As the January 27th announcement of Apple’s new tablet PC fast approaches, many have speculated on its name. While the inside favorite seems to be the iSlate, others are offering up alternatives like the iTablet, the iPad, etc.
Regardless of what is announced on the 27th, here are some of our thoughts regarding the iSlate name, both the good and the bad:
- It does continue to leverage Apple’s branding around the “i-” names (iPhone, iPod, iMac…)
- It relates well to the physical appearance of the PC while also distinguishing it from the many other tablet PCs on the market
- Slate is a “cooler” word than Tablet or Pad … especially if the actual product is thin and slate-like in appearance
- It is controversial which, in this case, is a very good thing. Just the amount of discussion and blogging on the name has raised the awareness and interest in the product launch tremendously
- It is easy to say, spell and remember
- It may not be registrable as a trademark. While Apple was able to register iPhone in spite of Cisco’s and Teltronics’ pre-existing trademark rights in the name, the same may not be true of iSlate. There is already a company, Slate Computing, using ISLATE for computers and a whole lot more, with pending trademark registrations in the U.S. and Canada. There is also an application for the iPhone called iSlate, and Fujitsu reportedly has some IP protection around SLATE.
- It may not be as distinctive or differentiating as needed for building a strong brand. ESLATE is already used for for a computer voting system. INFOSLATE in a registered trademark for a mobile computer. NETSLATE is a pending trademark for a tablet PC and the list goes on and on.
- It has some off-color and inappropriate slang meanings.
- The domain name may be expensive. A quick check on Network Solutions shows that just about every top level domain starting with iSlate is already registered. Good luck buying the dot-com, dot-net, dot-org, etc. rights in the name for a less than six figures.
However, Apple has consistently proven itself to be very savvy when it comes to brand building. We certainly wouldn’t bet against their ability to build strong brand identity around their new tablet PC, regardless of what it is called.