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The Apple Watch: Why no 'i'?

In naming Apple's new smartwatch, is CEO Tim Cook adding his own sense of branding? Or is this the end of iProducts altogether?

And then he goes and calls it the "iWatch." Even Tim Cook is struggling with the new name. Blame the media, I say. ABC News screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

So, Apple didn't launch an iWatch after all.

The most touted name never materialized. Instead, the tech giant's new smartwatch is called the Apple Watch. Strictly speaking, it's not even that. It's (Apple logo) Watch.

Experts and geniuses were surely floored at this sudden twist in branding vernacular. Apple's put an "i" in front of the names of its products -- from the iMac to the iPad -- for years. Why not now?

There will be many who will reach for logic. For example: Calling it the iWatch might imply the use of Apple's iOS operating system and the (Apple logo) Watch doesn't do that.

Another thought is that the "i" series was almost tending toward cartoon-like cliche. Here is Apple entering the fashion world, where humor consists almost entirely of jokes about losing weight.

Perhaps Apple is attempting to present itself in a slightly more serious manner for those who take themselves seriously by wearing a different shade of black every day.

This might well be the case. Some, though, will speculate that the naming is just one more example of CEO Tim Cook wanting Apple to now be his Apple.

The "i" series might, in his eyes, symbolize the past. After all, the company's new mobile-payment system is (Apple logo) Pay, not the perhaps more fluid iPay. Perhaps the next phone will be become the (Apple logo) Phone.

If that's true, Cook is struggling with it himself.

In speaking with ABC News Tuesday, Apple's CEO was extolling the virtues of his company and its products. He talked about how developers were writing applications for "iPhone and iPad and the Mac and now, of course, as of today, the iWatch."

Branding. It's a slippery little thing. It takes time.

So you see. It's the not the Apple Watch. It's the (Apple logo) watch. Apple/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET