Why the new "iPad" has the perfect name

Why the new

Following the new iPad event, the internet erupted not with praise for the new iPad's Retina display, or it's A5X quad-core graphics chipset, or the availability of 4G LTE models. No, it erupted with controversy surrounding Apple eschewing the name "iPad 3" and going with simply the new "iPad."

Note, that's not "the new iPad", it's the new "iPad". Apple is just referring to it as "the new iPad" because it's the iPad that is new. Heck, even with the iPhone, that currently does have a numbering system of sorts, is referred to as "new" by most people. Many people don't know what model number the newest iPhone is at, or think they do and get it wrong. On multiple occasions, I've had people say something like "yeah, well my brother has the iPhone 4G!" when telling them I had an iPhone 4. It's a well known point of confusion (and one that likely just got worse, thanks to AT&T and Apple).

Yesterday, Simon Sage, expressed his dislike for the new name and argued that even though the rest of Apple's product line -- iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, iPad -- aren't numbered, Apple still doesn't run around calling them "the new [insert product name here]".

Actually. They do. Here's "The new iMac".

And "The new MacBook Air".

And "The new Mac Pro".

They may not have done it as repeatedly or in as many places as they've done "the new iPad", but they have done it. And for a reason. MacBooks and iPods haven't had numbers before, so thew new MacBook or the new iPod is an easy transition. The last iPad was the "iPad 2" so Apple needs to stress that while the latest model isn't being called the "iPad 3", it's still the latest model. It's still new. The word is simply a descriptive term to go along with it and emphasize the transition.

I guarantee your new iPad will not arrive in a box labeled "The new iPad".

As to the argument that there's be no way to distinguish between iPad models, that's something we've already learned to deal with. Just like we have "iPod touch (3rd generation)" and "iMac (early 2011)", we'll have "iPad (3rd generation)" or "iPad (early 2012)". Now, I do agree that with the iPad, it is a little different because Apple will be selling two models at the same time, but really, it doesn't change anything. The current iPad will get the spotlight, and somewhere in the corner will be the previous year's model with the appropriate label.

I also agree that for this year, and this year only, this rebranding might confuse customers. The fact that the iPad 2 is older than the iPad is bewildering, so, absolutely this will be confusing to consumers -- but that's precisely why Apple is being so adamant about referring to the latest iPad as "the new iPad".

Apple has always been relentless about embracing change and it's served them pretty well. "iPad" is simpler, stronger, and more Apple-like. It's better. People have a tendency to resist change, so it's certainly understandable that many reacted strongly, even negatively to Apple calling the new iPad simply the new iPad.

Arguably, Apple's mistake was not with axing the numbering scheme now, but with starting it in the first place. The repercussion of that mistake is to have one confusing year. In a couple years from now, this will be a non-issue. And in reality, how much will this confusion actually hurt them? A customer is going to walk in and ask for an iPad, an employee will show them both models, and they'll make a decision. It will have zero effect on Apple's bottom line.

Back in October, I predicted that Apple was going to make this naming move with the next-generation iPhone. Looks like I nailed it, I just underestimated how quickly they'd move.

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

Why the new "iPad" has the perfect name


Spot on. I know everyone will still be releasing rumors on the "iPhone 5" (really? with iOS 6 and it being the 6th gen?) or "iPhone 4G", but I am with you. It will simply be the new "iPhone"

I don't think Apple will make themselves THAT predictable with iPhone .
They'll call it iPhone 6. With iOS 6 :)

Poor arguments. The previous article totally explained why the new iPad name sucks and it does suck.
This article made a weak attempt to fight back but failed miserably.
I don't know of a single person to refer to their iPhone 4S as the new iPhone.
This will more than anything confuse retail workers ( Walmart etc).
Last year I called our local Walmart every 2-3 days for iPad 2 , they said out of stock every time , while the iPad tracker app showed they had one in stock . So I went in one day and sure enough they had one in stock.
When I asked the cashier she said we don't have iPad 2 , only iPad.
This was of course because the iPad 2 box didn't say iPad 2 on it.

I clearly disagree with you, she did a great job with her story and actually gave examples of what she was saying...
Very thought through...
I do see where Apple is going with it... I will say it will be confusing for a little while because of the first "iPad", "iPad 2" and now this "iPad". Try searching for a case for "the new iPad"...
All i do know is i can't wait for my 64gb Verizon iPad to come in next Friday :)

I see your disagreement and raise it with the new iPad name sucks balls :)
The article isn't convincing. Simple.

