iPhone, Tesla, Memes & More – How These ‘I can’t live without’ ideas were named

If you build it they will come, but give it a bad name and they might pass on it. They being an American consumer.

There are things that most of us take for granted, like the existence of mobile phones, or tiny computers that tell us it’s 80 degrees currently in San Fransisco, Californa. We’ve used these relatively new devices so much that the device itself, and the given name is intertwined and ingrained into our heads. For instance, an iPhone is, well, an iPhone. Most of us immediately think of a little hand held device that knocks out the task of what use to take umpteen separate devices to complete. Ok, maybe most of us immediately think of a tiny little iPad in the palm of their hands. The point being, the name is married to the device.

But, imagine a world where the iPhone, was called a ‘Tripod’, or a ‘Mobi’. Would it still be as ‘cool’? Would it still have the same modern bending affects that it had and currently has?

It’s interesting to think about how much impact a name can have, but also, how insignificant a name can really be. Below are 5 names, that represent the new technologies of our modern world, and how the name came to be.

Apple’s iPhone

It’s difficult to imagine the iPhone being named anything other than the iPhone. This might mean that Apple made the right decision when decided against these names:

Telepod, Mobi, Tripod, & iPad.

It’s even more difficult to imagine the iPad being named anything other than the iPad! Creators wanted a name that was futuristic and fully captures all that the iPhone is capable of – a tall order task.

Telepod, they thought, was a good twist to the old word telephone. Mobi came from the word mobile. And Tripod captured the capabilities the phone would have (ipod + internet communications device).

Sources: information & image


Although Elon Musk and Tesla come hand in hand, the name, ‘Tesla’, was established before he entered the picture. The name came from the original kick starters who wanted a name that would set it apart from the current industries attitude towards electric cars.

“It couldn’t sound overly ecological. One of the reasons that GM’s EV-1 electric car failed is that it couldn’t escape from the green ghetto.

It couldn’t sound too engineer-focused, either, he thought — any Leaves, Volts, or Bolts would have to be set aside.

It had to sound like a car company, not another Silicon Valley startup.”


Their light-bulb flickered on when the name ‘Tesla’ was pitched. Nikola Tesla was the creator of the induction motor and alternating-current (AC) power transmission, a motor that the electric vehicle company intended to use.

Sources: information & image

Amazon Alexa

With a single word, an Amazon Alexa is at your digital disposal. A single word that awakens the device to answer or entertain you upon command. It makes sense, then, that the Alexa pursuit was inspired, in part, by a computer in Star Trek. In Star Trek, the trigger word was ‘computer’.

Creators searched for a word that would be unique and symbolic as well. A word that had soft vowels and an x. Alexa fit the criteria, also, it is symbolic of the Library of Alexandria, which was meant to be the ‘headquarters’ for knowledge in ancient times.

Sources: information & image



Before ‘our’ Facebook came along, the already existing word stood for something similar, accept, non-digital. The original name was used for a literal directory book, typically dispersed to college students, where the book can be used to look up pictures and names. The purpose of this book was to encourage students to ‘get to know each other’. Sound familiar? Today’s Facebook simply digitized this pursuit, while snacking on digital steroids along the way.

Sources: information & image

Last, but not least…


Understanding a meme feels like that moment you have with your best friend. Where you both look at each other and snicker at an inside joke, no speaking necessary.

The word Meme was a word coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He was searching for a word that represented the phenomenon of ideas influencing culture. Such as our DNA being passed on from mother to child, how are ideas (being passed on from one person to the next) influencing our culture? It’s a perfect mash up of words and images, coming together to represent a familiar or trending topic that a group of people can relate to or understand.

Sources: information & source

Now imagine if the items on the list were named differently. Your attitude and or opinions about them may be entirely different from what they currently are. How differently would you think? Leave us a comment below.


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