Apple will no longer make “iProducts”

For years now, consumers have become accustomed to Apple's "iFamily" of devices, from the iPod to iPhone. When first introduced, it was a genius branding technique that summed up an entire product line and made the company innovative.

However, the newer Apple devices recently announced show an interesting change: They have no "i" in front of them. Instead, these devices, unveiled at a hotly anticipated launch event this week, use the company name. For example, the upcoming smart watch is called the "Apple Watch" instead of the "iWatch."

Will this mean a change in how customers perceive Apple's brand? Do smaller businesses need to follow suit when adjusting POP signs that advertise their stores? Part of the brilliance of the "i" strategy was the way it marked products without relying on the full company name.

Writing for Mashable, Todd Wasserman notes some possible benefits of the change. First of all, the company is actually incorporating the apple logo into the name instead of spelling out the word "Apple," increasing the presence of its unique imagery.

Moreso, Wasserman says that the "i" has not always been a part of every facet of Apple, and these days is more of a throwback to the days when it used to stand for "internet." Getting rid of it could signal a new era for the brand and entice more users.

"The moniker came about in the first dot-com era, when IBM was touting its e-business," Wasserman writes. "That roughly coincided with eToys, eBay and E*Trade, to name a few." He adds that "since the convention stretches back 16 years or so now, it's a bit hoary to some."

Businesses that want to change their store window graphics need to think long term about how to incorporate their logo into an accessible, distinct design.