What the iPhone could have been called
A new report shows that Apple considered many unique names for its smartphone, before landing on iPhone as their definitive choice
While we have all come to know and love the iPhone name and branding, 9to5Mac is reporting that there were multiple other (more interesting) names considered by Apple when they were going to launch their first iPhone. According to Apple’s former head of advertising Ken Segall, they considered naming the phone the TriPod, Mobi and TelePod.
These names did have reasoning behind them and were not completely random, for example, the TriPod signified the phone’s triple capabilities (iPhone, iPod and internet access) the Mobi simply meant mobile, and the TelePod was a play on the words “telephone” and “iPod” which was Apple’s most popular device at that time.
Another interesting choice that Apple reportedly considered was naming the iPhone the iPad instead. At the time of the naming process (2006 or so) there was obviously no iPad tablet in the works so the name was available for use, instead they saved that name for later.
It is hard to imagine calling the device anything other than an iPhone mainly due to the extensive branding that Apple does on its products, making it hard for anyone to not know what an iPhone is. However, some of their other choices could have worked for what the device has now become and would probably seem normal to us.
Ken Segall provided all of these details at an event at the University of Arizona’s Department of Marketing, presumably to show how a company takes a basic idea of a product all the way through development. Naming a device is undoubtedly one of the most important and sometimes overlooked aspects of good marketing and can make or break a product. In the end, Apple came close to calling their phone the “TriPod” but when putting it in the marketing and branding materials, the name simply did not work out.