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Ken Segall Thinks Apple's i-Branding Is About to Be Retired

The man behind Apple's Think Different campaign and original i-branding thinks a change is imminent
The People Behind Apple
June 7, 2016

Ken Segall, the man behind Apple’s original move towards adding a small case “i” in front of its new product releases, thinks this area of the company’s business is about to change. Could we soon see an Apple Phone launch from Cupertino? Maybe.

The i is obviously on its last legs.

- Ken Segall

It’s an interesting and sensible assumption, based on Apple’s recent naming schemes for new products (and put forward in a recently published piece by the Guardian). As MacRumors rightly notes, the tone of the piece is fairly critical and, at times, echoes a lot of what we’ve already heard (after all, “haters gonna hate”), but there are some gems of insight – and one of them concerns Apple’s i-branding.

Ken Segall is uniquely qualified to comment on this area of Apple’s business since, with the naming of the original iMac, he created the company’s “i-branding.” Since, the idea of placing an “i” in front of a product to signify its elengance and simplicity has become an engrained part of Apple culture. The iPhone and iPad joined the iMac, but things have since changed.

Now, “the consumer products are offered as i-things and Apple-things (Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Music).” Segall notes that “the i is obviously on its last legs, and a transition like this doesn’t happen overnight.” The natural move for Apple to make would be for the name of its iPhone and iPad to change. “Apple Phone” makes sense, but “Apple Pad” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

This move away from the i-brand echoes, for Segall, Apple’s challenges in innovating while maintaining the same level of simplicity when it comes to the user experience. Segall calls out Apple Music, in particular, which he sees as being “bewildering” to use: something friends of mine have commented on, too.

The entire article is worth a read; Segall apparently wasn’t happy with the title the Guardian ended up choosing for the article, but at least it’s fashionable.