August 31, 2005
Reinventing English: i is for Apple, R is for Motorola . . .
New product rumors have been circulating in advance of Apple’s September 7th special event for reporters. Will Apple announce the long awaited Motorola cell phone that plays iTunes music? Will it announce a vPod (video pod)? Or something else? Or all of the above?
One of these questions has already been answered with Motorola’s introduction of the new ROKR cell phone that plays iTunes music. In keeping with its current RAZR product naming scheme, Motorola’s ROKR is a natural word that skips its final vowel, e, and vocalizes the ending consonant.
Although they are stealthily bi-syllabic, both Motorola cell phone names (RAZR and ROKR) keep to four neat little letters and begin and end with the same redundant ‘R’. The new naming scheme is simultaneously distinctive and elastic - by last count Motorola has 47 more product naming opportunities based on similar ‘R’ word patterns in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Similarly, Apple’s iPod product naming architecture purports considerable alphabetic extendibility. Since in the mind of consumers, Apple currently “owns” everything iPod (including the recent “Made for iPod” accessory mark) - why wouldn’t they own everything vPod too? Eventually we may see them naming a product aPod, bPod and even cPod. This, perhaps, will pose a dilemma when Apple arrives at the letter “r.”
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