Afterthoughts: More on the iPhone

I know, I know, two posts already this week about a product that isn’t even available to purchase for 6 months. But I’ve been doing a little research trying to figure out what MP3 player to purchase and it got me thinking again.
Since my last post on the topic of the iPhone, Cisco has filed a trademark lawsuit against Apple for using iPhone which not only did Cisco own, but they launched a product just last month called the iPhone. Thoughts on the lawsuit? Based on how long the trademark has been owned and not used, I believe without the hasty launch of the Cisco VOIP iPhone last month, there would be no grounds for the suit. Do I think that Cisco rushed the launch of their iPhone to beat MacWorldExpo? Yes. Cisco, however, will not win a lawsuit that prevents Apple from using the name iPhone for their future phone. Apple has a history of settling for large sums of money and I think Cisco wins for shrewdly taking care of business. I will say it again, though. iPhone is a crappy name for the Apple product. Sure, it makes sense with the whole iPod brand and it is a phone, so why do I think iPhone is lame? Well, Apple has a reputation for being original and not only setting the trend, but creating new ways to exist. There were quite a few MP3 players on the market in 2001 when the iPod launched, but not only did Apple make a superior product, they renamed the market. It took a while to evolve, but now every MP3 player is either referred to as an iPod or instantly compared with an iPod. What I wanted from this launch was that same marketed defining, market renaming POW. What that required was a name that no one outside of Apple could have come up with. A name that people outside of the Cult of Mac would shake their heads and say “what does that even mean?” They did it in 2001 with the iPod and now it’s a household name. Nintendo is experiencing the same sort of thing with their Wii. Originally named the Nintendo Revolution, the CEO of Nintendo launched it as the Wii and everyone said “what does that even mean?” And while it’s early in its product life, it’s quickly become the hot console for children and adults. In the coming months, Wii will become more and more of a staple not only in living/family rooms, but in nomenclature (and jokes).
I think Apple should have gone with a revolutionary name rather than the obvious and not because of Cisco owning the trademark, because I think even if the suit goes to court, Apple has had iPhone buzz much longer than Cisco has had any product named or referred to as iPhone.
The name is not the only thing I’m disappointed in. I’m disappointed that there wasn’t a new iPod launched. Although there has been a lot of buzz and demand for an iPod phone, there’s been equal buzz and demand for a new generation of iPod. As I cruise the Apple store in my search for my next MP3 player, I’m limited to choose between the too small (capacity and size) Shuffle and Nanos and the 30 GB video, a 30GB U2 video and 80 GB video (make me an 80 GB U2 branded iPod and you might as well ship it today). Although I will most likely ultimately go with an iPod because I love iTunes better than any other software, I feel a little overlooked. What did I want? I wanted an iPod with a bigger screen, with more of an iTunes interface, with the ability to share songs from my desktop to the iPod without having to plug it in either through Wifi or Bluetooth or a similar technology. Although I may think of it as a guilty pleasure, I believe Microsoft is correct in their deduction that there’s a place for FM radio in the MP3 player market; in fact throw in AM radio too and you’ve got a whole new demographic for your product (go to your local consumer electronics store and try to find a portable device that plays AM/FM radio that can fit in a shirt pocket) as sports junkies, top 40 junkies, talk radio junkies, and news junkies suddenly find a need for an MP3 player.
There are other obstacles for the average consumer to jump for the iPhone like price, Cingular, and Windows/Office compatibility that I’m sure will be addressed in the 6 months between now and when you can buy it. I’m not as surprised by the fact that Apple Computer became Apple, Inc. especially considering they didn’t launch a new computer, but instead have shown their pulse as a gadget branding factory. As for the iPhone, at this point I’m more interested in the Apple Phone pictured below (Thanks, Gizmodo).

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