The “i” Prefix Might Need To Bow Out, Suggests the Man Who Named iPhone

The “i” Prefix Might Need To Bow Out, Suggests the Man Who Named iPhone

As much as Apple is known for its bitten Apple logo, it is known for the “i” prefix before most of its successful product names. It is as if the “i” prefix is the ultimate mantra for everything Apple successful, and iPads, iPhones, and iMac are proven testimonials to this statement. The “i” prefix became an Apple thing as seen with services such as iCloud, iMusic, and more.

However, Ken Segall—the ad agency creative director—whom Steve Jobs had hired to work on NeXT, and later on Apple, suggests otherwise. According to Segall, the iPhones should be rebranded. Segall had spent 12 years of his career branding for Apple. 

“The ‘i’ needs to go,” he says. “It’s now meaningless. Sure, [Jobs] built [Apple] around it, but remember, the ‘i’ has always been a sub-brand. There might be marketing experts who say Apple would be crazy to drop the prefix—it’s still in front of some of the greatest brands ever—but it can’t be protected, and for too long there have been companies with ‘i’ internet-connected things, and that’s an issue for Apple, known for innovation.

The original report from WIRED notes.

So, What’s Next?

The original report cites Ashwinn Krishnaswamy, a partner at a New York-based agency, who suggests that no matter what Apple calls its smartphones, people are still going to buy them emphasizing Apple’s brand value. “If [Apple] said there will be no more iPhones—here’s the Apple Phone—we’ll start calling it the Apple Phone.” 

Over the years, several marketing geniuses have shaped Apple into what it has become today. They play a major role in knowing what Apple’s true potential is. The report quotes several of them coming to the same conclusion that even if Apple someday chooses to kill the “i” it wouldn’t have a declining demand effect, instead people would call the products as Cupertino wants people to. 

Some recent launches including Apple Vision Pro, Apple Watch, or let’s take, for example, MacBooks don’t unnecessarily add the “i” for the sake of it. And people call the products as they are named. In fact, most wouldn’t even notice what Apple is onto. Such is the influence, such is the presentation.

The bottom line is I won’t be surprised if Apple someday finally sets the “i” prefix to final bows from iPhones, but personally, I don’t know if I could ever call it an Apple Phone. It mightn’t be the case with Apple, but rebranding is a risky spell. Sometimes, it brings the best out of a product; at times, you get an X out of lovely Twitter.


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