A couple of news outlets are flipping their lid over the news that Apple has filed a new worldwide trademark for the word “PowerBook,” the name of Apple’s pre-MacBook laptop series, which ran from 1991 until 2006.
The suggestion is that this could mean that Apple’s bringing back its iconic laptop brand name, either as a replacement for, or to run alongside, the MacBook series. We’re not so sure!
The trademark filing was made by lawyers who registered the address of the filing as 1 Infinite Loop, Apple’s current headquarters, prior to it moving to its new Apple Park HQ.
Additional “evidence” for the fact that Apple could be bringing back the original PowerBook name is the fact that Apple recently replaced the iPad Air with a new tablet simply called “iPad,” which is taken as meaning that Apple is “stripping its new launches back to their original models.”
They also suggest, although without citing any sources, that the new iPhone 8/iPhone Edition could be named simply “iPhone” as a typically minimalist way to celebrate the device’s tenth anniversary.
Signal or noise
Right now it seems more than a little premature to suggest that the PowerBook brand could be brought back. It’s certainly true that Apple has done more to acknowledge its past under Tim Cook than it did under Steve Jobs, but Apple has also renewed trademarks such as its iconic “Think Different” tagline — and shows no sign of putting those back into circulation.
It’s tempting to look at stories like the fact that that Apple registered the iPhone.com domain name years before making an iPhone, and use this to extrapolate the future, but the reality is probably a whole lot more boring than that.
In fact, a lot of Apple’s trademarks are about stopping its assets falling into other company’s hands — as happened when rival watchmaker Swatch decided to trademark Steve Jobs’ iconic “One more thing” catchphrase, shortly after Apple began competing with it in the watch business.
Personally, I’d love to see Apple do more to cater to pro-level users, whether this meant using the names MacBook and PowerBook, or sticking with MacBook and MacBook Pro. Given that Apple just refreshed the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar version, however, it’s hard to imagine it scrapping that brand any time soon. And a MacBook Pro and PowerBook pairing would just be confusing!
Would you like to see Apple bring back the PowerBook? Leave your comments below.