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Apple considered calling iPhone the ‘Telepod’, ‘Mobi’, ‘iPad’, or ‘Tripod’, former Apple ad man reveals


At an event at the University of Arizona’s Department of Marketing, former Apple advertising lead Ken Segall has shared some additional details into the naming behind Apple’s massively popular smartphone. While Apple ended up calling its industry-changing smartphone the “iPhone,” Apple considered a few other names.

Our own Scott Buscemi was on the ground at the event, and he has shared the details for this article. In addition to iPhone, Apple considered “Telepod,” “Mobi,” “Tripod,” and “iPad.” More details below:

  • Telepod:” According to Segall, Apple considered calling the device “Telepod” because it sounded like a futuristic twist to the word “telephone.” The “pod” part of the name also makes sense in context of Apple’s then-extraordinarily-popular iPod line of music players. Perhaps this name would have made more sense if Tony Fadell’s “iPod-phone” project beat out Scott Forstall’s OSX/iOS work. 
  • Mobi“: According to Segall, this potential name is a play on the word “mobile.” The shortened version of “Mobile” seems to be a creative name with a personality, according to Segall.
  • Tripod:” While this name did not win out, it did make a big impact on Apple’s original presentation and marketing for the iPhone. “Tripod” stems from the iPhone being a combination phone + iPod + internet communications device. Indeed, Apple heavily marketed the original iPhone as such. As we know today, with the App Store and other new Apple apps, the iPhone platform is so much more than just a phone, internet communicator, and media player.
  • iPad:” While the iPad ended up being the name for Apple’s tablet computer, that name was also under consideration for the smartphone. As the iPhone has much of the same functionality as the iPad that we know today, that name may have been sensible. This name also makes sense in terms of Apple’s iOS device development process: Steve Jobs previously revealed that Apple worked on the tablet before the phone, but ended up prioritizing the iPhone in its long-term product roadmap.

You will see “MicroMac” on the photo of the slide above, but Segall says that he made up that name specifically for this presentation in order to gauge the thoughts of the crowd. It was never a name under consideration.



When the iPhone first launched, its name was a bit controversial because Cisco owned the “IPHONE” trademark for its IP-based phone system. The two companies ended up striking a deal for both to use the name. As seen in Apple’s iPhone enterprise software support, Apple and Cisco ended up partnering up on projects as part of its “iPhone” name deal.

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