Why Apple Seems To Be Favoring "Apple X" Product Names Over "iProducts" Now

During the tonight's live Accidental Tech Podcast John, Casey, and Marco were discussing the name of Apple's new watch, creatively called the Apple Watch. Others have also pointed this out on Twitter, speculating that Apple is now exclusivley favoring "Apple X" for product names now when written out and " X" when used as a logo mark. The guys discussed how this might be due to trends, in that the "iProduct" naming convention might be going out of style and if it now seems old to name a new product in this manner. They aren't the first to say this, either.

I think that could be it, and probably is at least part of the reason why they named the new Apple Watch (and Apple Pay) in this manner. I think there is another significant reason as well.

Dating back to the original Apple TV, when rumors said that Apple wanted to call it the iTV but due to the U.K. TV channel/network already using the iTV name, Apple was forced to go with Apple TV instead. Similarly, the original iPhone name was already being used by Cisco in a product (conviently launched by Cisco one month before Apple announced the iPhone) that Apple famously had to wrestle away from Cisco by court case or license agreement - I forget which exactly. Anyway, that isn't important. The point I'm trying to make is that since the original iMac in 1997, Apple competitors, other non-competitors, random other companies in other industries, and just anyone in the world who lacks creativity have been naming their products in this manner, copying the iProduct naming convention. In order to appear trendy and fashionable, or perhaps to deliberaly confuse customers, people and companies have been naming their products such as iHome, iTree, or iRock. If you take just about any common word in the dictionary, you'll find an unimaginative person who has already named a crappy product they came up with 6 years ago with a lower-case "i" in front of it.

The problem for Apple as they come out with new products going forward, is everything they could possibly name a new device is already being used by someone else. And this isn't something Apple can fix, because Apple cannot possibly own the legal right to append a certain lower-case letter in front every possible word in existence. That's just not how trademark law works.

Why is Apple moving away from product names? Because when it comes to technology, they do own a trademark on the word "Apple" and especially their stylized logo of an Apple with a bite taken out of it. This is something they can make crystal clear in a court to a judge and a jury, that will leave no room for argument. The "iProduct" names were unique and trendy in the late '90s when they first came out and the Internet was a new thing to society and mainstream culture. In 2014 it is no longer the case. I'm sure Apple prefers to be able to differentiate their devices, products, and branding over the average piece of crap you see on a late night infomercial that had the gumption to name their new electronic mop the iCleaner.