I have a Motorola Razr. It’s a lousy, generic cell phone that I hate.

I call it my “phone”. Like, if I’m looking for the recharger, I say “Darn it, where did I put the charger for my phone?”. I do not say “Darn it, where did I put the charger for my Razr?”. In fact it would sound really weird if I said “where did I put the charger for my Razr?”. It would sound like I was in a commercial or something.

I would guess that most people call their phone a “phone”.

Except for Apple iPhone users. They always call it an “iPhone”. Even if they’re in a hurry. “Darn it, where did I put the charger for my iPhone?”. They never just call it a “phone”.

You see what Apple did there? They somehow convinced us all on a subconscious level that their phone is so different from all other phones that it’s in a category all by itself. Whatever they did, it worked so well that we always refer to their product by its full brand name and not by the short generic term.

Nobody calls an iPod anything but an “iPod”, either. Apple’s been doing this ever since they convinced us that a Mac was somehow in a category of its own, and not just an overpriced high-end PC with a better operating system that was incompatible with everything else (…, he typed on his MacBook Pro.)

Sometimes this kind of thing works too well, and backfires. Like, Sony got everybody to call their Walkman a “Walkman”; but to Sony’s chagrin, we started calling every other portable tape player a “Walkman” too. It became a generic term. But that doesn’t seem to happen with Apple’s stuff. Apple has somehow imprinted their brand identification into our very language. That’s a pretty scary level of marketing savvy, bordering on hypnosis. How do they do that?