In an oddly uncharacteristic move, Apple has quietly changed the way it is spelling the new iPhone 3GS, which now appears without a space on Apple's web site and all press materials.

When the iPhone 3GS first launched, there was much consternation amongst the press as to the correct spelling of the new product, compounded by the logo – which places the "S" inside a small square.

Apple helped clarify matters by issuing press releases with the term "iPhone 3G S". But just four days into the launch it has changed the spelling to iPhone 3GS, and reworked all of its websites and previous press materials to mark the new change.

So why the new name? We're not sure but there is speculation that either a legal, or web-based analytics, reason may be behind the move.

It may be that iPhone 3GS offers more clarity for Google, and other web search engines, helping avoid confusion between searches for the new and old model of iPhone. We certainly assumed that iPhone 3GS would be the more SEO (search engine optimised) term, but decided to go with iPhone 3G S because Macworld's house style is to follow each company's personal spelling of products whenever possible.

On the other hand, there may be a legal reason behind the move. It may be that Apple's legal department pointed out that 3G is a generic term, and that S is a generic term and that "3G S" would be difficult to copyright; whereas "3GS" would be more easy to protect.

Or there may be another, unknown reason.

Either way, it's out of character for Apple, a company that usually prides itself on close attention to detail, to make a change to a high profile product mid-launch.

Before. The original Apple press release.

After. The press release with the new spelling for the iPhone

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