Why Apple was smart to drop the silly numbers and/or letters on iPad; iPhone will be next

“The iPad has had a rebranding,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “Well, a rebranding of sorts. It was widely expected that the new tablet would be called ‘iPad 3″ (or ‘iPad HD’ if you believed the rumors), but Apple CEO Tim Cook surprised us all by simplifying the name down to ‘iPad.'”

“It might seem odd for Apple to go and recycle the name of its first-generation tablet and slap it onto third-generation hardware, but it also makes a lot of sense,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “It’s a simplification, and simplifying product names is always a good thing. Just take a look at Apple’s Store and notice how everything is simple. You have iMacs, MacBooks, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, Apple TVs and so on. It’s all simple. By contrast, the iPad (and the iPhone) has been encumbered with a clumsy suffix ever since the second generation hardware came out… We don’t walk around with a MacBook Pro 4S or a iMac 5, and it no longer makes sense to have an iPad 3.”

Kingsley-Hughes writes, “Now that Apple has rebranded the iPad, I confidently expect that the iPhone will get the same treatment… Consumers don’t seem to care what their iOS devices are called, and so Apple is in a great position to simplify both the name and the branding by dumping the now superfluous suffix.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “DERSS” for the heads up.]

77 Comments

    1. It wouldn’t have been terrible, but what after that? At what point does the naming become tortured? Apple would never release a consumer Procter with a name like iPad xVR-9650.

      Other companies have nervous models of their products to differentiate. Apple keeps it as simple as possible.

    2. By HD usual public considers something like 1920×1080 or even 1280×720, while the new iPad has 50%-200% better resolution than that. So they could call it iPad Retina, if they wanted to point out superresolution, not “HD”.

    3. The name “iPad HD” would have confused App Store shoppers who see a lot of apps with the HD suffix added to signify iPad compatibility. If you own an iPad 2 and you’re looking at an app called “YourApp HD” you might question whether it would work well on your “non-HD” iPad.

  1. I agree, except I do think that next year will be a problem. When the iPad (early 2013) goes on sale will the iPad (early 2012) remain with a $100 price drop?

    1. And how are consumers going to differentiate between the new and old iPads when they go buy them in the store? The difference is that Apple does not stock older iMAcs or MacBooks in their stores so there is no need for a numbering system. However, when they are selling various generations of iPhones and iPads there has to be a way to tell them apart, no?

      1. For than Apple used in their presentation “third generation” phrase.

        So next year they might use “fourth generation” versus “third generation”.

        Also, next year Apple might continue to produce iPad 2 (the same as they produce two genrations-old iPhone 3Gs), and will replace production of third generation iPad with fourth generation iPad.

        The screen would not be much better, so they will come up with something like A6 with 2 * Cortex A15 cores and the SGX6 series GPUs. And better cameras.

            1. Yes in Minneapolis MN. My daughter has T-Mobile android phone. Her’s shifts from reading 3G to 4G depending upon being in the city or a rural area.

            2. Yes, but I had to turn off WiFi to see it.
              I’m assuming when I’m not at home and connected to WiFi it will show up automatically.

      2. You’re so right. I’ve never met anyone who objected to the iPad/iPhone numbering other than nerds on sites like this.

        It will be interesting if they do the same for the iPhone. I can just see it now:
        Customer: Can I have an iPhone please
        Sales Rep: Sure which one?
        Customer: What’s the options?
        Sales Rep: well we have the square one with the glass back, the older one with the plastic back, the newer one with a stronger glass back, the even newer one with 4G
        Customer: Errrrrrr

    2. I don’t think it will be problem… they will either refer to them as “x generation” (like they do now for the iPod Touch) or as “originally released Mar 201x” (like they do for their refurb computers).

      1. That is extra effort though–both on the consumer side and, say, Apple tech support (or worse, carrier tech support).

        Imagine if they were all just called “iPhone” and weren’t officially distinguished as the 3GS, 4, and 4S, how do you easily tell them apart?

        Tech: “Which iPhone do you have?”
        Customer: “Well, I got it in early 2012”

        Except there are 3 generations of iPhone that Apple currently sells new.

