Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I, bat

An offbeat little observation wended into my mind last night and somehow stayed there till morning.

Apple has created a cultural icon out of "i." Stick that letter in front of any word—mac, pod, tunes, phone, pad—and you've conjured up a notion of digital elegance.

(Speaking of "icon," it's only a matter of time before Apple pins that on a product, co-opting the very word it so often embodies. The iCon—a handheld device that somehow uses technology to hoodwink people? Then again, some would argue that describes various gadgets they've already put out.)

But Apple wasn't the first to turn a single-syllable prefix into a boffo brand. I don't know who or what was the first, but Bill Finger did it more than 70 years ago. His "i" was "bat": Batcave, Batmobile, Batplane, Batcomputer, batarang. (While he didn't write the first story for every "bat" item, he is credited with creating the motif.)

Perhaps, eventually, the brands will join forces. What would an iBat be?

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