Weird things I hear people call Apple products

It’s easy to forget, as an Apple enthusiast who works and lives in this space most of the time, that there’s an entire population out there who still find Apple products – and computers, phones and tablets in general – to be mystifying devices. Even those folks who use them don’t understand much about them sometimes.

I work most weekends at an Apple Specialist retailer near my house. (If you’re in the area, feel free to stop in and say hi.) I hear people call Apple products by names that don’t even remotely resemble what they are. Like they’re just stringing together random syllables, or had a stroke and are suffering the effects of really severe aphasia.

I’ve been keeping notes that I’m gonna pass on to Apple’s marketing department eventually, because it entertains me how badly some of this stuff gets mangled. Here’s a roundup of some of things people ask for help with. Mind you, most of them own these things:

MacBook Pro

  • Mac Pro
  • Apple Pro Mac PC laptop
  • Power MacBook
  • PowerBook Pro
  • This stupid thing that stopped working

MacBook Air

  • Mac Air
  • Mac AirBook Pro
  • Airbook PC
  • Mac laptop

iPod touch

  • iTouch (by far the most frequent mistake)
  • iPad mini touch
  • iPhone without the phone part, whaddyacallit
  • Touchpod
  • Podtouch. You know, the iPod with the screen you can touch. Touchpad. iPod touch!

One thing people don’t usually get wrong? iPad. “iPad” is becoming like “Kleenex.” We regularly have people in the store who say, “Oh, the iPad? I have one of those. It’s by Kindle/Samsung.”

Rage Face

  • I hate it when people say “iTouch.”

    • iTouch is a pet peeve of mine. Where I start to see red is when our marketing produces text with iTouch in it.

      My fits of blind rage and desk throwing (throwing chairs is for little people, like elves) have improved our output considerably, however.

      • lkalliance

        The frustrating thing is that among all the other things, that sounds like it COULD be right. A simple name, just the removal of three letters from the middle of it, very marketable…

    • frikova

      THIS. I never comment but I just wanted to express my hate toward this.

    • deceze

      I still believe it should be called the “i”. You know, the “iPhone” without the “Phone”… ;-D

  • Jeff Slater

    I think the only one on your list I’ve heard is iTouch. I guess the iPad thing just goes back to “People don’t want tablets, they want iPads.”

  • i4, i4S, i5

    • Peter Cohen

      Yep, I’ve heard these too.

  • I hear “AirBook” all the time.

    • Me too, it drives me nuts. “Your laptop says its name right on it; chances are you’ve seen the name every day since you bought it!”

  • dougknowles

    Q: “Mac or PC?” A: “Mac. Mac invented Windows, right?”

    • Peter Cohen

      FYP: Q: “Mac or PC?” A: “MAC. MAC invented Windows, right?”

      • chjode

        The all-caps MAC is one I see quite a bit and it’s just weird.

  • I kind of like iPad mini touch. You know, that’s almost a better name than iPod touch.

    Maybe iPad touch or iPad pocket would be more clear. The iPod name has almost run out anyway.

  • danvrussell

    Mac Air and Airbook straight up set me off. Also people calling MacBook Pros – Mac Pros.

    • You can at least tell the difference now. The people carrying real Mac Pros are the ones who are bent over double, sweating, and looking ready to die (or, possibly, kill someone).

      • Colin Mattson

        As much as I hated lugging my Mac Pro in for services, it was great at getting doors opened. If empathy didn’t get someone, the “I swear to God I will END YOU” look did.

    • Sakes People Finder

      google Mac Pro

  • joemako

    “Like they’re just stringing together random syllables”

    made me think of Joe Rogan’s rant: “Devolution Of Stupid People”

  • jimsilverman

    if these are the types of things that make you mad, you should reconsider your priorities.

    • Peter Cohen

      I would have been very disappointed if someone hadn’t been sanctimonious within a few minutes of my posting this.

      • jimsilverman

        oh my mistake, didn’t realize this was pure link-bait.

        • Peter Cohen

          OK, a) you’re being a dick; and

          b) I think you’re missing the humor of the piece, which is readily apparent to me. But I am the author.

          I admit that the Internet sometimes turns people a bit autistic. For all know, maybe you are autistic. I’m not sure.

          If I was authentically angry, the tone of this piece would have been very, very different. And I certainly would have used a different graphic than the “Rage Face,” which is more often than not used to connote mock rage, not legitimate anger.