        Looking up the serial number or product number on the back is one way, and tech support will ask for it anyway, but you can’t tell me that’s an “easy” way to tell them apart. You might as well use the alphabet soup some of Apple’s competitors use for product names.

        1. Granted even now, 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S are not stamped onto the back of these phones, it’s just iPhone. But that’s exactly my point–if I’m trying to help a friend with a problem on an iPhone, I can’t easily tell if I’m working with a 3G vs 3GS, or a 4 vs 4S. I have to go into Settings > General > About, get the model #, then look it up online. Bonus hassle if I’m directing the friend over the phone to do this, or if they can’t get access the Settings in the first place.

          Alphabet soup to separate products are bad, but so is having nothing to easily distinguish generations.

  2. No, I disagree.

    That was the stupidest move, ever. I don’t know what’s going through Tim Cook’s head. To name the tepid incremental iPhone the 4S is one thing, but at least in the case of the modestly upgraded iPhone, it deserved the moniker. S stands for shit.

    The incredible Retina display iPad 3, on the other hand, has been saddled with the stupid new iPad name which to me is just totally brainlessly stupid.

    1. BLN is the outstanding brainless stupid factor here. Look at all the hullabaloo created over the iPhone 4S/5 naming convention. Dropping it down to name basics is rightly simple Apple style and gets beyond perceived “incremental” perception issues. Here is the new “iPad or iPhone”, take it or leave it.

    2. From a business perspective, I agree that it can be classified as a stupid move, but only if it hurts sales. Something tells me that won’t happen with this jewel of a product.

      Smartphone names are all over the place, and it’s because they help differentiate the products. Apple, not needing any such marketing gimmick, is going in a different direction, confident that enough consumers will follow to keep them in business.

    3. Hey, ‘Stockboy’, go file-system-check yourself!

      If there’s a moniker around here that stands for ‘shit’, it’s definitely ‘BLN’.

  3. Another arbitrary Apple move that people will have to go out of their way to acommodate. Since there is an obvious need to clearly distinguish this current model from past and future versions, people by nesscessity are already referring to this latest model as “iPad (early 2012)”. Oh yeah, that’s ever so much simpler than “iPad 3”.

    1. And yet, they will sell like hotcakes. I am glad Cook and the rest are running the show, rather than many of the people on this board. Keep it simple. Works for the other products. No different than cars and other products. A BMW 535 is the same name for 2012 as it was in 2011. People will figure it out. And if you are buying a used one, it’s pretty easy to determine which model it is. I have bought a few used laptops and it’s simple to determine which MacBook Pro, etc. it is. And if you’re too stupid to know how to do it, there’s not much hope for you anyway. Keep it simple.

      1. And if you meet another Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight™ or Iron 883™ rider, do the two of you waste precious time babbling about the names of the machines? No, you’ll be talkin’ about customization, performance, babes—the things that really matter.

  4. It would be better to start coding the numbers to the features. “R” for retina. “5X” for the A5X chip. And RAM size. So a iPad 5XR64 would call out the iPad features.

    1. Don’t forget the Wifi Only vs all the different carrier options across the globe so really it could be:

      iPad 5X64V (for Verizon) or iPad 5X64WF (WifFi only) or iPad 5X64CM (China Moblie), etc.

      Clearly, yes, us poor stupid customers all need to have the models exactly spelled out for them.

    2. Apple is making a statement. Their computers are not PCs. They’re Macs.Their tablets are not tablets. They are iPads. Their laptops ate not laptops. They are MacBooks.

      They are not describing products.
      They are describing categories!

  5. That’s one in the eye for those people who continually accuse Apple customers of wanting to always be seen with the latest and greatest.

    If the iPhones and iPads all look like last year’s model and don’t have new names either, it’s going to be hard to pose with the new model because it won’t be at all obvious that it’s the new model.

  6. At first I wasn’t thrilled with returning to a single name. I have problems with my MBP (2008) without a distinct model number/name. I have to constantly remember early 2008 for firmware upgrades, or look up the hidden model name.

