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Ding, Dong, the iPhone 3GS Space Is Dead

Call me obsessive, call me retentive, but just don’t call me on an “iPhone 3G S,” since Apple has quietly started changing the new iPhone’s name to “iPhone 3GS,” removing the space before the trailing S.

As I said in “New iPhone 3GS Boosts Power, Performance, and More” (2009-06-08), “Technically, it’s ‘iPhone 3G S’ – with a space before the S – but those of us who spend our lives writing about these products have to draw the line somewhere, and a standalone S is untenable in running prose.” Aside from just looking awkward, a standalone S makes it even harder to form plurals and possessives than it would be with an S at the end of the word.

(One person on Twitter pointed out that “Mac OS X” should also suffer from the same problems, but it never set off my warning bells because X is such an unusual character, because it’s pronounced “ten,” and because the entire name is short enough to be read as a single unit.)

Although I subsequently caved to staff concerns about our articles looking incorrect in comparison with those from other publications, and we wrote around the awkward “iPhone 3G S” construction all last week, I was ecstatic to see this morning that not only had Apple started following my construction in the press release announcing the iPhone 3GS’s excellent initial sales, but that the company had also retroactively edited the press release announcing the iPhone 3GS to avoid the spaced-out name. For a few hours, that initial release’s headline link on the main Apple PR
still used the old name, but I now see that even that headline has been fixed.

I expect it will take some time before Apple can make this name change consistent across the entire site. For instance, a useful KnowledgeBase page that calls out which iPhone OS 3.0 features work on which iPhone models still uses the old name. That’s OK – I was mostly interested in guidance from Apple for those of us who are likely to be writing about the iPhone 3GS on a regular basis for the next few years. Plus, losing that space will make Ted Landau’s next edition of “Take Control of Your iPhone” shorter and less prone to awkward orphans.

I also don’t see Apple changing the graphical branding of the iPhone 3GS, which actually has the S using a different font style and in a box. It’s also worth noting that on the iPhone 3GS itself, the only identifying text at all says simply “iPhone”. I’m fine with that.

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