          Now that I’ve completely taken the piss out of my own piece by explaining to you, all I have to say is LIGHTEN. THE FUCK. UP.

          • jimsilverman

            ok, so now we’re offending stroke and aphasia victims, the autistic, AND all of your customers. top notch stuff keep it up.

          • good thing he didn’t mention people with a stick up their butt or you’d be PISSED.

          • Moeskido

            Steve, you’re on a roll today. Whichever coffee you switched to, stay with that brand, okay?

          • Peter Cohen

            We’re done here, asshole.

    • Hyperbole. Look it up.

      It’s mildly irritating and repeated over and over, so we say it makes us mad.

      Of course, it eventually really does make us mad. As do stupid comments about how we can’t have our emotions or have to justify them to some shit on the Internet.

      • jimsilverman

        fair enough.

        you get irritated over people getting names of apple products wrong, i get irritated over people deifying brands.

        • Moeskido

          Can I call you “Steve”? It’s just a word I’ll use because I don’t ordinarily pay attention to what things are actually called enough to communicate clearly about them.


          • Hey, can you use some other example name? Thanks. 🙂

          • Moeskido

            Oh, Steven. That other Steve doesn’t think naming things is important.

            I’ll bet he has way more buddies who write Linux device drivers than you do.

          • I hope they believe in correctness more than he does, then. I have a server somewhere than runs Linux. I think.

          • Oh, sure. Pull put your Stevocentric world-view and lord it over us like a digital cudgel. We know your type!

        • Lucas Gladding

          Have you ever built something with someone who didn’t know their screwdrivers? Same thing. For someone working with Apple products, it’s frustrating when users can’t describe what they have. It makes sales/support difficult; it has nothing to do with deifying a brand.

          • jimsilverman

            besides “this stupid thing that stopped working,” none of the names listed are ambiguous in the context of an Apple store.

          • Moeskido

            He’s still arguing, folks. Let’s give Steve a hand!

          • Hey, I’ll always accept a round of applause. Even if it’s a slow clap intended for someone else.

          • Moeskido

            Sure! Who needs to be specific, anyway?!

          • Lucas Gladding

            You need to re-read the list then. Calling a MacBook Pro a Mac Pro is confusing, as is calling it a PowerBook Pro. Mac AirBook Pro could be any thin MacBook Pro. An iPad mini touch could be an iPad mini or an iPod touch. As others have said, some people call everything from Apple an iMac or iPod, and those could have also been included on the list.

        • You somehow go from “call things by the right name” to “brand is god”?

          Issues. That’s all. Issues.

          • Thinking like a light switch is quite a common trait among tone trolls.

          • Yeah, this is an Apple-focused list, but I have to say that people calling a Surface RT a Surface Pro, or a SurfacePad, annoys me just as much. Or the person that called their Kindle Fire an Amazon TouchPad. Or countless others. I love this list because I do think people should call things by their proper names, no matter what company, person, government or cooperative made them.

          • Absolutely!

            On the other hand, I fully sympathize with people who get the capitalization wrong. Except of course for MAC. Because that mistake requires extra effort.

    • Yeah, because normally Peter’s contributions to The Loop consist of transcribed C-SPAN filibusters, dating guides and hour long videos on pan flute cleaning.

  • I saw a talk at a professional conference by a college professor who called them “iPodiTouches” throughout the entire hour-long presentation.

    • Awesome. Did people snigger?

      • depressingly no. I might have been the only developer in the audience who would have noticed the distinction.

  • Ryan Simmons

    I often hear ‘iMac Pro’ for the MacBook Pro and iMac for MacBooks in general. They seem to think every Apple product name begins with ‘i’.

  • That “iPad” is being used generically is a clear sign of its success.

  • lkalliance

    “iTouch” is the only one you list that I hear all the time, and it does irk me. It goes along with “I could care less” and “very unique”.

    None of these things is a major annoyance…but a small annoyance experienced over and over and over and over and over…adds up.

  • CoreyTamas

    Another common thing is people referring to the entire company as “Mac.” I hear that a lot.

    • Peter Cohen

      Yep. Whenever they say it, I visualize it in all caps, which makes it worse.

      • CoreyTamas

        I usually reply with “Why? Are you looking for makeup?”

