Apple is a company that historically keeps its product lineup not only small, but simple to understand. More often than not, even the names Apple adorns to its products help inform consumers as to what they’re getting.
You want a laptop that’s super thin and light? The MacBook Air is an obvious choice even if you know nothing about the product. Looking for more power? Why, the MacBook Pro might just be the machine for you. iPod Nano? Why I reckon that’s simply a smaller version of the iPod.
Apple product names, by and large, are smart, easy to remember, and convey a simple message.
With the Apple Watch, the simplistic naming conventions Apple users have grown accustomed to have been tossed by the wayside. Compounding matters is the fact that the Apple Watch line up is unquestionably the most confusing product matrix Apple has ever released.
Before one even gets to the myriad of watch bands available, the Apple Watch casings run the gamut, from Silver aluminum and Space Gray Aluminum to Stainless Steel and Gold. On top of that, the Apple Watch comes in two distinct case sizings. Of course, the Apple Watch as a personal fashion item undoubtedly requires a wide selection of customization options.
Where Apple could have made things easier, though, was in how it categorized the three distinct Apple Watch categories it ultimately settled on.
Now the Apple Watch Sport is simple enough. Clearly, it’s being positioned as a device for folks keen on exercising or otherwise leading a more active lifestyle.
Apple’s middle of the road watch category, however, is downright confusing. Simply dubbed Apple Watch, the name makes it hard to determine which type of device is being referenced.
Imagine a customer walking into an Apple Store and asking for an Apple Watch. Nothing has truly been conveyed. Does the customer want a model from the Apple Watch collection or are they simply stating, generically, that they’re interested in an Apple Watch model of some sort and need some help figuring out how to proceed.
Now considering that the Apple Watch category may very well be the most popular, you would think Apple would have put more thought into what to call it. Apple Watch Steel might have been a smart choice before Pebble opted for a similar name.
Moving along, the expensively priced Apple Watch Edition category is no better.
A customer declares, “I want an Apple Watch, but I’m not sure which model or edition I want.”
Is this customer confused? Do they want a gold $10,000+ Apple Watch or are they simply thinking aloud and contemplating the entire universe of Apple Watch options.
If someone says, “I just bought the Apple Watch Edition”, one might imagine that a natural response would be, “Which edition?”
The avenues for confusion seem so glaringly obvious and foreseeable.
As the company’s next big bet, it’s somewhat surprising that Apple, as a company that takes marketing extremely seriously, would add an unnecessary layer of confusion to an already confusing array of purchasing options.
Following Apple’s media event on Monday, Yahoo Tech columnist David Pogue tweeted:
Anyone else find the naming of the Apple Watches weird? There’s the Watch Sport ($350), the Watch ($550), and the Watch Edition ($10,000)…
— David Pogue (@Pogue) March 9, 2015
Yes, at best, Apple’s naming convention here is weird. At worst, it’s a point of confusion for customers willing to shell out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for a smartwatch.
The problem is that the Apple Watch naming scheme includes the name of the product itself — watch. It’d be akin to Apple using the following names for its notebook lineup: Apple Laptop Air, Apple Laptop, Apple Laptop Pro.
If I have an Apple Laptop Pro, I might just as readily tell someone I have an Apple laptop.
I might even venture to say that Apple’s watch naming scheme is the worst we’ve seen since Steve Jobs returned to Apple and did away with products like the Mac Performa 6400/200 VEE.