The iTrend. You know what it is. That poor letter of the English alphabet. Used and abused. Letter number nine.
In case you have no idea what I am talking about, it is not a new Apple product, but my clever way of giving a name to the trend of placing “i” before everything. “i” is the new prefix for names, companies, products, etc. It all began with Apple’s introduction of the iMac in 1998. The “i” stood for “internet,” bringing the old Mac up to date with the web, but also stood for the Apple values we think of today: imagination, innovation, individuality, etc. According to Ken Segall, the creative director and person responsible for naming this big, blue Macintosh computer, Steve Jobs wasn’t fond of “iMac.” They came up with some more names, but “iMac” was the only one that resonated. While it slowly grew on Jobs, he never embraced it at the time. He placed “iMac” stickers on the computer to get a feel for its look and still didn’t embrace it. I suppose Jobs never took the stickers off because the name stuck even though he never truly accepted it, and so began the “i” trend.
iMac, iBook, iPod, iPhone, iWork, iLife, iPad, iOS 5, iCloud, iBooks, and iTunes are the popular Apple products beginning with its famous “i.” I have actually never heard of the iOS 5 software or iCloud or iBooks. Of course, I don’t and have never had a smartphone and the iOS 5 is the operating system used for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. (Yeah yeah, I guess I still live in the stone age.) iBooks is obviously an e-book application meant for those same products. iCloud is a storage system often used for those same products, as well, but can also be used for computers. Browsing the iCloud website, I am pretty sure I would like to use this application. See how enticing Apple’s products can be? Even if you are tired of the “i” trend, it still grabs you.
There are probably a whole slew of “i” products and applications I don’t even know about. iTrend could very well be a product, too. In fact, Googling “iTrend” produces various results. The results on page one show that iTrend is an Apple product; it’s an application for the iPad! “iTrend” is also the name used for a clothing store for women and children, a design and software development company, and something I don’t quite understand. The iTrend application for the iPad actually looks very cool. Trend USA, a maker and distributor of stone and mosaic tiles, has created the iTrend for the iPad, which lets you design a room in your house by taking a picture and choosing tiles and wallpaper designs. It’s basically an application for interior design and I bet they have really cool mosaic options.
So, while I am sick of the “i” trend, Apple does make some neat and interesting products for consumers. Can we at least leave the “i” to Apple? It’s getting a little bit out of control. “i” comes before everything. How many non-Apple applications use the “i”? How many companies use the “i”? How many twitter handles use the “i”? How many people want to make something starting with the letter “i”? Leave it to Apple to start a trend, even one it probably didn’t plan. The naming of a piece of technology now transcends all genres of life. Do people feel original? Creative? Cute? Partaking in a trend is anything but those characteristics. The “i” wasn’t just a first person exclamation; it did have a point. The “i” has clearly been identified as an Apple thing to do; it is the Apple brand. Anybody using “i” is appropriating. Now that is all fine and dandy, but it’s gotten out of hand. Please, enough.
I don’t know how this has not gotten old yet. People are still wondering if they should put “i” before their domain name, before their company name, etc., knowing that it is a fad. The answer is no. What do fads do, but die? Yes, they come back at some point decades later, but I can’t imagine this trend ever coming back. It’s the moment of Apple, of technologies using “i,” and technology advances. So please, let’s move on.
Apple has even discussed whether to drop the “i,” but has decided to stay consistent. It has been over a decade of “i” products. They can drop the name. Their consistency has been clear. Now, let’s move on. It is not trendy any more, just overused and tiresome. I hope that when Apple comes out with a new product, and according to Tim Cook, the new CEO, it’s sure to be something that will blow our minds, it does not begin with the letter “i.”
Best use of the “i” Trend
The best use of the “i” trend has already been done. Nothing can top it, so let’s drop it. Mad TV’s hilarious skit tops the cake and it’s still very relevant today. The actor playing Steve Jobs states, “In the last three years, Apple computers has introduced ‘i’ technology that has changed the world,” and with each product he lists, the recognizable Apple “start-up” sound goes off: the iPod, the iMac, the iBook, the iPhone, the iPictureFrame, the iLamp, the iMicrowave, and the iVaccuum. He reveals Apple’s newest item: the iRack.
The audience members comment:
“The iRack looks unstable!”
“The iRack looks like something we shouldn’t be involved with! It looks like you put it together with no directions.”
“The iRack looks all shaky. You are going to fix it, right?”
The actor playing Jobs responds very cleverly to each and every comment. His final response, “This is the iRack as we intended. Mission accomplished.” He proceeds to put all of the previously mentioned Apple products into the iRack, and more hilarious comments ensue. As the whole audience shouts for him to take everything out of the iRack, he puts more and more. Eventually, the iRack looks very dangerous and unstable, starting a fire and engulfing the whole place. Nobody can leave because “there is no exit strategy.”
It ends with, “I want you all to stop focusing on the iRack, and start focusing on our newest product: the iRan!” We see the image of a shoe, the start-up noise sounds, and the skit brilliantly ends.