What’s in a Name

Being a mostly Mac shop here, we tend to closely follow Apple news, or at least I do. I’m relatively surprised that I haven’t seen more comments out there about Apple’s choice of name for their new Intel powered pro laptop, the “MacBook Pro”. I understand that it can’t be called a “PowerBook” anymore because it lacks a PowerPC processor, not that many people actually equate the two. It seemed that most thought the name was supposed to indicate that the laptop was geared toward professionals, while the iBook with it’s fewer features and lower price point was for the casual user.

With the new name Apple has had to take a more direct approach because the processor type is absent. Apple’s processor marketing used to tie in very well with model names. Except for the sticky situation when the hyped G5 couldn’t feasibly be put in a laptop. Prior to this instance, the incorporation worked out well and served as evident marker that a product was revised, and that it was time for users to upgrade. I myself seem to fall into that, having owned a PowerBook from almost every processor class. With the new name, I’m not sure how Apple will perpetuate the upgrade cycle.

So why not keep the processor name in? The seemingly smart answer is that they could be more processor independent in the future, which I doubt. They seem to be stuck with Intel for now, for better or for worse. The less obvious answer is, that they can’t have another PowerBook Duo, or anything close to that. Intel’s naming may have gotten less atrocious, but this time its name is very similar to that lackluster laptop.

While I don’t care much for the name “MacBook Pro,” I don’t mind that it’s using an X86. This may give them the ability to release products faster and focus on other elements of the hardware. I was getting tired of chip shortages blowing away every product, and that whole processor leapfrog game. I also see a lot of opportunity for PC users who aren’t completely confident in the Mac OS to buy the new laptop just because it could possibly run windows if they wanted it to.

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