I'd like opinions on the use of articles with product names.

It seems to have become a fashion in recent years to omit the article (“the”, "a", "an") before the name of a product – I noticed it first on Apple products. (“You should know that iPad is made of plastic, unobtanium and a little piece of Steve Jobs’ soul”).

I made that up, but Google found these in Apple's documentation:

"Before using iPhone, review the iPhone User Guide"

"To use iPod classic, you put music, videos, photos, and other files on your computer and then add them to iPod classic."

"If you connect iPod classic to a different computer..."

In each case I'd have written "the iPhone" or "the iPod" or "an iPod".

Does anybody know if this is anything more than an affectation? Is it the result of a ruling on trademarks or something? Or has the language changed while I wasn’t paying attention? (I'm a native English speaker in late middle age.)

  • You state that it has become a fashion, but you only list Apple products. Any other examples?
    – Řídící
    Feb 12, 2021 at 17:24
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    Notice that with media (far less concrete, of course) this took place many years ago. "Art on the BBC" often → "Art on BBC". Feb 12, 2021 at 17:24
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  • @Ridici Apple seems to be the most common and consistent offender, but per Edwin Ashworth, others use it too. Feb 12, 2021 at 17:32
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    We say I heard the news on the radio, but there's no article before the relevant hardware in I saw the news on TV. But idiomatically, everyone knows that in normal conversation we'd all normally say Do you have an iPod / iPhone / iMac. The reason for the cited "non-standard" usage is simply that it was written by people in the Apple Marketing Department. They know the same as everyone else about "expected" syntax here, but they also know that if they "bend the rules", they can sucker us into attaching more "gravitas" to the article-less products. Feb 12, 2021 at 17:35


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