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Same iPad Name, “New” iPad Problems

Yesterday’s iPad launch gave us a lot of new features; Retina Displays, HD cameras, voice dictation, and bevy of other tweaks and improvements. However, there was one other change that nobody on stage really called a lot of attention to: the name.

Similar to its iPhone brethren, when the iPad moved to its first major update, a numeral was added to the end of the name to distinguish it from the original. We had the iPad and the iPad 2. Logically, most expected this latest update to be named the iPad 3.

Au contraire, mon frère.

For whatever reason, Apple’s not referring to any numeric version for this iPad, while still referring to the previous version as “iPad 2.” In fact, the only moniker that Apple’s applied to this latest iteration is “the new iPad.” These two naming conventions were rather awkwardly juxtaposed near the end of the event’s Keynote presentation.

Obviously, Apple’s dropping the numeric differentiator, calling future iPad revisions “iPad.”

This got some of us in the OWC Marketing Department talking. Some liked the new naming convention; 0thers disliked it.

Keeping it simple.

Some of us liked the simplification of the name. That way, no matter which iPad you have, you don’t feel as “out of date,” even though your iPad may be a couple of years old. You’re asked “Oooh… is that an iPad?” and can answer “Yes,”  instead of being asked “Oooh! Is that an iPad 3” and are forced to say “No, it’s only an iPad 2.”

It also unifies the line, rather than splitting it up. The devices are “iPads,” not “iPads, iPad 2s and iPad 3s.” Apple’s generally about simplifying things, so that sort of makes sense.

Making it confusing.

On the other hand, some of us hate the idea of having the same name across several products that may have different specs.

This can make finding the correct accessories for your model iPad more difficult. The dimensions on the original iPad are quite different from the iPad 2, and the new iPad is also different. Now imagine the iPad 2 was also just called “iPad.” If cases were advertised as “designed for iPad,” how would you know which GripStand (or any case, for that matter) to get? You’d have to either know what year model it was (sorry, but most of those in the iPad’s target audience don’t pay that much attention to what revision they have unless it’s part of the name), or find out by trial and error.

Plus, from a marketing point of view, wouldn’t you want a name that suggests that the version you’re buying is bigger/better than the previous one? They’ve done it with the iPhones; it would make sense to do it with the iPad as well. Of course, Apple being Apple, the iPhones are probably next on the list for name simplification.

What do you think?

We’d love to hear what you think about this change to naming convention; do you find it better to just call it an iPad or do you miss having the number so you know what model you have? Vote in our poll below and let us know in the comments.

[poll id=29]

OWC Chris S.
the authorOWC Chris S.
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  • While I can (theoretically) see having one name for the line, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: at some point, when we want to get repairs/upgrades/accessories, the user of any iPad will be asked “which iPad do you have?” (or close to that) and I’ve found in asking Mac users I know, that half or more of them won’t recall when they got their computer/iPad/iPhone. Makes for some extra steps and hunting down which model we have. Even with my MacBook Pro 5,1 which I recently bought (used), I learned that my particular model (2.66GHz Core 2 Duo) actually came out in 2009, not October/late 2008, as the other MBP’s designated (Late 2008) did. Apple could do better in distinguishing which model the user is buying, rather than what looks like worrying about the users who get upset when a new model has come out (which it always will be, whether we’re talking Apple hardware or the (monthly?) Firefox updates).

    “Simpler” is not really simpler or automatically better. (Feel free to disagree with me)

  • It just makes getting the correct accessory version that extra bit challenging as, unlike Mac designs that stay pretty consistent for 2-4 years at a time, each iPad is different enough – at least when it comes to form fitting cases – that each one has specific requirements.

    I got it… Original iPad. iPad 2… and now be make things line up for the ‘New iPad’. the next iPad I’d bet has some more significant generational differences in it’s physical design. But if not, and it looks just like today’s ‘new iPad’… I guess we’ll call stuff out as new iPad(2012) and the Newer iPad(late 2012 or 2013 or whenever). :)

  • The MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac, and Apple TV have all had similar naming convention to the new iPad’s name. There is no model number to any one to distinguish from which year it came from.

    The situation is the same with the iPad.

    I like the new name. It is an inclusive name. This way, people don’t have to be demoralized by having last year’s iPad 2 or even the iPad 1. Everything is just “iPad”.

    When it comes to fit for accessories, use what Apple has done: signify by year and quarter of manufacture. For example, call it the iPad 2012 or iPad early 2012 if Apple were to come out with another model with Quad Core CPU in late 2012.


  • Currently enjoying my MacBook Pro 4,1.

    I hope to buy the new MacBook Pro 8,1.

    You don’t seem to mind not having marketing numbers on Macs, does the iPad really need it?

    • Agreed.

      After 15 years, the iMac is still the iMac.

      Yeah, there were the G3, G$, G5, and the more or less undifferentiated Intel models. OWC calls them by date and gives customers instructions how to look up exactly what machine they have. That’s good enough for me.

  • I think the common usage fits into line with this decision. I hear people talking about iPhones, not about iPhone 4S’s. Furthermore, Apple really went astray from their usual path when they named new mobile devices after a single interation. iPods did not really change names unless they added a significant new feature (photo, video, touch). Their desktops and laptops, similarly, do not change their brand with every iteration. This simplicity can only help the user, and it is not like users buy a new case every day. They buy a case when the product is new, and then they can just forget about it.

  • Like the iMac, which has been called simply “iMac” since 1997, I’m sure people will come up with creative names to differentiate the iPads going forward.