iPad 3: What’s in a name?

The latest iteration of Apple’s popular iPad tablet PC is being marketed without a model number, leaving the media and consumers to debate on what to call the device.

Instead of “iPad 3” or “iPad HD” – the name the device was rumoured to receive – Apple is simply calling it “the new iPad.”

Concerns around Apple’s new naming scheme arose because the iPad 2 will be sold alongside it. What happens if they keep “the new iPad” around when they launch the next model?

Analyst and MD of World Wide Worx, Arthur Goldstuck, explained that the numbering convention is not useful to Apple and has resulted in marketing slippage, as with the transition from the iPhone 4 to 4S.

“I suspect the next iPhone may also become, simply, ‘the iPhone.’ The lessons learned from the negative response to the 4S not being a next version up appear to have been applied to the iPad,” Goldstuck said.

Arthur Goldstuck
Arthur Goldstuck - World Wide Worx

Goldstuck said that the new iPad may also be referred to as the third generation iPad, which is accurate, but that this may be confusing to those who think of 3G is “third generation.”

“4G iPad” simply doesn’t work as the generic term, Goldstuck said, as half of the new models are Wi-Fi only.

People going into stores will ask for “the new iPad”, “the iPad 3”, and the “HD iPad,” Goldstuck said. “In the USA, many will be asking for the 4G iPad.”

Vodacom’s Jannie van Zyl said that he quite liked the name “iPad HD” since the screen is the only element that will be standard across the devices.

Van Zyl agreed with Goldstuck that “4G iPad” is not quite correct. Referring to a previous interview about the so-called “4G” support in the iPad 3, van Zyl added that manufacturers don’t always use the truth as their only guiding principle when marketing.

“Failing that iPad 3 works better than most,” van Zyl said.

Jannie van Zyl
Jannie van Zyl

MyBroadband’s naming policy

After Apple’s launch of “the new iPad” we realised that we couldn’t call the device that in headlines or comparisons. A year from now they would be nonsensical.

The consensus was that we’d call it the iPad 3. iPad 4G didn’t work for the reasons outlined by Goldstuck and van Zyl, and iPad HD wasn’t strictly accurate either because the screen resolution isn’t technically HD (at 2048×1536 it’s actually better than HD).

In the unlikely event that Apple decides to call their next device the iPad 3, we can simply refer to this year’s device as the “previous iPad 3,” rather than “the device formerly known as the new iPad.”

We’re also not alone in this decision. Reuters initially referred to the device as the 4G iPad but recently started calling it the iPad 3. According to Investor’s Business Daily, CNet, ComputerWorld, Daring Fireball, and Huffington Post have also named it the iPad 3.

The tribe has spoken, “the new iPad” has been fired, it is the weakest link, it has been eliminated from the race.

With apology to Shakespeare:

What’s in a name? That which Apple calls “the new iPad”;
By any other name would play Angry Birds as well.

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Apple iPad 3
Apple iPad 3

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iPad 3: What’s in a name?