How these inventions got their name.
IPod: “Open the pod bay door, Hal”
During Apple Inc.’s MP3 player development, Steve Jobs spoke of the company’s strategy: positioning the Mac as a hub to other gadgets. Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter Apple hired to help name the device before its debut in 2001, fixed on that idea, according to Wired. He brainstormed hubs of all kinds, eventually coming to the concept of a spaceship. You could leave it, but you’d have to return to refuel. The stark plastic front of the prototype inspired the final connection: pod, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey. Add an “i” and the connection to the iMac was complete.
BlackBerry: Sweets Addict
Research In Motion Ltd. called on Lexicon Branding Inc. to help name its new wireless e-mail device in 2001. The consultancy pushed RIM’s founder away from the word e-mail, which research shows can raise blood pressure. Instead, they looked for a name that would evoke joy and somehow give feelings of peace. After someone made the connection that the small buttons on the device resembled a bunch of seeds, Lexicon’s team explored names like “Strawberry,” “Melon” and various vegetables before settling on “BlackBerry” — a word that was pleasing and evoked the black color of the device.
Firefox: Second Time’s a Charm
Choosing a name that evokes a product’s essence and is available can be quite complicated, as the Mozilla folks found out. The early version of Mozilla’s browser was called Firebird, but because of another open-source project with the same name, the foundation’s elders renamed their browser Firefox, which is another name for the red panda. Why? “It’s easy to remember. It sounds good. It’s unique. We like it,” they said. Best of all? Nobody else was using it.