There are so many wrong things about the branding of MobileMe, Apple’s latest product announcement, that it’s distracting me from seeing how good it could be.
From .Mac to MobileMe
First, the name. MobileMe is a new spin on .Mac, but its new name shows clear focus—mobile. Okay, fair enough, but it’s like no effort was put into coming up with the name. Apple is supposed to be hipper than that. MobileMe has this bad dot-com naming vibe surrounding it. You know, all those names filled with pronouns (I, me, my, you, your, we, our) that stroke the ego.
Then again, Apple is the poster child for that naming strategy. But they could have gone the tried-and-tested “iRoute”. From iMac to iTunes to iPhone, why stop prepending i’s now?
Me vs. ME
Here’s something more disturbing. Why does the MobileMe logo look so strikingly similar to that of Windows ME?
Whether or not this is a coincidence, Apple should be criticized for allowing itself to be associated with an operating system people considered crappy. It’s the last thing you want to do when building your brand.
For those who want to defend Apple by saying “but the handwritten me of MobileMe does not look like the one on Windows ME, it looks better”, I’m not hearing you. They still look too much alike.
Microsoft is too much of Apple’s competition to have this similarity. If Apple drew inspiration from, say, Starbucks, Disney, or Nike, we probably wouldn’t mind—except that you’d think Apple had enough creativity to do more groundbreaking design to take a cue from someone else. Since when does this company listen to anyone else? If Apple is doing this on purpose, then it’s an even lower blow.
Any designer worth his salt would not want to be mistaken for plagiarizing something, much less something not worth copying in the first place.
Attention to detail, lost
No matter how you look at it, the choices made with MobileMe’s branding just aren’t right. They’re sloppy at best. Apple is known to pay painstaking attention to detail, but I can’t see it with MobileMe.