“iPhone” vs. “iPhone”: A Theory


I, too, read along with the Mac blogosphere in amazement as Steve Jobs described the latest Apple gadget which will set the world afire. (Motorola collectively pooped its drawers today.) And, though I have yet to see the video from the show, I do know that there were potentially some new trademarks that he called out today.

First, he described the “Apple Tee Vee,” which I describe phonetically for a reason.

Second, he apparently also described the “Apple Eye Phone.” Until I see/hear the keynote for myself, I won’t be able to tell for sure, for the reason I describe below.

Now, if you were reading along with the keynote, as I was, all live ’blogs described specifically that the name of the first product is the “Apple Tee Vee.” But strangely, very few of them picked up on the fact that the second product name is, likewise, “Apple Eye Phone.” Not TUAW. Not MacOSRumorsLive. Maybe Steve didn’t say it as “Apple Eye Phone,” but I’m going to guess that he did, consistently, and it was just overlooked by the intrepid reporters in the field.

Also, if you examine Apple’s website, you will see that both products are called out with the Apple logo in them as an integral part of the name, namely “TV” and “iPhone.” However, only “iPhone” is used without the Apple logo, though in the most prominent graphics, the Apple logo is always present. However, leaving out the Apple in “TV” makes the product name nonsensical, whereas leaving it out of “iPhone” only makes for a trademark battle. Neither product name appears anywhere that I can find in conjunction with a trademark notice, and neither product appears on the Apple trademark list page as of this writing, anyway.

So, my theory? Apple’s going to go head-to-head with the lawyers on West Tasmin Drive in San Jose (likely), or Steve’s already greased that skid (not quite as likely).

In any case, there are/will be plenty of billable hours to go around, so all’s well that ends well.

[Update: 2007-01-09, 4:38pm. Apparently, Cisco and Apple have something worked out. Guess there were some billable hours involved, as I thought, but I got it wrong as to how they got around it. Rats.]

(Apologies to those of you with Apple-logo-hatin’ browsers. You’ll just see a “?” where the Apple With A Chunk Bitten From It should be.)

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