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Apple Watch or iWatch? How brand confusion can stick around

by | Mar 8, 2015 | Traditional Media

This afternoon, Apple will announce the final details for its first major new product category since the iPad.

Within the month the much-anticipated Apple Watch will hit stores and, depending on who you ask, it could either be Apple’s next big success — or biggest flop since the Newton.

In the run-up to the initial Apple Watch announcement in September, however, most of the tech press assumed the new device would follow Apple’s standard branding practice since Steve Jobs returned to the company. That is, everyone was already calling it the iWatch.

But then Apple announced the Apple Watch, throwing everyone for a loop. As shown below, almost no one guessed (or even mentioned) the “Apple Watch” name before the Sept. 9 event where it was unveiled.

Apple Watch or iWatch? How brand confusion can stick around

Unfortunately for Apple, the old name stuck around for a while. “iWatch” saw a huge spike the week the announcement was made, but what’s maybe even more interesting is that the term stuck around.

It’s tougher to see on the chart above, but the below visual shows a bit better just how persistent “iWatch” has been: The term accounted for 14 per cent of mentions in December, nearly six months after the original announcement.

And it accounted for 21 per cent of all mentions during the entire time period (including almost all mentions from July and August).

Apple Watch or iWatch? How brand confusion can stick around

With other Apple products such as Apple Pay seemingly taking on the new style of branding, it’ll be interesting to see how well Apple can transition from the “i” branding it’s done such a good job of pushing for so many years.

Scott McNeil

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