A lot of people were stunned by yesterday’s iPad announcement. Not because of the product itself — no one can contest that it’s a pretty significant improvement over the previous model — but because of what it is called. Instead of iPad 3 or iPad HD it is just the new iPad. Or, simply iPad. No, not “simply iPad” but iPad.
Ok, you still with me? The whole mess left people wondering whether this was some sort of marketing gaff, some mistake or misdirection. Others thought that it was a very shrewd move on Apple’s part. For its mobile devices, which are iterated once a year, the number scheme has been a huge part of the naming convention. iPhone; iPhone 3G; iPhone 3GS; iPhone 4; iPhone 4S. They follow a predictable, if somewhat confusing pattern, but there is no mistaking that the iPhone 4S is newer than the iPhone 3G.
Now, it’s just the new iPad, or iPad, or iPad (3rd-gen). Perhaps soon, like it’s MacBook line, Apple will begin calling it iPad (early 2012) and (late 2012) as they move into faster product cycles. When asked why they decided on this name Phil Schiller remarked, “because we don’t want to be predictable.” That’s it. There is no secret double-meaning or hidden intention. The tech media, and to a lesser extent the mainstream news, creates such a violent froth around Apple events that any morsel of leaked truth is beaten to a pulp until the surprise is largely gone.
It was predicted in large volumes that the new iPad would have a Retina display, that it would have an improved camera, LTE connectivity and a faster processor. But we also knew that it would be called iPad 3 and then we were sure that it would named iPad HD. If the lingering question from yesterday’s keynote was that the iPad was just called ‘the new iPad,” all the better reason to continue our conversation. Even if it vexes us because we were wrong.