Twelve South Blog

The Twelve: Apple Only Vocabulary Edition

Inspired by the introduction of Apple's new word "slofie", this edition of The Twelve explores the invented or adopted terms that Apple has injected into our everyday language, for better or worse!

The Twelve: Apple Only Vocabulary Edition

Inspired by the introduction of Apple's new word "slofie", this edition of The Twelve explores the invented or adopted terms that Apple has injected into our everyday language, for better or worse!

 Photo by Alex Machado on Unsplash

 Here at Twelve South, we know how challenging the process of naming your inventions can be. It's fun, challenging, exciting, and even infuriating at times. For us, it's a team effort - brainstorming around the coffee machine, petitioning for ideas in a group email, even postponing happy hour until a decision is made 😱 (just kidding, that's when the best ideas happen).  

Although we don't have insight into Apple's process for inventing names, its clear that a similar spirit of ingenuity prevails. Here are a few of our favorite "Apple only" phrases and words. 

Genius Bar
Before Apple, a genius referred to someone on the level of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, or Edith Stern. While Apple may have redefined who qualifies as a genius, they certainly made them more accessible in this way. The Genius Bar isn't just for crisis situations and troubleshooting. Apple Today offers tons of classes on things like photography, video editing and sound mixing - all available at your local Apple Store!

Steve Jobs allegedly wasn't a fan of the name Siri originally. However, its Norse meaning, "beautiful woman who leads you to victory", seems appropriate for a virtual assistant who will *hopefully* guide you to the knowledge you desire. Wondering how miles it is from Earth to the moon? Ask Siri. Want to know who won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1996? Ask Siri. Need a compliment? Ask Siri. 

AirDrop evokes the imagery of little packages being delivered via parachutes, floating down from a great jet engine. Therefore it is an appropriate term for the function of "AirDropping" someone a file or image via Bluetooth. There may not be any parachutes involved but it's plenty cool and incredibly useful.

By now, we're all accustomed to storing things using iCloud but as some of us may recall, "The Cloud" was a source of much bewilderment when it was first released. Where is the information held? Is it safe? How in the heck do I access it? It was even the plot line for a certain film starring Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. Be sure to brush up on how to use iCloud to avoid a similar fate. 

Although the true inspiration for the name isn't confirmed, it would make sense for Apple to choose the title of Thunderbolt for their displays in order to elude to their lightning speed. We love a metaphor!

Time Machine 
This one is a bit obvious but we love the visual of going back in the Time Machine. Marty McFly would definitely approve.....maybe it was even his idea.....

Bluetooth = Magic
Apple has taken to naming its Bluetooth accessories "Magic" i.e Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. While they're probably not going to fly you on a magic carpet ride, its certainly more fun than the basic "wireless" or "bluetooth" moniker. 

Spinning Wheel of Death
It may not be Apple's proudest accomplishment and they certainly didn't coin the term, but The Spinning Wheel of Death is something that every Mac users can identify without fail. Also known as the Spinning Beach Ball of Death or the Spinning Pinwheel of Death, the disdain is apparent no matter what you choose to call it. 

Picture it. September 16, 2016. You receive your new iPhone 7 and eagerly unwrap the contents. While you were probably already aware of the loss of the headphone jack, you may not have known what recourse would be available for those not willing or able to join the world of wireless headphones. Enter "The Dongle". While this word was not invented by Apple, the removal of the headphone jack certainly propelled this unusual term into the common vernacular. Now there's a dongle for practically everything. So many, in fact, that we created our own case to carry them all

The cool new restaurant in town? The eye on the stovetop? An uncomfortable flareup? No! In AppleLand a Hotspot is used to create your own personal Wi-Fi connection. This comes in handy when your Wi-Fi is spotty or when your friend  has reached their data limit and needs an assist. 

Haptic touch
Be honest. How many of us knew the definition of "haptic" before the word showed up in our iPhone settings? Haptic touch is a unique feature that refers to the vibrations or pulses your iPhone emits in response to certain events, such as submitting a form or receiving an email. It has recently become a bit of a touchy subject 😏 because Apple discontinued this feature with the release of the new iPhone 11/Pro. 

Apple's latest iPhone release came with a ton of exciting upgrades but the most important of them all has to be the introduction of the Slofie. And yes, it's exactly what you think. A slow motion selfie. You may be asking yourself, "why?". But the more important question is "why not?".