By now, everyone knows about the announcements that came out of the Apple event this week. Two new iPhone sizes, another half-hearted wearable device and another mobile payment platform. While there may not have been anything to get excited about, there was something truly interesting that happened during the event - an admission from Apple that the iGeneration is over.
In 1998, Steve Jobs revealed the iMac, his first product since returning to the company. Despite poor sales in the beginning, the iMac had a profound impact on Apple: it set forth the naming of products for nearly 2 decades. Since the iMac, there has been the iPod, iPhone, iPad and software products such as iBook, iTunes, iLife and iWork. The odd naming convention spurred hundreds of companies and products from outside of Apple donning the lowercase i at the top of their brand. Even the Consumer Electronics Show has had a section of its show floor named the iLounge, despite Apple never participating in the event.
However, the Steve Jobs Apple died with him in 2011. The Tim Cook Apple began its life then, though no Tim Cook products had really been announced. Until now, only Steve Jobs updates had been announced, continuing to behave like the Apple of old. Because of this, we saw more iPod, iPhone and iPad announcements. But the winds are changing, and Tim Cook finally showed off HIS first 2 products, both with a new naming convention.
The product that everyone knew was coming and no one knew the name of, was known pre-announcement as the iWatch, though there were rumors of it being named iTime. Either way, the product seemed to fit nicely into the Steve Jobs Apple - beginning with the i. However, that was not the case. As you know, the product was announced as the Apple Watch, with the word "Apple" being replaced by the black corporate logo, similar to what we have seen on the Apple TV.
This was not the only entirely new (to Apple) product announced - we also saw Apple Pay, a service identical to that of Google and Microsoft's respective wallet services. The difference, however, is in the naming. The service name, Apple Pay, is named exactly the same as Apple Watch, with the Apple logo as part of the name. This gives the company 3 major products in this new naming scheme: Apple TV, Apple Watch and Apple Pay.
Why is this important? Apple is not one to make big changes, despite the public opinion to the contrary. They are a company set in their ways, and any major change to the culture is a shock. This new branding is a major change in culture, and therefore a shock. It is, almost certainly inspired by Tim Cook, who has been looking to make his lasting mark on the company in a good way, which he has had trouble doing to date.
A change in the company culture, especially one that supports Tim Cook in the captain's chair, is one that could finally make Apple a big player again. Since 2011, we have seen Apple's place in the industry slip - the iPod brand is all but dead, Android phones have nearly shut the iPhone out and low-cost Android and Windows tablets have cut into sales of the iPad. Many, including myself, have believed that this was because Tim Cook had not been accepted as the head of the corporate family. Perhaps a collection of products, launched by Cook and marketed under a new branding, could be exactly what Cook needs to truly lead the company.