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iPhone Could Have Been ‘Mobi’ or ‘Telepod’

Archival photo. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- We knew the iPhone could have looked different, but what if it had never been called the iPhone at all? How about the Mobi, Telepod — or even iPad? This was the topic of discussion at a recent event at the University of Arizona’s Department of Marketing.

Ken Segall, a former advertising creative director with Apple, was the one who spilled the beans, according to 9to5Mac. Segall said that the eventual name “iPhone” was in the running from the start, but Cisco actually owned the trademark (IPHONE was the name of their Internet-connected phone system). While a deal was eventually reached to allow Apple the use of the iPhone name, Segall said other names were developed just in case.

The name Mobi, meant to be short for mobile, may have been a way to give the device some “personality,” according to Segall. TriPod was another option, which would have linked the device to Apple’s already popular iPod and convey its three main functions: “a music player, a phone, and [a browser for] the Internet.” TelePod was a possibility, again using the iPod branding, but this time with a simple “tele” prefix to signify telephone.

Segall also said that Apple considered calling the iPhone the iPad, which sounds crazy in 2013, but it’s now known that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had visions of a tablet-like device long before the idea of a phone.

Jeff Segall is probably best known for his work at Apple and Intel — he and his team were responsible for Apple’s “Think different” campaign — but the author of Insanely Simple also worked with Jobs at his ’80s-’90s computer company NeXT.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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