  • MarCow

    This is a bit of a nit pick, but the Cape Mac home page at lists “Macbook” instead of “MacBook” in the headings…

  • GeneralmotorsGravytrain

    iTouch this and iTouch that. iTouch myself. So wonderful.

  • Duh

    I call my iMac, my Mac, I call my MacPro my Mac I call my Macbook, my laptop, I call my iPhone, my phone, I don’t call my iPad anything cause I don’t have one.

  • Mother Hydra

    I love the tone and subject matter of this article. Thank you!

  • timstahmer

    Lots of people I work with write me questions about the MAC, as if Mac must be an acronym for something.

    And then there are those who make reference to the iPad running Mac software as if the two devices use the same OS.

    • Moeskido

      It is an acronym for something. And a disappointingly high number IT people I’ve corresponded with over the years weren’t able to tell the difference.

  • Moeskido

    I imagine many of the customers who walked into that store and said those things are also the sort of colleagues and clients who’ve emailed me asking questions like “Do you have Adobe?”

  • thirdopticaltool

    The IT department where I work always refers to Mail on OS X as “MacMail” …gets my goat, not sure why exactly.

    • Moeskido

      Because it’s special. It uses different kinds of electrons that slow down their network.

    • Geoff Waller

      That’s what I call it. Calling it just Mail would be confusing, especially when dealing with end users. Adding Mac to the front just makes things clearer. Would you prefer iMail? Keep in mind that when you ask the average person who their ISP is or which browser they use, you will get responses like Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, and my favorite – Foxfire.

  • “Mac laptop” – not too bad. It is a Mac. It is a laptop. So long as it’s a generic label, and “laptop” is not capitalized, I consider it proper usage.

    It seems lots of companies that provide apps have used “iTouch” to refer to the iPod Touch.

    Combined with the mythical “iWatch” it would make the Apple product line sound like they were selling gear for Peeping Toms.

  • Bernardo
    • Ben Lacy

      This is like when people refer to Acrobat Reader as simply, “Adobe”.

    • Moeskido

      That was painful.

  • My son calls every tablet an iPad.

  • Vera Comment

    I hear people saying they’re going to “the Mac store” all the time. Annoying as hell.

    My sister loves her AirBook.

  • I hear proles call it “iTouch” all the time, and it is things like that which will lead to my bloody rampage of murder and suicide by cop.

  • johndhynes

    My wife calls our iPad 2 “the machine”, like it’s the only machine we have, or sometimes iPad Touch. Her Shuffle was “the gizmo”.

    • Drop “geegaw” into a casual conversation and see what modern gizmo get’s saddled with that term.

  • UnLaoised

    My three-year-old son used to call our iPod touch “the piePod” And my iPhone? “Daddy’s piePodPhone”

    Incidentally, his Mum always called the iPod touch “the iTouch”. After years of trying to correct her, I have given up.

    • Peter Cohen

      Upvoted because I like pie.

      • UnLaoised

        Thank you, Peter 🙂

  • Jay

    “Oh no, i have a regular computer” or “I have a normal computer” Pisses me off to no end.

  • Oluseyi

    Perhaps the frequency with which people mis-label Apple products is a reflection of the fact that they’re awkwardly named? A computer company named Apple; a computer named after a variety of apple (McIntosh), but the other named after a girl (Lisa); computers named by prepending and appending letters or word fragments (iMac, Macbook)…

    Nobody gets iPhone wrong, or iPad as pointed out. Nobody got iPod wrong, but “iPod touch” is back to the appending/prepending thing again. I’d say people didn’t get PowerBooks and PowerMacs wrong, but I’d also say that there weren’t as many non-enthusiasts buying Apple products then. Their names do follow “hype-based nomenclature for tech products” more closely, though 😛

    If having people correctly remember their product names was important, Apple probably would have revamped their naming scheme by now. I think they rely on the clear differentiation instead, so that even imprecise descriptives unmistakably refer to specific devices.

    Just a thought.

    • Peter Cohen

      Yeah, it’s an exercise in understanding branding. And it makes me wonder if Apple goes up its own butt with branding sometimes.

      Take the ubiquity of “iTouch” for example. More customers than not call the iPod touch an “iTouch.” Which makes me believe Apple lost a great branding opportunity by grafting the “iPod” moniker onto it. After all, it’s fundamentally closer in operation to an iPhone or an iPad than an iPod. None of the other iPods – the nano, the shuffle, the Classic – run iOS.