    But with iPad/iPhone I realise, having a simple name can be advantageous. No longer people will have silly expectations nor feel irrationally disappointed just because the version is called 4S as opposed to 5, i.e. “Tech media” will not get help with this silly “incremental upgrade” meme. More importantly, if you have an iPhone, you have an iPhone.

    Finally, from a legal standpoint, some Asian company, recently had an Android phone out with 4S. Apple would be wise indeed to drop the numbers hereon. Intel did that with Pentiums and x86s when AMD started to copy them. Imagine the confusion when someone would put up a Galaxy 22000 vs iPhone 6 just because numbering is cheap and sheep are easy.

  7. I agree with Twilightmoon: it may be acceptable for computers you buy once every 3 years, but when you have THREE different models of phone for sale at the same time, you need some way to distinguish them and numbers make a LOT of sense. It’s awkward to say “3rd generation” (or even worse “Mar 2012 edition”) when “three” is a beautiful, elegant solution staring you right in the face. I think this is NOT a good idea.

    Yes, it simplifies things- but how “dumbed down” do things have to get? I HATE the lack of some kind of unique and simple naming convention for Macs. Of course, it’s only a problem for those wanting to repair or buy/sell used Macs (identifying your Mac to people or describing not WHEN you bought it but when it was RELEASED!! is a REAL pain). And Apple could care less about your resale problems. They only care about selling their latest and greatest, so for them, there’s no need for any other name. There is only one iPad/Mac/iPhone- the one they currently sell. Good for them- bad for us.

    1. I have a problem right now with getting a RAM upgrade for my parent’s iMac. Per Apple’s site it’s a “mid-2007” but at least one RAM maker buyer’s guide does not use that moniker–you instead choose white/aluminum, processor (Core2duo, Core2duo/i5, i5/i7), and then screen size.

      The processor selection is particularly bad–I know it’s a Core2 duo, but is it the first or second option which includes the i5? Even when I choose the first option, the result is RAM that is different spec from what Apple says. I have to choose the “white” iMac option to get RAM matching Apple’s spec sheet, even though my parents clearly have an aluminum one.

      It would’ve been a lot easier if I could just choose the exact model from a list. I get that Apple really doesn’t care to make things more convenient for after-market parts and sales since they’re not getting any money from it, but it really does add aggravation.

      1. “I have a problem right now with getting a RAM upgrade for my parent’s iMac. Per Apple’s site it’s a “mid-2007″

        “mid-2007?” Shame on you! You should be upgrading their iMac itself, not just the RAM!

        1. I have a late-2006 Macbook, thankyouverymuch!

          They don’t do anything resource-intensive as far as CPU or graphics, so they don’t need the latest and greatest. I will likely upgrade mine to whatever’s available this Black Friday, they will use their iMac until it dies.

          But they only have the stock 1 GB RAM, and recent Snow Leopard and Safari updates take up far more RAM when used for awhile, making some operations like switching between their accounts or running iPhoto very slow.

  8. Remember way back when apple had a presser for its new phone? 5 minutes in when it branded 4s and not 5 everyone stopped listening because it was already a disappointment. The numbers are unnecessary except to distinguish old models still for sale. What do they do next year when the 4th generation comes out and they still want to sell 3rd gen?

  9. Well, I appreciate Apple trying to keep the naming convention clean, but personally I HATE that all of the Macs have the same name. It forces us to differentiate the model by the internal specs or the date of manufacturing when you want to upgrade anything or need service. Do I REALLY need to know what the code name, buss speed, processor speed, or date of manufacture of my Mac Pro is in order to buy software or hardware? I would MUCH prefer that Apple kept the name clean, but gave us a subset name that we can use going forward. For example, Yes, I own a Mac Pro, but the only other thing I need to know (for example) is that it is also a Mac Pro 2. This way I don’t need to remember the specs for all of my machines if I want to update my OS, buy software, or buy hardware.

  10. Cars aren’t versioned and referred to by their version. No one says, “I have a Corolla 3.x.” People refer to cars by their model (BMW 328) and their year (2012). Why not iPads and iPhones? I have a 2012 iPad? Now if I could only remember when I bought my iPad 1….

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