CUPERTINO, California—June 27, 2012—Apple today announced a major rebranding of their entire product catalog, dropping the “i” prefix in the names of products such as iTunes, iLife, and iWork. These will now be known as Tunes, Life, and Work.
“Simplifying complex technology has always been one of Apple’s most important goals,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We think this approach should extend to the naming of our products.” Examples mentioned by Schiller include Pad, Pod, Pod nano, and Message.
Apple originally introduced so-called “iNames” in 1998 with the launch of their all-in-one computer, iMac. The “i” in the name was meant to invoke individuality and the system’s Internet capabilities. Since then, the “i” prefix has become synonymous with Apple. “Many industry watchers have been expecting this move for quite some time,” said a source with knowledge of Apple’s internal workings. “The iNames have been around for almost a decade and a half now. It was high time for a cleaner naming convention, one that would reflect the progressively sleeker and cleaner design of the products themselves. It’s a love letter to Jonathan Ve [formerly Jonathan Ive].” The source added, “it’s what Steve would have wanted.”
At this point, it’s unclear whether Apple will be able to defend in court such trademarks as Phone, OS, and Cloud. This hasn’t stopped the Cupertino-based company in the past: the iPhone was originally announced with a moniker owned by Cisco at the time. With more than one hundred billion dollars in cash, Apple may feel that they can simply buy their way to the product names they consider ideal—names like Mac and Movie.
“Originally, we called the applications in our iWork—excuse me, Work—suite iPages and iNumbers, but the Keynote team was hesitant to rename their app to iKeynote,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “In OS, we used labels like Calendar instead of OS X’s iCal. These simple, unadorned names have worked out well for that line of products, so we figured, what the heck.”
An Apple spokesperson confirmed that users can avoid confusion regarding application names by appending “.app” to the name, as in Mail.app, Photo.app, and Books.app. A similar solution is available for Apple’s hardware products, which can optionally be prefixed with (PRODUCT), as in (PRODUCT) Phone. “Wait, what?” said Product Red co-founder Bono.