The Apple Watch has turned into the de-facto standard for smartwatches. Whether it’s the Galaxy Watch or the OnePlus, only a select few can compete with the luxury, utility, and features that the Apple Watch offers to its buyers. However, in terms of nomenclature, the Apple Watch seems to be the odd one out. With all other Apple products following the standard “i-” naming procedure, what made the Apple Watch so special? 

Breaking The Tradition

In an interview with David Rubenstein, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, was asked about why Apple broke off from their iconic naming scheme. He, in turn, gave a very non-specific answer stating that he preferred the name over iWatch. 

However, over the years, one thing’s for certain. Apple tends to focus on every little detail about its products. Taking heed from the mastermind behind Apple, Steve Jobs, a meticulous amount of time was spent in ironing out the nuances of each product the company has ever released. 

Therefore, it goes without saying that there must be more to the story behind naming the Apple Watch other than just the name being Tim Cook’s personal preference. 

Back when the original Apple Watch was being developed, Apple ran into a few legal issues when it came to trademarking the product in every region. The name iWatch was already trademarked in regions by a few separate companies.

For instance, in the U.S, the name was owned by OMG Electronics, Probendi owned the name in the entirety of the EU while an undisclosed company had taken up the name quite a while ago in China. So, in order to snag the name for itself, Apple would have to go through expensive trademark disputes just to use the name.

However, this was a common occurrence for the brand. The name iPhone had already been trademarked by Cisco before the product’s release. This led to Apple paying the company an undisclosed amount of money to settle the case without a formal trial. The name, iPad, was already trademarked by a company called Proview in China. So, Apple had to fork up 60 million dollars in order to use the name in that particular region.

Getting The Jump

With that said, it became clear that various companies were getting the lead on Apple. They’d anticipate future product names and trademark them in their respective regions so that they could get the chance to be paid millions of dollars for Apple to buy their name of them.

The problem became so widespread that in 2010, Apple tried to trademark the i prefix for themselves so that they could legally claim any product that had an i at the start of its name. However, the court ruled against this stating that no company could ever own the letter i.

So, Apple was left with no option but to use a name that it already had a trademark for, Apple. However, this was not the first time that Apple was forced to change the name of its product. The Apple TV was originally debuted as the iTv in 2006 by Steve Jobs. However, after a failed lawsuit against a British broadcasting company named itv the company had to eventually settle for using Apple TV instead.

Settling For The Name

After a bad history of shelling out millions of dollars for getting their preferred name, it’s clear that Apple decided to go against doing so and used the Apple Watch instead of the iWatch. However, while Tim Cook may have liked how the name sounds, it’s quite apparent that the tradition was broken out of necessity and not because of preference.

However, as time has passed, Apple has seemed to veer off its iconic naming style even further by introducing products like the AirTags and AirPods, which completely negate how products were named prior. 

In our opinion, this clearly signifies two major points. Firstly, the fact that Apple is trying to bring in new names in order to avoid lawsuits and potential trademark disputes. And secondly, the company aims to bring itself out of its stringent policies and nomenclatures in favor of a more versatile, aptly named product lineup that signifies the amount of innovation and reforms the company has gone through in the last decade.

All in all, the decision wasn’t a bad one. The Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch in the world, with millions of units being sold each year. In fact, it has turned into an industry pioneer with its proprietary operating system, WatchOS, being the most frequently updated and consistent solution to date. 

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I bought my first smartwatch in 2018 and have been wearing one ever since. It might get frustrating at times to receive 100 notifications a day. That's why we need to know how to make the best of them and how to use them to improve our daily lives, not the other way around. I write about the newest smartwatches, I create top picks, and I write helpful guides and simply explain complicated things.