lot of snobs in Australia who are embarrassed by Steve Irwin, but I guarantee you, right now there are a lot of feminists the world over who are embarrassed by Germaine Greer. At least I hope so.”


For an alleged intellectual and supposed academic, Germaine Greer isn’t very smart.

If you don’t know who Germaine Greer is, you are by no means alone — I didn’t until I read about her today. Ms. Greer’s claim to fame is as the author of the feminist book, “The Female Eunuch.”

According to CNN, Ms. Greer went on Australian TV’s “A Current Affair” news program, and said that those who mourn “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin’s passing are “idiots,” and she said possibly millions of Australians were embarrassed by him.

“It’s no surprise he came to grief,” she crowed.

When it comes to Steve Irwin, I’m indifferent. I’ve never watched a television show of his and I never saw his movie. I did think he was interesting when he appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I do know that my children and their friends loved to do impersonations of him, and he seemed to have a very charismatic personality. And from what I read, he has done a lot both for animals and for how people think of animals.

I realize the world lost a celebrity of worldwide renown, but to me the loss of a father to a young family is the greater tragedy.

Regardless of how you feel about Steve Irwin though, if a mature human being like Germaine Greer can’t act mature about his passing, she could at least act human!

Maybe there are a lot of snobs in Australia who are embarrassed by Steve Irwin, but I guarantee you, right now there are a lot of feminists the world over who are embarrassed by Germaine Greer. At least I hope so.

By all appearances, Germaine Greer is a bitter, elitist old lady who is as much without heart as she is common sense.

When Germaine Greer’s time comes, she’ll likely go choking on a rogue crumpet at an tea party. And ironically, when that day comes, and I’m sure she’ll hate this, she’s more likely be remembered as the lady who was bitter about Steve Irwin’s fame, than she is to be remembered for any fame she may have otherwise acquired.

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