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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Will "iPhone" be used as general slang for "smartphone"?

Patrick Smith (whose new blog SMS is the New Black has got a plethora of thought-provoking posts) has written about an interesting phenomenon: the use of the term iPhone as a generic word instead of "smartphone".

It makes a lot of sense to me - I don't really hear "normal" people ever talking about smartphones. They certainly don't care about technical distinction like open operating systems. Frankly, the term "smartphone" is pretty geeky, and almost guaranteed to turn off a sizeable part of the potential market.

No doubt that Apple's lawyers and branding mavens will hate this as much as their peers at Nokia, RIM and others. But I can certainly imagine it happening, especially in Europe where technical jargonese often tends to be viewed as deeply uncool.

5 comments:

Patrick said...

Thanks Dean. I've got the new G1 and was telling my brother about it - he didn't care it was made by HTC, or used Android OS - so I told him it was like an iPhone but by Google. He 'got' that.

Paul said...

Please no.

Call them BlackBerrys if you will.

They work, they don't rely on firmware updates to fix bugs, they don't overload the network, and the public 'gets' them too and they were around long before Apple hype. Plus I've never heard of a RIM commercial being pulled for being misleading.

Anonymous said...

yeah why not, my brother saw my N95 8GB and said "like your iPhone"

John said...

Ahhh no thanks please. Smartphone works just fine. This an attempt to throw a label "out there" just to see if it sticks. Dean, wise man that you are, don't take the bait.

Patrick said...

@ John - it's not an attempt to throw a new label out there, just talking about a trend I was seeing.

I think the term smartphone works well for most people in the industry, but for normal users ...