There’s a great post on the Baby Name Wizard blog discussing the latest name of the year — Siri.
To English speakers, Siri comes across as classic Danish design: clean, spare, elegant in its simplicity. It feels namelike but isn’t overly familiar or tied to any time period. It’s approachable but not in-your-face. It’s cool.
This branding is typically Apple.
A look through computer history reveals less inspired choices. The first electronic relay computer was by Konrad Zuse, and called the Zuse Z1-2.
The first completely electronic computer was the Eniac, which computed firing tables during WWII.
IBM (itself a less than friendly name), came out with the personal IBM 5150, and with some exceptions (like the brilliantly-named Thinkpad) continues with such names as the System Storage SAN768B-2.
Apple, in comparison, has generally done a good job of choosing human-like names. Think of names like the Lisa, Macintosh, or MacBook. While part of this consists in such a limited product line, it generates generate a brand that is easy to talk about.
Compare Apple to Dell. Dell has the Inspiron, Inspiron R, XPS, Z Series, and Alienware primary laptop brands. Each of these have additional options, screen sizes, and customizations. They don’t have a brand — they have 5.
The Thinkpads have always stuck out to me as one of the few viable brands opposing the Apple Macbooks. While not IBM anymore, they’ve got a good reputation of reliability. Ironically, I’ve seen some studies by rebate providers showing that Apple does not have the best hardware reliability. But, the uniformly high-quality of their lineup means that they’re perceived as a safe choice. Compare that to Dell, where you can buy a great computer, like the XPS or Alienware, or a terrible one that barely runs the crapware that comes installed on new computers.
It’s been a long time since “no one gets fired buying IBM.”