Proper punctuation can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. Why? Well, for argument sake, let’s examine the word “let’s”? In its conceptual definition, let’s (with an apostrophe) is simply a conjunction for “let us” as in, “let’s get going, right now!” Whereas, on the other hand, the base word “lets” (with no apostrophe) means to allow, authorize, or empower — as in “Jimmy always lets us play with his baseball.”
See what I mean? Two nearly identical words, given two completely different contextual applications — all because of a single little punctuation mark.
Yet in a similar, though perhaps understandably different sense, that coy little apostrophe is single-handedly responsible for a lot of headaches and confusion up in Silicon Valley, of all places! It seems as though there’s been a bit of uncertainty up at Apple’s Cupertino, California, campus, primarily in regards to the whole “iPhone” “iPhones” or “iPhone devices” debate.
So much confusion, in fact, that Apple’s own Senior Vice President of worldwide sales and marketing, Phil Schiller, blasted out a Twitter post on Friday that, well, could have possibly put the speculation to rest, once and for all.
According to Schiller’s apparently aggravated Tweet, when multiple Apple products are in question — such as two or three iPhones, for instance, they should always be referred to without the use of pluralization. For example, the plural of “iPhone” would also just be “iPhone,” or for the technical type, “iPhone devices.”
“It would be proper to say ‘I have 3 Macintosh’ or ‘I have 3 Macintosh computers,’” Schiller said.
Such sound, grammatical judgment might seem more obvious to some than others, but either way, it’s apparent that the issue has caused some loose ends up in Cupertino to hit the fritz — which explains why Schiller decided to hit the airwaves in order to set the record straight.
“So,” you might be asking yourself, “what on Earth caused ol’ Phil Schiller to lose his cool so suddenly, anyways?”
Well, apparently the Tweet was sent out in response to a previous Tweet from fellow user, Andreessen Horowitz partner, analyst, and longtime Apple terminology connoisseur, Benedict Evans. So the story goes, earlier that same day, Evans apparently Tweeted the phrase “iPads Pro,” which we think could have either been the result of a minor typing error, or an all-out brain fart. Or possibly something in between?
Even still, the issue was intensified all the more by Apple CEO, Tim Cook’s, phrasing of the words iPhone and iPad Pro, as “iPhones” and “iPad Pros” during Apple’s Q2 conference call last week. However, Cook and company’s use of words have actually been an ongoing, far-reaching issue of contention at Apple for several years now.
So I suppose that’s how it is and how it’s always been. At the least, the next time you pick up more than one iPhone, you can confidently assure anyone who asks that, yes, indeed you did just purchase these “iPhone devices.”
What do you think about Schiller’s apparent lashing out on Twitter?
Does Apple’s pluralization rules make much sense to you? Let us know in the comments.