New iPad May Mean The End of Numbered Apple Devices

    March 8, 2012

At yesterday’s media event Apple unveiled their third generation iPad with several new (though mostly expected) features: retina display, better camera, and 4G LTE, and iOS 5.1. One new feature of the iPad surprised pretty much everyone, though: the name. After months of speculation about the “iPad 3,” reports started to surface that the tablet would actually be called the iPad HD.

As it turned out, everybody was wrong. The new iPad’s name does away with all the modifiers. It’s just “the new iPad.” This has left a lot of industry watchers scratching their heads. In a way, though, it makes sense. Most companies – including most of Apple’s with their other products – don’t bother with giving each new iteration of a device its own unique name. What generation is the current iPod Nano? Or, for that matter, what about the red-headed step child of the iOS family, the iPod Touch? What about the latest MacBook? The iMac?

For the most part, new devices aren’t given their own names, and for the most part consumers don’t care. Sure it makes things easier for retailers, accessory makers, and industry watchers. But for consumers it really doesn’t make much real difference. Most consumers – especially the less tech savvy ones – who walk into a store looking for the latest iPad aren’t going to ask for the iPad 2 or the iPad HD. They’re going to ask for “the new iPad.” In that sense, then, Apple’s naming choice makes sense. It brings the iPad into line with most of the rest of Apple’s products, and it recognizes the way that most of Apple’s customers shop.

Of course, Apple’s choice for the iPad’s name raises some interesting questions about other Apple products. What about next year’s iPad? Will it be the “New New iPad“? More importantly, what does that mean for the next iPhone? Most speculation has been calling it the iPhone 5. Some have suggested the iPhone 6 (it is, after all, the sixth generation iPhone). But if Apple is dropping modifiers from device names, then it’s a pretty safe bet that when Tim Cook next takes the stage (in September or October?) it will be to announce “the new iPhone.”

What do you think of “the new iPad”? Is it a smart move on Apple’s part, or a mistake? Let us know in the comments.