How Apple Names Its Products

How Apple Names Its Products

Apple’s product naming strategy is a bit of an enigma. Many expected iPad 3, they got new iPad, and it seems that Apple is going to call the next iPhone ‘iPhone 5’ and not ‘new iPhone’. Marko Savic has decided to take a closer look at exactly how Apple names its products, and it’s fascinating.

Savic explains that Apple follows a strict ordered system, as follows: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Optional Modifier. All there products adhere to this, from Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) to Apple iPhone 4S.

What the products are actually called is then determined by form factor and whether it is a consumer or pro product. With the iPhone and iPad, Apple has also started naming by generation, even though the latest iPad no longer seems to follow that rule.

You should really read the full article, as he goes into huge detail about the definitions of the different tupes of branding, and at the end he also gave his view on what Apple would call the rumored iPad mini and next iPhone:

I believe Apple will continue naming iPhones with numbers. This means there will only be one form factor. Pricing and quality are generational, making it easy to compare. Much like deciding between a Macbook Air and a Macbook Pro, to the consumer, purchasing the next iPhone becomes a question of, “Should I get the 4S or the 5?”

The possible introduction of a new iPad form factor begs the question: do they skip a tertiary brand, and let iPad stand on its own – something rarely done with their newer brands – or do they introduce a new tertiary brand here?

I believe they will add a new tertiary brand, giving them room to grow (up and down) the iPad’s reach without diluting its image as post-PC.

While it does have its intricacies, especially for mobile devices, Steve Jobs’ iconic square of products (which he applied after his return to Apple in 1997) , still stands, as seen below.

                                  Consumer                   Pro

Desktop                       iMac                   Mac Pro

Notebook              Macbook Air          Macbook Pro

It’s often the simple things that make a difference and give structure, and that’s definitely true of above.

Update (June 24, 2013): The original article is no longer available at Marko’s blog.