How Apple Lost Control of Its Branding


How Apple Lost Control of Its Branding

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  August 05, 2013

The one thing Apple does better than any other tech company is name products and technologies in an easy-to-understand manner. iPhone (News - Alert), iTunes, iPod, you get the idea.

Sure, there are some exceptions, like adding an S after some of the iPhone iterations. That doesn't seem to make much sense. But perhaps the worse offense is the branding of the 3rd generation iPad. Instead of calling it the iPad 3, it was called The New iPad.

The point is the name was stupid. It was certainly different and caught us off-guard, but sometimes thinking different is thinking incorrectly. The issue is exemplified by an e-mail from Rakuten (formerly, which refers to the iPads as 3rd and 4th generation instead of the proper name Apple (News - Alert) picked for these devices.

Even now, Apple refers to the latest iPad as the iPad with Retina Display. Do you really think this is easy to remember? If you go through the trouble of coming up with a name like Lightning for your power adapter, why do expect your customers to remember that their iPad is the one with Retina Display. I am imagining a soccer parent at Starbucks being asked “Which iPad is that?” and responding “I'm not sure – the latest one I think.”

The reason this is a missed opportunity has to do with the comparison to the iPhone product line. Oh, you have an iPhone 5? I have an iPhone 3. I guess I need to upgrade.

And what happens with the next iPad? Will it be the iPad with Retina+? Will it be the iPad 4S? Or how about calling it The New iPad again?

When you have a good thing – like naming conventions that work – why do you need to mess around with it? Anyone have an answer? Because if you do, it will explain why Apple made the decision to lose control of its branding. The question is, will the company learn from its mistake?


Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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