Is Tim Cook Creating His Own Apple Legacy by Dropping the “i”?

iBet there were some disappointed domain-squatters two weeks ago, when instead of “iPay” and the “iWatch”, we got the news of “Apple Pay” and the “Apple Watch“.

Though this isn’t the first time since Steve Jobs unveiled the iMac in ’98 that the company dropped the “i” moniker: after all, Apple has given us Apple TV and a whole bunch of Macbooks that didn’t follow this pattern. 

The difference, one could argue, with Apple Watch and the Macbook/Apple TV products is that one is portable– like the iPhone and iPad lines –while the other products are not. A dividing line, of sorts: mobile devices get an “i”, desktop units don’t. After all, this is the same company that’s brought us iTunes, iPods, iCloud, iWork, and i-Just-About-Everything-Else.

Envisioning the new Apple wearable to be tagged with an “i” was far from a stretch; yet, the company through everyone a curveball. Many of us, who don’t like to be kept in the dark about, well, anything, have been left wondering why.

Over at the NY Times, there was speculation that a potential fight with Swatch over the similarities between the iWatch & their “iSwatch” product forced Apple’s hand.

I doubt that.

Instead, I think what we’re witnessing here is the true beginning of the Tim Cook era at Apple. And Tim Cook’s Apple, and the legacy it leaves behind, won’t just stand in the shadow of Steve Jobs.

Apple has yet to release a new category since Jobs’ second run as Chief. Every iPhone & iPad since has merely just been an upgrade to a Jobs-devised product; now that the company is expanding into wearables and mobile payments, Cook has the opportunity to leave his own notch in the Apple bedpost.

After the iPhone 5C debacle last year, Cook could use some redemption in the eyes of Wall Street– sure, the record pre-order sales of the new iPhones will help; but, again, those are basically Steve’s (albeit, much larger). If the Apple Watch & Apple Pay mean a new stream of revenue for the organization, outside of those annual/bi-annual iDevice upgrades, Tim Cook’s legacy at Apple would be secured.

And, if not…well, there’s always iRetirement.

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