The Problem With Generic Nomenclature: A Look at the Apple Store

Apple Shop -England


The Apple Shop in Hoveton has been a top place to buy cider in Hoveton, England for twenty years. It is a small shop that does not have the same prestige as the Apple Store, but it does have the same resolve.

For the last few years, however, the Apple Shop has been receiving calls from consumers who believe that the store is the Apple Store repair shop. According to the Apple Shop owner, Geoff Fisher, things were fine until Apple decided to open the Apple Store in Norwich, a nearby town. From that moment on, customers came to the Apple Shop thinking it was the repair store. “I’ve had complaints about broken iPods and dropped iPads and Apple Macs. It can be very funny, but some people are very rude and they slam the phone down.” One customer, an 87-year-old gentleman, once said something that Fisher still remembers to this day: “I’ve been very silly. I’m 87, and I’ve gone and bought an Apple Mac and I don’t know how to use it” (Bryan Chaffin, “Apple Customers Push Cider-Selling ‘Apple Shop’ to Change Name.”)

The Apple Shop and the Apple Store are very similar in nomenclature, with one word separating the two (“shop” and “store”). Sadly, however, both Fisher’s store and Apple’s store name are examples of what happens when owners give their stores such generic names. Apple has been down this road a few months ago when it sued Amazon in a lawsuit, claiming that Amazon was attempting to pass its own App Store as the “App Store” that belongs to Cupertino. Apple lost its case, however, and Amazon was allowed to continue naming its store “Amazon App Store.” In addition, the press has been covering the store of Apple’s attempt to wrangle the “iPhone” name from a Brazilian manufacturer known for producing an Android iPhone in the country. Apple lost its case with the Brazilian company, simply because the company held rights to the iPhone name ten years before Apple sought to purchase the name. While it does seem funny that an Android smartphone would be dubbed the iPhone, it is true that the company holds the rights to the name.

One of the downsides of generic names is that, if one company gets the right to use the name, nothing prohibits other companies from using the same generic labels. With the cider shop in Norfolk, England, Geoff Fisher only changed the name of the store to stop getting phone calls about products that need repair. While I understand his frustration and desire to ease the confusion, it could all be avoided with not only Fisher’s name change, but Apple’s name change. So many incidents like this have happened in the last few months, and these are signs that Apple needs to look into changing the name of its stores and corporation.

Apple has a history with generic names. The company, the Apple Corporation, has a fruit logo (after which the company is named) on all the company’s products. Its operating system, called “iOS,” is an acronym for “Internet operating system,” another example of a basic name. The “iPhone” is a combination of the words “Internet” and “phone,” and the “iPad” is short for “Internet pad” — or an Internet tablet. The “i” labels in all of the company’s products and possessions stands for “Internet,” a term that can be applied to any company in the tech industry. An “iPad” is short for “Internet Personal Access Device,” a term that refers to an Internet device that allows individuals the opportunity to log onto the Internet. Apple looks to produce a larger smartphone this Fall, referred to in recent news as an “iPhablet,” a combination of the terms “Internet” and “phablet” (a Samsung term that refers to a device that is both phone and tablet). If Cupertino produces a smart watch this year, it will be called an “iWatch” (“Internet watch”) to match the company’s other devices.

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