Finally, Apple has released the new iPad. The New iPad. No room for iPad 3 or iPad HD here. But why did Apple decide against the sequential naming? After all, it has worked just fine for the iPhone so far. But as Phil Schiller stated, Apple sometimes uses numbers for its products, sometimes it doesn’t. And it seems sometimes it also decides to stop doing it.
As Jessica Zollman points out, Apple may want to step away from version numbers, although this could mean harder customer support. And customer confusion altogether, as people may have more than one device model.
But this is more than just some caprice-from-beyond from Steve Jobs (although he might as well have prepared this launch up to such details, just for the fun of “being unpredictable”). This is about marketing, communication and branding. The iPad has become today’s personal computer. And Apple wants us to know that: it no longer boasts a number version like other iOS devices and iPods; it has now earned a place among the Mac range of products. After all, when have we heard of an iMac or a MacBook being named by version numbers? We just need to know which model we are buying, and if it’s the last one. There you go, same with the iPad. The iPad is here to stay.
However, it has been pointed out that consumers might end up renaming the product “iPad 3”, no doubt for practical reasons. And ignorance. Let’s not forget people who still call some iPhone models “G3”, “4G” or even “4GS”. You had it coming, Apple, after playing with model numbers and data network standards.
But above all (and for those who love cynicism) Apple’s choice as regards the “iPad” might have something to do with what the first model should have been. Remember the iPhone 4 launch? It was great. Gorgeous Retina display, iBooks coming, great new camera. Wait, iBooks is better on the iPad screen, it’s made to read books! Not. The first iPad should have boasted a shiny Retina display. But it didn’t, and many users’ reading experience has suffered from that. And although it has been widely explained that Retina definition would be very hard to accomplish in that scale before, the fact remains that Apple made a mistake in launching a phone that literally told you “Hey, check this screen, it’s the one you can’t have on your iPad”.