In many ways it’s impossible to overstate the iPhone's influence on modern-day telecommunications and the exponential spread of pocket technology. But as with all genuine phenoms, its seismic impact wasn't just restricted to smartphones.
Along with the iPod, Apple’s handset also ushered an era when a lower-case ‘i’ prefixes were slapped on every product or service going (stand up the Beeb’s iPlayer, TfL’s iBus public transport tracking system and iGoogle).
But today it has emerged that the genius branding move almost never came to pass, leaving us to imagine a world where marketeers had to work a bit harder to keep themselves in chai lattes.
In a talk at the University of Arizona, Apple’s one-time head of advertising Ken Segall revealed some of the names that were mooted for the handset. And they take some believing.
According to Segall, the phone was very nearly called Telepod, a name that’s more redolent of creaky 1960s Sci-Fi than kits from the cutting-edge of comms in the noughties.
Worse surely, though, is the pally-sounding ‘Mobi’, which sounds more like the name you’d give to a toy phone for kids.
But least apt, though, is ‘Tripod’. This was apparently intended to reflect the fact that it blends three major functions: a music player, an internet browser and a smartphone. But actually rather suggests you have to prop up your handset on a stand like an old-fashioned camera/daguerrotype before you use it.
Consolingly, ‘iPad’ was also mooted for the iPhone, before sense was seen and, we’re guessing here, someone thought it might be better put to work on a tablet…