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Name Fragmentation

I didn’t think this would bug me but Apple’s naming conventions for devices has really gone on a tangent. During today’s iPhone event, one of the presentation slides detailed which devices will support iOS6 (not displayed are the iPhone 5 and iPod touch 5th generation):

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4

iPhone 3GS

The new iPad

iPad 2

iPod touch (4th generation)

See that? The first 3 seem ok before it gets to the iPad.

What’s a little confusing is that the iPhone 5 is the sixth iPhone. If we’re to believe it’s truly the “fifth generation” iPhone then that means either the iPhone 4 and 4S or the iPhone 3G and 3GS are the same generation. But which one is it? The 4S and 3GS had similar improvements to the 4 and 3G respectively. The S series for both introduced a method of voice control not found in the previous model, a faster processor and a better camera. If that is the case, then the iPhone 5 is the “fourth generation”, skewing the naming again.

That wasn’t the only naming that’s bugging me. The new iPod touch and iPhone 5 ship with an all new “iSight camera”. Apple started using the name since the 4S. Before then, iSight was the name used for the built-in Mac camera since the launch of the updated iMac G5 in 2005 (even before then, it was the name of Apple’s very expensive FireWire camera). Since the advent of FaceTime with Lion and higher resolution cameras built into the Mac, Apple has since been calling the iSight camera “FaceTime HD”.

Just calling it the Camera like the iPhone did would’ve been enough. I don’t see the reason they had to a) name the camera in the first place and b) recycle a name that was dropped previously. I liked the name iSight and I still refer to the built-in camera on my Mac as such (I rarely use FaceTime on my Mac to remember to call it otherwise), but if you’re going to drop a feature or product name, keep it dropped.

Edit: As some wise folks have pointed out, iSight refers to the rear-facing camera and FaceTime HD refers to front-facing since the iPhone 4S.