The guy who named iMac says Apple’s names are too confusing

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The next iPhone will have a huge battery.
Is it time for Apple to change the way it names iPhones?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Former Apple marketing guru Ken Segall helped launched Apple’s string of i-devices, but now he says that the company has lost its way from simplicity lately and there’s no clearer sign than the confusing naming scheme of the iPhone.

In a recent op-ed claiming Apple’s days of simplicity may have died with his buddy Steve Jobs, Segall takes Apple’s product names to tasks for being far too complex for customers to keep track, saying Tim Cook has created products that he finds bewildering.

“Apple’s own actions have served to train the public that S years are the ‘off years’. This is an absurdity, given that such revolutionary features as Siri, Touch ID and 64-bit processing have all been introduced in S models,” writes Segall.

“The S naming has only served to confuse customers, and make it significantly more difficult for marketing to do its job.”

I’m prone to agree with Segall. Apple’s product names have become nearly impossible for normal people to keep track of and understand why they’re significant upgrades. I blew my uncle’s mind last week that when I him he should buy an iPhone SE and he had never heard of it and the product name doesn’t signify if it’s an upgrade over the iPhone 5s or iPhone 6.

Segall also rails into Apple for the design of Apple Music, which is definitely not simple. He admits that software lapses happened under Steve Jobs’ watch (see: MobileMe), and Steve is the one that kicked off the S year iPhones with the iPhone 3GS. However, Segall claims the “flaws and complexities now seem to be creeping into the products more frequently.”

Tim Cook is certainly no Steve Jobs, but he has strengths Apple’s former CEO didn’t have. A lack of simplicity may have crept into Apple’s culture, but it’s still deeply ingrained into its identity.