      • Oluseyi

        Yep. The compound naming thing is a recipe for confusion.

        iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iPad. Airbook, Macbook, Probook. iMac, Mac, Pro*.

        Eh, we’ll live, and they’re making so much money despite confusing naming that it clearly doesn’t matter. The products are distinct enough that people can DESCRIBE what they want and nobody’s confused, which is probably more important.

        [*The least satisfying category of names]

    • GFYantiapplezealots

      I think they have the BEST computer names. And it’s yet another thing that everyone copies. Chromebook, Zenbook, ATIV book, Kirabook, etc.

      • Oluseyi

        You’re overlooking the fact that “Macbook” is just a weaker derivative of “iBook” and “Powerbook,” which people NEVER got wrong. It used to be simple: an “i” prefix indicated a consumer-level computer, a “Power” prefix indicated a professional/prosumer computer, while the “book” suffix indicated a portable. iMac, iBook; PowerMac, PowerBook. Sure, there was stuff like the Mac Cube, but nobody bought those anyway 🙂

        I don’t think competitors are aping Apple’s computer names because the names are great, but because their brand qualities are so desirable and resonant that echoing them hopefully casts a positive light.

  • mattack1

    So you correct all of them, right????

    • Peter Cohen

      Oh, hell no. But I do grade on originality.

  • BD

    In my mind, calling it a “PowerBook” is a badge of honor. You’ve been around a long time, including the dark years.

    • That’s great if it’s because you’re too damn cantankerous to change, but less great if you’re just ignorant. 🙂

  • Oh…forgot one. My son (8), the first time I let him explore on my ChromeBook Pixel, wasn’t using the touch screen so I showed him by scrolling through touch.

    He exclaimed “OH! It’s an iPad!!” Me: “No son, it’s a ChromeBook.” lol.

  • stevenjklein

    It used to bother me when people pronounce OS X as “Oh Es Ex” instead of “Oh Es Ten.” But in retrospect, since the vast majority of users get it wrong, I think Apple made a mistake in naming it.

    Perhaps Apple should change the official pronunciation to match what most users already say?

    • I think they did; To my recollection (probably wrong), I haven’t seen anyone from Apple call it Ten from the stage in a while.

      • stevenjklein

        I’ve never heard anyone from Apple call it anything other than “ten.” See, for example, the WWDC 2013 Keynote, where Tim Cook says (at 16:58) “Today we want to talk to you about what we’re doing with O S ten.”

        Then Craig Federighi comes on stage and says (at 17:15) “Let’s talk about O S ten.”

        Even the guys at the local Apple store are always careful to call it “O S ten,” though of course they don’t correct customers who call it “O S X.”

  • winstonsmith39

    People who say Apple Mac. After almost 30 years, I think Mac should do. If people don’t know what Mac means by now, they never will.

  • Billy Razzle

    My niece called the current iPod Touch the iPod 5. I told her there was no such thing as an “iPod 5” and she said that’s what everyone at her school calls it. Of course she’s only ten.

    • Geoff Waller

      “iPod Touch – 5th Generation” just takes too long to say, especially for kids. I think that’s a reasonable way to refer to it, and probably what Apple should have used in the first place.

      • Billy Razzle

        Except that they’re not shortening the name, they think that’s actually what it’s called. Also, you don’t call it an “iPod Touch – 5th Generation”. You call it an iPod Touch because that’s its name. It’s just an iPod Touch.

        Just like you didn’t say “I just bought a new third generation iPod”. You just said “I bought a new iPod”.

        • Geoff Waller

          It’s a logical progression. “I have an iPod Touch,” will inevitably lead to the question, “Which one?” Same goes for the iPhone and the iPad. They’re used to hearing the device name followed by a number. Just because Apple doesn’t officially endorse that designation is no reason not to refer to our devices by a more descriptive label. If you said, “I bought a New iPad,” most people would assume you have the iPad 4. However, the correct name of the 3 is New iPad. Similarly, the 4th gen iPod Touch can still be purchased from retail stores, so the number designation is relevant.

  • Savas Petrakis

    Well it only gets worse when dealing with PC users with an apparent hardware problem.

    “What type of computer do you have?”

    “A laptop”

    “And what brand is your laptop?”

    “It’s a Windows laptop”