Then you missed her point; I agree with her. It's not a new name for the iPad. It's simply iPad. It will be nice to just have to say iPhone/iPad/iWhatever instead of all the numbers.

I know TWO people with iPhones that call it by its correct name. Everyone else I know either calls it "my iPhone", "the new iPhone", or "the iPhone 4G." The current numbering system sucks, especially for a product line that'll just keep going and going. It ONLY makes sense to stop the numbering nonsense, before our great-grandchildren are ordering iPad 87's. And that's 87, plural. Not 87S.
I've made my point.

I would have to disagree with you as well. I own a business that specializes in IT consulting and iOS device repair. Very very seldomly do I get someone calling about a repair that says the correct device model. I ask which iPhone and they say "the new one" or "last years model" or "the newest iPod without a camera". So yes Leanna is correct. People do not know the names. I see it each and every day. People tell me they have a 3GS, they come in, and it's a 3G. They don't know the difference.

If people have problems telling the difference between ipad 1 and ipad 2 now, imagine the chaos when you have 5 different generations of ipad and all being called, ipad!
Big suprise that you two would agree with eachother tho , NOT lol

I can see both sides of this debate, but my opinion is just my two cents. No one needs to agree or disagree, either way its just my opinion from my side of things. I repair these devices, and having been an owner of a tablet as well it just makes sense to have a name that sets it a part from a consumer point of view. If I'm trying to get tech support or explain my device, i'd like to say iPad 2 simple as that... instead of the new "iPad"... What's next? Once another iPad comes out it surely won't remain the "new iPad", will it just be submissed to the 3rd generation, who knows. From a marketing & blogger's point of view it just seems like Apple is doing this to get a rise out of bloggers and people online, which cleary they're succeeding at.

Would still prefer to see a numeric suffix to differentiate.
Nobody benefits from the longer designations like "mid-2011", and these don't have any connection to continuity or evolution like 2, 3, 4, etc. do.
The lack of a consistent naming convention makes things an over-complicated mess (moreso for those not up on the product or technology). Look at Apple's lists on their store pages, or in articles, where the products are being listed up, e.g. for applicability of accessories, and instead of "fits iPhone 5/4/3/2/1, iPad 3/2/1, etc., we get really long space consuming lists; kinda dumb.

I think it's a good idea, too. Having two iPhone 3's and two iPhone 4's with 3G and 4G, for the un-geek, this is very confusing. I think naming conventions like the iPod touch is best way to go

I think you all went on about the name is yesterday's podcast to the point where it was becoming annoying. It's the iPad (3rd generation) and that's not confusing to anyone. This has been going on with the iPod Touch for awhile now.
My brother who knows nothing about anything technology related knows his daughter wants an "iTouch" 4th generation.
Look at any iPod Touch case packaging. It's all distinguished by what generation you have.
iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen
Whats so hard about this?

it makes perfect sense. ipad 3 would have been fine this year, but down the road they dont want to introduce the ipad 8

So would the new iPad after 20 years. They won't call it the new iPad every year , so the numerical sequences will play a role in the naming of the iPads one way or another ;)

Why wouldn't they? As the article says, they do this with darn near every other product (MacBook, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, etc.).

I'm on Leanna's side on this. I think that it is the logical way to go forward. 10 years down the road will it be iPhone 15, iPhone XV? iPad 12, iPad XII? Eventually the numbers will be so high that it creates the impression that the iPhone is an old product.
eventually after a few more generations of naming it the iPad, people will start to get use to it. Just like with the naming of iPod, iMac, and MacBook. I think this is a move that will prove to be wise in the long run.

I'm very impressed that you pegged the upcoming name! All these idiots are predicting iPad HD and the ability to notice the couple of names that didn't fit the product line is a breath of fresh air amongst the increasingly incompetent tech bloggers.

She only pegged it if they call the next iPhone the new iPhone ;)
Which I personally doubt that they do , cause as we know by now Apple will surprise us and naming it the new iPhone wouldn't be a surprise anymore ;)

Leanne, good job! I've been on the fence about this whole naming convention, and thought you encapsulated Steve Jobs' spirit in your assessment of Apple's position better than Simon. While he (Simon) made a fine case, yours rings true to what Apple has always been about - taken as a whole. And that is simplicity and audacity. The audacity to know that their product names are icons unto themselves. The public MUST know this as iPad. Nothing more. Nothing less. To continue a numbered convention is so... Windows!

