Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mac's Trouble With Titles

First of all, I wasn't even aware there was already a Macintosh Operating System called "Leopard," let alone the new, even clunkier-sounding "Snow Leopard." This just seems out-of-character for Mac. I understand that they'd want to get away from simply numbering each of their new OS's and try something with a bit more zing, but I think giving them animal names is not a step in the right direction. I imagine they must be trying to evoke some kind of instinctual consumer response.

Some people hear "Leopard" and they think "fast," or "elegant," so in that most basic sense, it might be seen as an effective title.

But when I heard it, my first thought was an elementary school kid pretending he owns a big software company. His favorite animal is a leopard, so he goes up to his dad and tells him about his new make-believe OS (the kid probably doesn't even know what it stands for, but maybe his dad's a software engineer so he hears it around the house a lot) and says it's called "Leopard."

"Why Leopard?" asks Dad.

"Cuz leopards are cool and they're the fastest mammals on earth."

"Actually, cheetahs are the fastest. Why don't you call it Cheetah?"

The kid thinks it over a moment, and his eyes widen in excitement.

"... Yeah. Cool! Thanks, Dad!" the kid exclaims, and runs to his bedroom to draw a cheetah.

Then the Dad goes to work the next day and presents his idea for the new Mac OS title - Leopard - because he's a lazy thinker and stole the idea from his eight- or nine-year old son.

This is just an unnecessarily elaborate way of saying that I think the Snow Leopard title sounds really childish and totally unrelated to anything Macintosh. Maybe it's just me. I mean, I'm by no means knowledgeable when it comes to computer software and hardware. Nor am I more partial to Windows than Mac or vice-versa. I'm approaching this purely from a marketing perspective. For example, I think Windows recent OS, Vista, has a classy and appropriately innocuous title. Corporate-sounding, but just provocative enough to evoke some immediate feelings of peace and beauty.

Too bad that has nothing to do with how Vista actually functions.

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