Low End Mac’s Brand and Spelling Guide

A style guide is where you turn when you’re not sure how to spell, capitalize, or punctuate a word or name. This is presented as a public service to Mac webmasters, who should feel free to contribute additions and suggest changes.

We do try to avoid use of all caps company names, such as NVIDIA, unless it’s an abbreviation, such as ATI. “…generally we’ll go with the company preference, unless it’s really bizarre.”

The following are adapted from Engadget’s style guide:

  1. Intercapped product and company names should generally be treated as the company treats them unless it’s egregious and/or looks weird. Example: iPhone stays iPhone, BlackBerry stays BlackBerry, and TiVo stays TiVo, but ASUSTeK becomes Asustek. This rule is subject to many exceptions based on usage and history, and also functions as the “this is stupid” loophole.
  2. Product and company names that are regular English words will be treated like proper English nouns, complete with proper capitalization. Example: DROID becomes Droid and nook becomes Nook. In cases such as iPod touch, iPod nano, Mac mini, etc., usage should follow company convention when the two words are used together, but when only the second word is used to identify the product, it should be capitalized (e.g., Touch, Nano, Mini, etc.) to avoid potential confusion. Also, the informal (and incorrect) iTouch is allowed as shorthand for the iPod touch.
  3. Product and company names that are not regular English words will be capitalized first as proper nouns, and then as the company treats them. Example: RAZR stays RAZR, but chumby would become Chumby.
  4. Acronyms should obviously be in all-caps.

We are preparing a separate guide covering usage of American and International English.

Product Names

  • Apple TV, always include a space. We don’t use the Apple logo in the name.
  • AltiVec, Freestyle’s trademarked brand name for the “velocity engine” in G4 CPUs.
  • CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD-ROM: always include the hyphen.
  • Combo drive, always capitalize Combo, even though it’s not a trademark or brand name, as we treat is as the proper name for a certain type of optical drive: CD-RW/DVD-ROM. Never run together as a single word.
  • Core 2, no space between Core and 2. Space between Core 2 and Duo or Solo.
  • disc, proper for oprical discs – CD, DVD, and Blu-ray – but not for hard disk or floppy disk.
  • disk, preferred over disc for floppy disk and hard disk, but CD should be compact disc. We prefer “hard drive” to “hard disk”.
  • DIMM, DIMMs, a type of memory module. Note the lower case “s” at the end of the plural.
  • eMac, the 17″ CRT version of the old CRT iMac
  • email is displacing e-mail, which displaced E-mail. We standardized on email years and years ago.
  • FireWire, Apple’s brand name for IEEE-1394
  • Freescale, formerly Motorola’s semiconductor division. The “S” is not capitalized.
  • GB (gigabytes), both letters capitalized, used with leading space (e.g., 4 GB)
  • GHz, gigahertz. Never Ghz, gHz, or ghz. Used with a leading space (1.8 GHz). Hertz is a proper noun.
  • gig or gigs, short for gigabytes, discouraged
  • Hertz, Hz with leading space (e.g. 60 Hz)
  • hard drive, sometimes abbreviated HD or HDD, although we discourage that. At Low End Mac, the rule is to spell outhard drive whenever possible. Exception: discussing a computer with a list of specs, such as Power Mac 7500/132, 32 MB RAM, 1.2 GB HD, etc.
  • iBook, iMac, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iMovie, etc. the first letter is never capitalized. Some publications do that – it looks ugly.
  • iCEO, former title of Steve Jobs.
  • i.Link, Sony’s brand name for its implementation of the IEEE-1394 (FireWire) standard, sometimes seen as iLink or i.LINK.
  • iPod mini, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod touch, Apple’s official spelling with first letter of second word in lowercase. When you are only using the second part of the name (e.g., Touch), it should be capitalized.
  • kilobits, Kb or kb
  • kilobytes, KB with a leading space, sometimes K without a leading space as in 400K and 800K floppies
  • KHz, kilohertz. Never kHz, khz, or Khz. Used with a leading space (100 KHz). Hertz is a proper noun.
  • mAh (milliamp/hour), Only A for Amp capitalized, used with leading space (e.g., 4200 mAh)
  • MacBook, the “B” is always capitalized
  • Mac Pro, two separate words, never run together
  • Mac mini, lowercase “m” always used for Mac mini, but when referring to it without Mac capitalize Mini.
  • maxed, as in “maxed out”, and maxing, as in “maxing RAM”. Sometimes seen with double-x, but over 90% of Web content spells it with one x. So do we.
  • Mb (megabits), the M is always capitalized, the b lower-case to represent bits (vs. bytes), should have a leading space.
  • MB (megabytes), both letters capitalized, since upper-case B represents bytes (vs. bits), used with leading space (e.g. 64 MB)
  • MHz, megahertz. Never mhz, Mhz, or mHz. Used with a leading space (400 MHz). Hertz is a proper noun.
  • meg or megs, short for megabytes, discouraged
  • Microsoft, never MicroSoft, and it hasn’t been Micro-Soft since the 1970s. Please avoid Micro$oft unless you need to use it to make a point.
  • ns, nanosecond, a billionth of a second, generally used when measuring memory speed.
  • Nvidia, graphics card maker, competitor of ATI. The company prefers all caps, but we’re sticking with this usage, as we don’t like all caps.
  • PowerBook, one word, P and B always capitalized
  • Power Mac, Power Macintosh, two words, do not run together
  • PowerMacs, only appropriate at Low End Mac when used to refer to the PowerMacs group, otherwise use Power Macs.
  • PowerPC, PPC, family of processors made by IBM and Freescale (formerly Motorola), not a synonym for Power Mac.
  • Radeon, ATI’s trademarked name for its graphics processor family. We do not print it in all caps – never as RADEON.
  • RAM, Random Access Memory. Except when listing product specs, Low End Mac prefers to talk about system memory.
  • SIMM, SIMMs, a type of memory module. Note the lower case “s” at the end of the plural.
  • SuperDrive, single word, the “S” and “D” are always capitalized. An Apple trademark, although we also use it generically to refer to DVD burners.
  • Sync, short for synchronize. We fought this one for years, as synch has been around for a long time, but thanks in large part to the Mac’s iSync app, the h has fallen by the wayside.
  • Velocity Engine, Apple’s trademark name for AltiVec.
  • VMX, IBM’s trademark for AltiVec.
  • Voodoo2, Voodoo3, etc., no space, and the D is not capitalized (not VooDoo)
  • Web, a proper noun (there is only one World Wide Web), so it should always be capitalized when used to refer to the whole Web. Also capitalized when used with an adjective, such as Mac Web.
  • web, adjective, as in web server, not capitalized
  • webmaster, single word, not capitalized
  • web page, two words, just doesn’t look right run together or hyphenated.
  • website has replace “web site” in our usage
  • Xserve, Apple’s discontinued server line

Site Names, URLs

These are taken from current usage on these sites and are the way I prefer to use them at Low End Mac. Most are presented without comment. Many are arbitrary choices among several ways the site name is used within the site.