Ok. Stop it. Everyone. Just quit. You are no longer allowed to have this discussion. Seriously. Please. Stop.

Great post. Yes, the name will be confusing for a while, but it has been the way they have handled many of their other products. I immediately thought back to the iMac when I saw the announcement - that this was simply the iPad, and "the new" one at the moment. Of course, as some have pointed out, the difference here is that the older model is still for sale by Apple, something they typically don't do when they release a "new" Mac model. Perhaps the two active models hints at some future where there is a low/high end model or different sizes.
Funny that we should get so wrapped around the axle about a name. I do seem to remember many harping on the name iPad to begin with. Hmmm, that seems to have worked out okay (Proview notwithstanding).

Great article. I like this, and I too predicted that Apple would stop with the number naming and do just this.
Leanna, you don't like putting spaces in between sentences, do you? ;)

I can't believe the incompetence I'm reading about this in the comments. When you buy a car is it called a "Ford Exploder 2"? NO. Most consumer products in this world are not sequenced in their names. In normal conversations people will say "I have the 2012 edition". This is the way Apple has marketed most of their products. If you look on your MacBook Pro it will say "late 2011 edition" or something in the "about" section in the OS. It makes totally sense to name this new iPad, "iPad". Hell, even Apple never fully embraced the monikers. They distinguished the two versions by the picture on the box. Eventually, the commercials just said "iPhone" or "iPad". Get over it... seriously.

I agree. Star Wars? Why all the numbers? Just call every movie in that series Star Wars.
Makes perfect sense right?

Poor example. With your logic , no company souls ever release any sequels and naming them with numerical sequences.
Even your Ford Explorer example falls flat on its face. When Ford releases a new vehicle they do actually call it by the year it was released.
If you're going to trade your explorer , you can't tell the dealership , I'm yeah I got the explorer , 2006 edition.
You say I got an 06 Explorer ;) you never say I got the new Explorer edition. You say I just bought a 12 Explorer. ;)
You stated your opinions in regard to the new iPad , so did the rest of us , but your reasoning to prove that your opinion makes more sense than others , failed. Better luck next time :twisted:

So what do you call your Macbook Pro? It doesn't have a numerical suffix. Neither do any of the iPod models. What do you call them?

Good points. My Macbook Pro is the 2008 model. It can't be confused with any other model of Macbook pro. They'll probably do it with the iPhone and that makes sense as well. going forward, it will definitely be a non-issue.

As an apple retail employee, I agree with this article. I'm tired of the numbering system because half of the customers come in asking to buy the new iPhone 4GS because they want to upgrade from their old iPhone 3. And as we all know, neither of those products exist. It would be better if everyone could just get used to saying "I want the new [insert product]"

It is pretty silly that this seemingly non-issue has become such a big deal. And no matter how long we discuss this now, not everyone will agree. In time people will realize that keeping it as simply "iPad" is smarter because its dumb to say "i have the 'iPad 15G S!'"
i have an ipad 2 and still refer to it as an ipad about 97% of the time. The times i dont are when i am differentiating it from another generation model. Which is why i say ipad 3rd gen isnt such a big deal, because you wont refer to it as such almost all the time. Even people that ask me when im using say "is that an ipad" and i simply say "yes" with being a nerd that say "well technically speaking its an ipad 2, wi-fi only, 32gig."
And using the iphone as an arguement on the other side is dumb, because even the second gen iphone was the "iphone 3G" and not "iphone 2" which at the time was a hell of a lot more confusing to the average costumer. As well as having an "S" version for the 3G and 4 versions. The typical user doesnt even know the difference.
So everyone needs to back off 'cause apple isnt gonna change it just cause everyone is whining about it. By next year, we'll all forget we even had this arguement

You missed the MAIN reason that this makes sense!
If apple is to foster the "post PC era" idea, then the iPad cannot simply be a gadget. Computers are no longer gadgets; they are necessary tools. As such, we upgrade them when necessary, bt we always have one.
If there is to be a day when the average customer says to themselves, "gee, it's about time I upgraded my iPad" (just like I need to upgrade my old powerPC MacBook!), then it needs to be marketed in the same manner.
I won't be buying the newEST iPad this year, but I use mine every day, and I'll eventually need to upgrade... Just as soon as I need to.

