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Apple Watch: Why isn't it the 'iWatch'?

Apple seemingly ripped apart it's own rule book by naming its fashion product the Apple Watch, rather than, as anticipated by most, the iWatch. Why?

Natasha Culzac
Wednesday 10 September 2014 09:45 BST
One of the Apple Watch designs unveiled by CEO Tim Cook yesterday
One of the Apple Watch designs unveiled by CEO Tim Cook yesterday

It’s a prefix that has come to define a digital era and epitomised one of the most intrepid firms within it: the simplistic but ever-so-effective i.

From the iPod to the iPhone and iPad, Apple has employed the i across most of its hardware and software products since the launch of its trendsetting iMac in the 1990s – so why hasn’t the Apple Watch followed suit?

According to the Daily Telegraph, it is because Apple is deliberately targeting consumers more concerned with style than technology.

This could ring true – after all, the wearable tech industry has had to suffer criticisms that it is churning out super-intelligent “hideous” products that have absolutely no resonance in a consumer’s everyday life, while being part of a firm’s vanity project to make up for lost revenue elsewhere.

A trends and tech analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, Carolina Milanesi, told the Financial Times earlier this year: “The value proposition of wearables is unclear to consumers.

“Most are really ugly. Design is absolutely crucial.”

After all consumers want a smartwatch to still be a watch and it has to be aesthetically pleasing.

It’s “designed to be worn during all your daily activities, from morning workouts to nights out,” Apple has said.

The i, however, has become synonymous with the loftiest heights of technological advancement, attracting early adopters to the newest Apple product on the market.

It might be that while Apple’s intent is to continue to be avant-garde, it would like to reassert its fashion and wearable items as ones that are just as led by design as they are by the chips within them.

The i stands for ‘internet’ and was conceived by an advertising man called Ken Segall, who put forward the name iMac to Steve Jobs when the CEO was in desperate need of a name for his new translucent, Bondi Blue, egg-shaped computer released in 1998.

As Apple itself says: “The lowercase i in its name signalled something new and important — the internet — and showed that the iMac was built for the next age of communication.”

Whether this is the death of i remains to be seen, after all Apple still released its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus using the prefix.

The watch was unveiled yesterday and was described by The Independent as being concerned with “beauty first, tech second”.

“This is unashamedly a fashion gizmo, designed with gleaming styling and high-end materials. Its square-with-rounded-corners display is familiar to Apple products and the screen is bright and pin-sharp,” Independent reporter David Phelan wrote.

“It works as a fitness tracker, message notifier, navigation device and more. The watch can vibrate to give feedback to its wearer and can even be used to send the wearer’s heartbeat to another person. Tells the time, too.”

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