Kottke on the iPhone as the Universal Pocket Device

Crackerjack piece by Kottke on how the iPhone — and, to a lesser extent, other mobile platforms like BlackBerry, Android, and WebOS — isn’t just competing against phones, but against dozens of different types of pocketable gadgetry: cameras, music players, game players, e-book readers, etc.

In a footnote, he speculates that Apple might soon change the iPhone’s name:

You’ve got to wonder when Apple is going to change the name of the iPhone. The phone part of the device increasingly seems like an afterthought, not the main attraction. The main benefit of the device is that it does everything. How do you choose a name for the device that has everything? Hell if I know.

If Apple were worried about the applicability of the noun in iNoun formations, they’d have changed the name of iTunes, of which tunes are now just a part of it, years ago. If this platform is here for the long run, the general purpose name that best works for a general purpose device is already here: iPod. In fact, iPod, semantically, is a better name for the iPod Touch than it ever was for the original focused-on-music models. As I see it, the phone in iPhone isn’t about telephony, but about the necessary contract with a mobile carrier.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009