I understand what you're saying. It's like Apple used certain marketing tactics to make the iOS devices more personal, unique, and memorable. Now they want to slow down and have you think of them as tools like the rest of their products.
That's a good plan. They were doing so well before the iphone. I can see why they'd want to go back to what wasn't working. The ipods, macs, etc are all on the decline. No one cares much about them because Apple treats them in this manner, different from ipad & iphone.
I have fond memories of the iphone 3rd edition. How about that 2009 iphone?
Really, what difference did a number after the product make? (it made it unique for consumers) What's easier for consumers to understand? Iphone 5 or the new iphone (6th gen). Even using the year launched would be better than nothing.

I think you misunderstood. Decline as in percentage of Apple's profits or revenues. None of what you posted is relevant. Thanks for the reply though.

THE iPad? Was my surprise. The end of an era. Will we have THE iPhone too? The end of iPhone? I always had the feeling it was a Steve Jobs thing. The first one to put 'the' in front of an iPhone would be shot. We all called it the iPhone, but not apple.

Finally! I wanted them to drop the model generation name as soon as I saw the convoluted "3GS".
Just image what a mess it would be 5 years down the road when you had 10 iPhone and 8 iPad names to juggle...

I just dont understand whats so hard to grasp about it being called simply the ipad. For years it was simply the ipod. As already mentioned by others in this thread theyre still simply called macbook, macbook pro, imac, etc. there are no problems there. There were no problems with this conversation for years:
"i have an ipod"
"oh really? Which one is it"
"the first gen"/"the ipod video"/"the (fill in the blank here)"
Its really not that difficult. Besides, who on a regular basis refers to their iphone as the "iphone 4s" or "ipad 2"? "did you get that app on your iphone 4s" "i like your iphone 4s case" "why dont we look that up on my ipad 2" - people just dont talk like that,.
If you ran a poll i think that 90-100% of people refer to their "iphone 4s" simply as iphone 80%, or more, of the time. Same with the ipad 2.
So will everyone just chill out? Because by the end of this year, it will be a moot point anyway.

Too much people here with little or no metal capacity... @Alan it seems you have not read the comments or even the article properly because if you did, you would know the next model will simply be the new iPad again... Being distinguished by the year it was released. Think before making comments people.

Im 100% sure that Apple will NOT call the next ipad , the new iPad . They will mix it up, they will add something to it, because they like to mix it up when it comes to iPhone/iPad . They will name them as they wish, while they always try to make sure they ALWAYS surprise us with the new name, EVERY time.
You act like you know everything, but you don't. We all share our thoughts, and speculations. So your whole think before making comments should be an advice you should follow first :roll:
If you want everyone to just agree with the article , then why would we need a comment section? :?

Hmmmm.... On the back of my iPad it just says "iPad". Not iPad 2. It looks to me that the name has always been just "iPad" and that Apple is reminding everyone of that fact.

Agree Leanna. Apple is just bringing the iPad naming scheme in line with all their other products. There never was an "iMac 2" or "Apple TV 2" or "iPod 2," for example. And we agree that the 2012 iPhone will simply be this year's new "iPhone," the way the rest of Apple's products are refreshed (but not renamed) each year or so.

Apple needed to call it iPad 2 because it had a camera, meaning not all apps from the store would work with the original version.
the new iPad has a camera so there is nothing between them when it comes to compatability making it pointless carrying on with the numerical naming convention.
From this point on I don't see a lot of innovation for the iPad, just faster processors like we see on the macs each year

Honestly, why do you even care what its called? Who gives a damn?!? Its the new iPad, iPad 3, iPad HD! Call it whatever you want and send your time writing an article about something that matters!

How is calling something iPad (2nd Gen), iPad (3rd Gen) ANY different than calling something iPad 2 or iPad 3? I keep hearing people complain that people don't know what version they have. How is not giving it any version number at all going to help that? (What generation iPhone do you have? Um, I don't know. It's just called iPhone now). People need something to refer to their device by when comparing it to other people's. The only mistake Apple made with the iPhone name was using things like G and S in the names. The letters are confusing, not the numbers. Most people can count.

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