14 Nov 2011

Simplifying the Mac Branding

Since the branding for Apple's current Mac line seems to have evolved organically, starting with the iMac in 1998, I wanted to see if we can overhaul and simplify it, so that it stays fresh and relevant for the future, rather than being an artifact of the past. Of course, we want to retain its distinctiveness, and minimize unnecessary change.

The iPhone is an excellent brand name. It's distinctive, while fitting in to the overall Apple brand (the "i") and being minimalist, by just adding one letter. It stands for Apple's quality and esthetic, products that are simple and beautiful, without a bunch of half thought-out features or tacked-on ornamentation.

To begin with, let's use Mac as the backbone of the brand family. It's distinctive, and so doesn't need an "i". Come to think of, isn't it weird that Apple sells some iMacs and some plain Macs? I mean, wouldn't it be odd if Apple sold an iPhone and a plain Phone?

Since more people buy Mac laptops than desktops, let's drop the "book" from the MacBook and make that the default. Let the desktops have a qualifier, instead.

So, here are the new names, on the right, with the old ones on the left:

Macbook Air -> Mac Air
Macbook Pro -> Mac Pro
Mac Mini -> Mac Desktop Mini
iMac -> Mac Desktop
Mac Pro -> Mac Tower

Notice how the laptops have clean, simple names. I cringed when I first heard of "MacBook Pro". Why did Apple throw away such a sleek and modern Powerbook name for this clumsy one? Well, this rebranding fixes that.

I also like that the Mac Mini and the iMac have similar names in the new scheme, reflecting their similar nature — desktops rather than laptops or workstations. I think the Mac Mini should have all iMac features and vice-versa, except for the built-in monitor.

I think this cleaner, modern branding will stand Apple and the Mac community in good stead for the next several years, and reflect the attention to detail that makes the platform what it is.


  1. I like the terms "Mac Desktop", "Mac Desktop Mini" and "Mac Tower".

    I'm not completely sold on "Mac Pro" and "Mac Air" as it claims monopoly on the term Mac and leaves no space for any new hardware which might fit in the space. To keep the option open, I think it's better to tag them with something. I think "Book" and "Air" are poor choices anyway. And I hate the term "laptop". Only alternative I can think of is "Portable", but that's a wrong usage too. I don't know what should be the right term, but I do know that I don't like the current tags/names.

  2. Interesting point about using a tag to keep options open for the future.