On the new iPad’s name

Ged sighed sometimes, but he did not complain. He saw that in this dusty and fathomless matter of learning the true name of each place, thing, and being, the power he wanted lay like a jewel at the bottom of a dry well. For magic consists in this, the true naming of a thing.
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

To hear critics rail and complain, Apple fell on it face yesterday when it failed to differentiate the new iPad with the “3” or “HD” moniker that it had been rumored to hold in the days before its official unveiling.

Bullshit. Cut it out with the magical thinking, folks.

I’m typing this from a MacBook – not the first generation of the device to hold that name, and it didn’t suffer poor sales as a result. Later on I’m going to drive my Jeep Grand Cherokee – not the first vehicle to be named that, either – to the grocery store to pick up the makings of dinner. I can come up with countless examples of products that change – dramatically, in some cases – from year to year but don’t change their names.

Apple is neither the first company to do this, nor is their decision to simplify the iPad’s name particularly ground-breaking. Get over it.

I’d also like to point out that when the first iPad was introduced, its name was the subject of huge controversy in the blogosphere and among the tech punditry, many of whom considered the name silly; it was likened it to a feminine hygiene product.

Two years and tens of millions of units sold later, the iPad defines the tablet market much in the same way that the iPod defined the MP3 market through much of the first decade of the millennium.

  • I totally agree!  At first I was surprised, but then thought it made so much sense; for the exact reasons you”ve mentioned.  People just need to get over it and accept it.  Geez!

  • rwitt

    I agree. The only slightly confusing, un-Apple-like thing is that they’re now selling a product called the iPad 2 that is worse than the product called the iPad. We obviously know the difference, but less savvy people might not (“Wow, this store is selling the iPad for $600 but for only $400 I can get an iPad 2!”). Maybe they should have rebranded the iPad 2 as something else to correct this.

    • StetsonG

      I imagine that most places it will be referred to as iPad (third generation).

      • rwitt

        Yes, but if that’s the case maybe the iPad 2 should be renamed iPad (second generation)? 

        There’s lots of non-tech savvy people out there (think older adults) who are already confused about this stuff without this extra naming wrinkle thrown in making it extra confusing.

        • Hence the ‘new’. “So, ma’am, which iPad do you want?” “Errr…I think I will get the new iPad.” Next year onwards, there will be no iPad 2; just the old iPad and the new iPad.

    • It will only be a problem if you go to Best Buy or any other reseller. The folks at the Apple store clearly explain the differences in products to you so long as you don’t pretend to know everything.

  • Scott

    While I completely agree, I think there’s one wrinkle that Apple will have to work out. When they release a new rev of the MacBook, they discontinue the old model. In the case of the iPad, they’re keeping the iPad 2 available at a discounted prices. It seems they will need some kind of name discriminator in order to differentiate the two models.

    • They used to do that with all products. It’s called sell-through. They aren’t making any new ones, just going through inventory.

      • Pmoeser

        Please think before you type. iPhone (third generation ie 3GS) is still being made and sold. iPhone (fourth gen ie 4) is still being made and sold. In the same way, iPad (second generation) is still being made and will continue to be made for some time to come. Why would they trash an entire assembly line when they can maintain profit margins with a price reduction on a hugely successful device. Education market?

  • apexskier

    I totally think Apple is doing the right thing, naming the new iPad just that. It’s preventing product fragmentation and presenting their products as a more unified experience. If you have a new iPad and I have an iPad 2, we both have iPads. This is different than, say, Android, where you may have a Galaxy Tab and I have something else, and they both work a bit differently and have their own problems and strengths. With Apple, I know what I’m going to get when I buy a tablet.

  • The back of the current iPad and iPhone don’t have numbers but we still refer to them as iPad 2 and iPhone 4. I like the analogy to cars. Each year is a new model that are available with a variety of features. However, this change over is going to cause some confusion. Especially with two different model years on the market.

    People got hung up when the latest iPhone wasn’t called “5”. I think this is Apple’s way of saying it doesn’t matter, look at what it is, not what it is named.

  • lkalliance

    Hehe, “iPad.” snicker

  • Exactly! If only I could

  • Exactly! I only wish that I could swing a baseball bat through the internets and zonk these fools.

