A 3D map to understand Apple product names

Some Apple product names will likely be etched in our memories. Simple, clear and timeless, brands like MacBook, iPhone, iPod and other AirPods resonate all over the planet.

If you want to get an idea of ​​how Apple names its products, data visualization researcher Nicolas Kruchten has put together a quirky interactive map, showing how Apple mixes and matches different basic elements in its product naming to base of “i”, “Pro”, “Apple”, etc.

A representation of the Apple BOM

Nicolas Kruchten said he got the idea for this project after reading a biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

I love how Apple names things: FireWire, App Nap, iPhone, iPod, EarPod, AirPod, AirPlay, FairPlay, etc. It’s playful and there’s a lot of reuse of words and sounds. As I just finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs, I decided to visualize various Apple product and feature names in network form to see this reuse in action. I got the names from Apple’s public trademark list.

nicolas kruchten apple card names

The easiest way is to see it in interactive form. Kruchten recommends viewing his site on a Mac rather than an iPhone or iPad. You can scroll to zoom, click-drag to pan, click on nodes to isolate part of the tree.

Nodes are name fragments like “i”, “phone”, “pro”, “max” in the name “iPhone 14 Pro Max”. An arrow from “i” to “phone” means there is a product name or trademark containing “i phone” or similar like “i pad”, “i pod”, etc.

The nodes are sized according to the number of incoming or outgoing arrows, and colored according to the number of connections, from dark blue for few arrows to yellow for many, passing through purple.

A very interesting initiative that allows to review some forgotten names like iLife, iSight, iDisk, iTunes Match, etc.

What is your favorite Apple product?

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