I listen to a lot of podcasts during my work day, and the iPhone has been a focus of a great many of them ever since the announcement at Macworld on the 9th. The more I hear people talk about it…and not the lawsuit over the name…but the actual device – the more I realize that the iPhone is a terrible name for what this thing is.
I’m glad you asked…
Way More than a Phone – iPhone is a terribly limiting name. All I hear anyone talking about are the phone features. They mention that you can watch movies, and they mention that it can surf the web, but primarily people are focusing on the phone aspects of the device by itself. When you look at the iPhone some of it’s biggest flaws are in the Phone aspect of the device…the lack of tactile feedback for the keyboard and the Cingular service are things that people have really focused negatively on…and I think it’s more than just people’s desire to focus on the negative aspects of the device…I think the name has a lot to do with it.
Apps – Apple is controlling the applications on it. It’s not a smartphone, and you can’t develop for it without getting special permission and approval from Apple. Calling the device “iPhone” immediately brings comparisons to the Smartphone market…but Apple insists that it’s not a Smartphone. If they want users to think of it as an iPod that you can make phone calls and chat with (which seems to be what they want you to think since Jobs insists it’s not a computer, it’s an iPod) then “Phone” shouldn’t be in the name.
The “i” – The whole “i” thing is played out, and tired. I’m so sick of seeing little i’s in front of words I could scream. I get that they’re kinda locked into it on the iPod, but come on – the whole “i” concept screams 1995.
The Price – Again…the name draws focus solely on the phone functionality, and people are screaming that it’s way too expensive, and really over-priced. When you break it down, however, the device is an iPod that is heads and shoulders above the iPod Nano that you would pay $199 for…it has many of the features that Smartphones have, and several that they don’t, and they run an average of $200…plus it has a full web experience and high resolution screen that makes it comparable to a Pepper Pad or the Nokia N800 which will run you from $399 to $499 alone!
Cisco – This battle between Cisco and Apple over the iPhone is a waste of time and energy. The name isn’t that great to begin with, and average consumers are going to be confused if they walk into a store and the iPhone they see is a VOIP device that isn’t made by Apple. IMO, the name isn’t worth fighting for, and yes, doing so may get it in the news, but if Apple does come out on top of this with the name, it’s going to make them look like they “stole” it from Cisco…and yes, I understand that Cisco is a much larger company and may have lost the trademark on their own…but it’s still going to come out like Apple bullied them out of it…especially with the way the Cisco lawyers have been blogging like they’re the underdog. It’s press Apple doesn’t need while they’re charge $1.99 for 802.11n, and not letting 3rd parties freely develop on the device.
If you start adding up what this device can actually do, $499 to $599 doesn’t seem quite so out of whack…
So there you have it. I think iPhone is a terrible name, and I’d love to see it called just about ANYTHING else…having said that…I can’t wait to get one.