  • I was actually shocked they put a 2 at the end of the iPad 2. I thought that was stupid because you obviously aren’t going to have an iPad 12. Why start a dead-end naming convention? I figured they’d do what they did with the iPod Touch. (3rd Generation, 4th Generation iPod Touch) …but it’s only called that when you are referring to the model.

    I don’t walk around calling my iPhone 4S an “iPhone 4S” either …it’s my “iPhone” period …unless someone requests the model.

  • untitled_folder

    I agree with everything, except that it’s only “Jeep Grand Cherokee” because that’s what you call it. The official name has something like “Laredo” or “Limited” at the end. And those do change. But we tend to drop suffixes when telling people what we drive.

    • They had 2 models. Laredo and the higher end Limited and within those groups the names remained the same for decades.

      • untitled_folder

        I meant in general. There’s also the Overland, Overland Summit, Laredo X and SRT8. But my point was that we generally don’t include suffixes like that.

    • That’s just a choice of trim level on the same vehicle, and no different than whether you have a 16GB or a 32GB iPad.

      I’d assume you don’t run around talking about your “iPad 2 16GB Verizon 3G with Black Corinthian Leather Smart Cover.”

      • untitled_folder

        If you go to jeep.com and “build your own”, it has you select a model. Those include Laredo, Limited, etc. Then you choose your options. To me, 16 GB and Verizon are options, like the wheel size and sound system options of a car.

        And no, I don’t talk about my iPad that way. That’s exactly my point. I don’t talk about my car and include its options, either (unless asked). But I do sometimes include the trim level.

  • RickR

    I think you’re missing the point of what some people like me are thinking! we need a way to differentiate between the models so say if you want to gift an app that maybe doesn’t support their last gen device, or a case or dock that doesn’t fit, will not be a problem. Why should this be the users problem?

  • Curtis Something

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

    William Shakespeare

  • I still have the same name I had 48 years ago when I was six months old and I’m a much different model now. It doesn’t seem to have caused much confusion in the market.

  • matty

    just wait until the next iphone drops the numbers, too.  

    • Kobus

      Why is the Ipod then still the iPod…4 generations later…and as successful If this, a name, is all that could be found as a flaw in Apple’s iPad, I think Apple has it all JUST RIGHT!

  • RudyGr

    So what happens next year when Apple decides to keep the existing “new iPad” as the cheaper reduced price product and introduces a new iPad? Same thing with the iPhone, which I’m sure is going to be renamed as just iPhone. With Macs and other products, they typically don’t continue to sell an older version.

    • SilverPanda

      Maybe next year the 2012 iPad will be a 16GB Wifi only device and the new 2013 iPads will only start at 32GB, followed by 64GB and hopefully 128GB!  That’s what Apple did with the iPod touch 3rd gen, the 8GB was the same 2nd gen on the inside and then there were the 32GB and 64GB that were really 3rd gen inside. 

      • RudyGr

        Based on what Apple just did, I think next year’s 3rd gen model will be referred to as “the old iPad” with the 4th gen ones becoming “the new iPads”.

        • SilverPanda

          Apple will never call a still-selling product “the old Product”. Does not compute.

      • Buckeyestar

        That’s exactly what I’m expecting.

  • Omitting the model numeral now makes it the task of tech writers and reviewers to reach a public consensus about what to call the thing. It’ll be interesting to see if that disdain over a nonissue persists a year from now.

    Also, extra points for quoting Le Guin.

  • Mihir Saswadkar

    This is a step in the right direction. Keep the name simple to end the endless speculation leading to the launch.

  • SilverPanda

    This iPhone/iPad new lack of numbering so it doesn’t reach too big numbers reminds me of how web browsers are getting close to version 20.0. Ugh.

  • Gregz0r

    Hear here! I don’t care what it’s called, as long as my particular one begins shipping soon.

  • Rfjonly

    I think Apple is positioning “iPad” as the name of a range of devices – just like MBA and MBP, each of which comes in a variety of sizes and configurations.


  • Aw, c’mon. It’s the only way Apple fanboys can pretend there’s a feminine hygiene product created just for them. LOL