Project names and product names

On Tuesday, Steve Jobs introduced the new Apple iPhone product. Wow! This thing looks amazing. I hope Motorola, Nokia, and the rest will see the power of great design. Maybe this product will show them that software shouldn't be an afterthought but a key element of the design.

But the name. iPhone? Ugh. It's not meaningful nor is it trademarkable. Well, I guess it is trademarkable except Apple doesn't own the trademark, Cisco does. It's perhaps a clever name for Cisco's VoIP phone, invoking as it does the idea of an internet phone. Yet as far as I can tell, Cisco doesn't own the URL; some company called Nuvio does (or is that really a Cisco company? I dunno). Didn't Apple learn anything from their 20-year battle with The Beatles?

Either way it's a dumb name for Apple. Isn't the whole 'i' thing over already? iPod, iTunes, iLife, iWork, iWhatever. Yeesh.

I want this product but I hate the name. Is the iPhone name a monument to Steve's ego or was it a project code name that went awry. Since it won't ship until mid-year, I'm hoping the product managers can convince Apple to use a good name when they actually deliver the product.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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