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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Apple's Naming Convention - The New iPhone

Since the release of the Millennial Mac, there have been many iterations of both hardware and software. Along the way we have seen Apple's products grow in leaps and bounds in the performance spec department while keeping the familiar names: iBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro (okay, the latter hasn't seen much change). And since the release of OS X (the tenth Apple operating system) we have simply referred to it as the "big cat" names: Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion. All along the way, Apple has used a naming system that is both recognized and simple (unlike the Android phone names). There has however been an exception, specifically in the mobile device department.

Apple's Mobile Names

In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced us to the iPhone. This, in true Apple speak, "revolutionized the mobile Phone industry." A year later the iPhone 3G was released; named as such to signify its 3G network capabilities. And following suit, during the next calendar year was the introduction of the 3GS, the second generation of the 3G network phone, the true third iteration of the iPhone. With the numerics now lining up with the device generation, The iPhone 4 was released in 2010. Then the plot thickens.

In early 2011, the world was anticipating the release of the iPhone 5 (being the 5th generation of the device). Alas, the 12 months since the iPhone 4 passed and still no new device. Finally after 16 long months since the iPhone 4, it is released...the iPhone 4S...What? The apple cart is upset. Here is the new iPhone that looks like the old iPhone, that is the fifth iPhone that we are still calling the fourth...you know the story.

Meanwhile, in between iPhone releases, Apple introduces a new category of device, iPad. It is not a laptop and not a phone, it is a hybrid. In true Apple fashion, twelve months pass and the world is introduced to iPad 2, a re-revolution of a new device category. It has already been a year since then and we sit with our fingers warmed buy the retina display of The New iPad... Really!? It seems as though Apple has gone off the deepend with the name-game.

Numbering Reasons

Apple has never been company to have complex named or numbered devices. Look for example at the line of iPods over the years. There have been many generations of the Classic, Nano, and Touch however they are never referred to at "iPod Nano 4" or "iPod Touch 3" they are simply the "Nano" and "Touch" regardless of which generation they are from. The numbering system that the iPhone started was new to Apple, a little bit clunky as well (the iPhone 3GS was originally the the iPhone 3G "S" making for clumsy comparison while speaking about the devices). The reason for the numbers was purely for the retails and marketing distinction. Looking at all the iterations of the iPhone, they are simply stamped "iPhone", there is no typeface on the physical device stating its model.

The Next Generation

With the release of the New iPad many rants have popped up all over the internet about "how are we going to differentiate between devices". As for mentioned, this has not been a problem for all other Apple hardware. No one has ever said, "Hey, you like my new MacBook Pro 8.3?" That is because it is only known as a MacBook Pro. With the introduction of the New iPad, Apple is reinstating the simple name convention. Every future generational model of the iPad will be called, simply, iPad.

This will also be the case with the next generation iPhone. With the original device now well out of the realm of current handhelds, the simple name will be used again. Furthermore, there is no special network or market gimmick to grasp hold of this year. We are all waiting for announcement at WWCD 2012 for The New iPhone, and that is exactly what we will get.

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