Counterpoint: Keep the Name PowerBook

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Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2005, 08:39
Category: Archive

The feedback was hot and heavy regarding my story about how Apple should dump the name “PowerBook” in favor of something new when they announce the new Intel-based portables. Many of you felt that Apple should keep the name PowerBook because it is a worldwide brand. Some of your comments are after the jump…


The feedback was hot and heavy regarding my story about how Apple should dump the name “PowerBook” in favor of something new when they announce the new Intel-based portables. Many of you felt that Apple should keep the name PowerBook because it is a worldwide brand. Some of your comments:

As a regular reader and with all due respect, I disagree about the name change. “Powerbook” in on par with the iconic status of “iPod.” The Intel innards will mean nothing to the vast majority of customers and thus do not warrant a change. (Reader 1)
PowerBook. Leave it be. I think you’re missing the point of brand/model recognition.There’s a reason certain car names (for example) stay constant, despite improvements under the hood. The name has come to mean something bigger. The example replacement names offered all sound like rejected nomenclature from Compaq or Dell or Fujitsu. Or possibly worse, it reminds me of those “Jean-Louis” days when there were so many name/number combinations for the various Mac models that no one could keep them straight. Even Apple-haters know the name PowerBook (and iBook). This is huge. I don’t think the name-recognition should be diluted when it stands so strong amongst the other household names, like “ThinkPad” and “LifeBook”. (Reader 2)
I think you’re off base. I think the name PowerBook should stay — why throw away 15 years of legacy just to come up with a different name. The Apple Mobile — what were you thinking? I prefer Powerbook any day. Of course the Intel books won’t have the PowerPC chip, so maybe it is time to scrap Power from both the laptops and desktops. Still, why create confusion for current and new users? Most people know that a PowerBook is a Mac. Start calling it something else and you loose that name recognition. And I would veto using Letters or Numbers in a heartbeat. One of the dumbest things Cadillac has done is start naming their line of vehicles with a list of meaningless letters. Only true Cadillac zealots can tell you which car is the CRX the CRS or whatever. Don’t bring this morass to the Mac. (Reader 3)
VistaBook – ha, ha. I do not see anything wrong with the PowerBook for the top line product, maybe iBook could go — the consumer model is meant to be slightly more ephemeral. Good brands easily last a long time (Tide, Chlorox, Coca-Cola, Chevy, Accord, Civic, an on and on) and Apple has always used good branding as a strength. I vote to stay with PowerBook. (Reader 4)
Please consider that the “new” powerbook name should work not only in the english language. Even if many english words are widely understood. I would suggest two names: ProBook and theBook. (Reader 5, Rome)
How about…”PentiumBook”? But there’s no guarantee that Intel and Apple will agree to this name, so it’s “MaxPowerBook.” (That’s “MachtSchnellBuch” for Germany? and “HikariBook” for Japan/Asia?) (Reader 6)
I’ve never considered t “PowerBook” a tired label. It’s durability has in my mind made it almost iconic, like “Kleenex” or “Bandaid.” I’m loathe to recommend a new name that doesn’t include “PowerBook.” (Reader 7)
Although I do agree with you that Apple should assign different names to the various revisions to the Powerbook, I think the Powerbook name should be kept. Powerbook is more than just a model name. Much like the iPod, it’s more like household name by now. In my opinion, the label Powerbook is synonymous to laptops or notebooks. Most people understand what a Powerbook is. We mac users like to differentiate ourselves with PC users. Therefore the Powerbook name is a good generic name for our portable macs.
One of the arguments you had about the Powerbook being dated was the fact that the name insinuated a PowerPC chip. And now that Apple is switching to Intel, it makes no sense to keep the powerbook name. However, Apple has been using the Powerbook name way before PowerPC was introduced. Therefore, in reality, Powerbook name has nothing to do with the chip.
I think it is important for Apple to keep the Powerbook name, especially after the switch to Intel. Or else in the not too distant future, we would all just be using Pentium M or Centrino notebooks made by Apple.
With regards to the PowerMac name, that name was indeed created due to the PowerPC chip. But as time passed, it is no longer tied to the PPC chip. Now days, PowerMac stands for the high-end/professional mac line. Therefore it should still be ok to keep the Powermac name despite the intel switch. (Reader 8)
why not just upgrade the ibook to the exact same thing the powerbook is, and make the ibook subplace the powerbook….iBook could be the name for the intel and ppc notebooks. (Reader 9)

There was at least one of you that agreed with me, who simply wrote:
“Hitchhiker”, of course!
Send me your PowerBook name ideas and I’ll update this story with them.

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