Why is It “The new iPad” and Not “iPad 3″ or “iPad HD?”

Why is it the new iPad and not the iPad 3 or iPad HD?Oh, look: It’s the new iPad! But what’s Apple calling it? The new iPad.

Yes, that’s what the new iPad is called: the new iPad. Not “The New iPad” or “New iPad,” mind you. Just the new iPad. It’s iPad, and it’s new.

It’s the third generation iPad, but it holds the same name as the first generation iPad. Obviously, the new iPad is newer than the original iPad. Plus, neither first nor third generation iPad would ever be confused with the second generation iPad, iPad 2.

So there we go. Apple’s changing the game. What? Think about it for just a moment and it’ll be far less confusing than the morons who spread rumors about “iPad 3″ and “iPad HD” for weeks on end.

When you buy a new MacBook from Apple, it’s called MacBook. When you buy a new iMac, it’s iMac. When you buy the new Apple TV, it’s Apple TV. When you buy a new iPod touch, it’s iPod touch. Now, if that doesn’t clear the air about why Apple decided to drop a number or version identity from the iPad brand, nothing will.

And you know what? It makes sense — and not because I’m some “fanboi” who says so. You might think it’s a crazy decision, but the logic behind it is more than sound.

At the end of the day, we consumers simply want to know we’re getting the most for our money — the latest and greatest. Model number or no model number, we just assume that what a store is selling happens to be the newest and the best. Certainly, Apple will continue to sell iPad 2 for the foreseeable future — but, eventually, it’ll look like yesterday’s model.

Or just think about it this way: When you refer to your iPad 2, do you call it your iPad 2, or do you call it your iPad? I’m guessing the latter (unless you’re really, really, really detail oriented). You wouldn’t call it the iPad 3, either. So, unless someone was pushing you for a specific revision, you were going to call this new iPad your iPad, anyway.

Apple’s just doing what it does best: making things easier for its core audience. Despite the cries from many a classic computer geek, gone are the days of confusing and impossible-to-memorize specifications. For years, consumers had been unfortunately trained to ask “How fast is the CPU?” and “How much memory does it have?” Believe it or not, while I was in the Microsoft Store the other day, I actually heard these very questions being asked — and the attendant, bless his heart, really didn’t know the answer to the question.

The answer to the question, in reality, was simple: It doesn’t matter.

Unless he was a “real geek,” the customer wasn’t really interested in knowing how fast it could go or how much memory came with it as long as it sounded faster than anything else he had seen. And, you might contend, the customer happened to be a “real geek” — at which point, I would suggest that a “real geek” would probably already know the answer and/or would never bother to ask a workaday store clerk.

Regardless, the customer obviously didn’t care about the model number, so what did it matter what the product in question was named?

My dad (a very popular character in our YouTube channel) is actually getting ready to buy a new PC, so it was with great interest that he tuned in to our live commentary on Apple’s new iPad announcement yesterday. Minutes before the broadcast, he held up an advertising circular and pointed out a desktop computer that he wanted to buy. It looked like every other Windows PC you’ve ever seen, priced competitively.

If you asked my dad for the model number, he’d have to look at the sheet again — and, even then, would likely forget about it five minutes later. Or, more to my point, he’s likely to ignore the model number altogether once the product is safely at home. He doesn’t care about model numbers.

The new iPad likely will not (and should not) sway his decision to buy a new PC — if only because no tablet computer can fit every need today. There are still times I need Windows or OS X to get something done (or to get it done more quickly). But even he recognizes that most of what he needs from a computer can be provided by his current iPad (which is iPad 2, if you were wondering). He’s probably not going to upgrade to the new iPad, either.

But will he upgrade to the new, new iPad? No, because there’s only going to be one new iPad moving forward — and that’s always going to be the newest iPad.

And, please, don’t get me wrong: Model numbers are useful, but when are they most useful?

I’d say that, yes, it’s nice to know what you’re buying before you buy it; but really, do you care about model numbers half as much as you care about the experience any particular product portends to provide? Which one drives your purchasing decisions more? I’d certainly hope the latter.

And the latter is what Apple has been focusing on for years: Focus on the experience. This change in the iPad naming convention should come as no surprise to anybody; Apple is further alleviating consumer stress and strain. Who wants to worry about anything other than having a great, new product?

Well, given that more iPads sold than any other manufacturer’s array of Windows PCs last year, and no other single tablet computer maker has made a dent in iPad sales, I’d say that Apple’s still on the right track with what’s quickly become its flagship product.

Don’t worry, though. Next year, there will still likely be a new iPad. It’ll be called the new iPad, too.

CC licensed Flickr image, Adoration of the iPad, after Jules Gotlieb, shared by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

Article Written by

Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • Matthew Cheung

    Makes sense!

    • Petri Niemelä

       Yeah, right. But what happens when there comes a 4th iPad that you call new iPad? And someone sells you a new iPad, except, it’s not the new iPad, its last years’ new iPad :) But of course, if the product’s name is “new iPad”, why would you call it anything less, even if it’s year 2015, right? So, when we have like 2 or 3 of these “new iPads” what then? Well atleast those people who want to ged rid of they’re old “new iPads” will probably get more money, because they’re always “new iPads”, coz it is not cheating to call a product with it’s real name, is it?

      • Edwin Torres

        You obviously did not read the article. The second paragraph addresses this issue… [It is not “The New iPad” or “New iPad,” mind you. Just the new iPad. It’s iPad, and it’s new.]

      • Karlo

        Ipad air :)

  • http://twitter.com/mamagoochi Manthan Talati

    Makes perfect sense!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1813155844 Antim Evtimov Batchev

    Calling it simply Ipad its far more logical then calling it ipad 3, why put a label on it ? its the new ipad and thats it! 

  • http://erniecordell.wordpress.com Ernie Cordell

    They can start that with the phones anytime soon:  I’m getting sick of hearing about those; when they put compilers on them, maybe I’ll start to care.   The distinguishing features aren’t usually there for me:  Slender, sexy, calls me “Rock God,” what am I buying?

  • http://twitter.com/alexferreirag Alexis Ferreira

    I can’t believe you actually wrote a whole post on the name of a product.

    • http://jennifermnewell.com Jennifer Newell

       It’s actually pretty interesting from a branding standpoint. It may seem like just a name, but the whole idea of how a consumer views the brand plays a big role. The actual thought that goes into this from the marketer’s standpoint is even greater, so this is nothing in comparison…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdkahler John Kahler

    My wife has driven several Toyota Corollas, we now have a 6 year old Toyota Highlander, and we don’t differentiate unless we need to for the shop so they know which year they’re dealing with. I use Macs – a laptop and an iMac (since it’s not a desktop), and an iPhone and iPad – not worrying about the model once I bought what was then current. Though there’s somewhat of a cachet about having a number in the name. Even then, a Porsche 911 is a series, not a specific.

  • http://twitter.com/nanciesweb Nancie

    Maybe devices will be improving every year like cars?  So one can have a 2012 model while another person could be holding out for the 2013 model. Sounds about right.

  • Ali Salem

    It was going to happen sooner or later anyway..

  • Chuck Cortes

    Makes sense. Like the iPhone. No wait, it’s the iPhone 4S, but the one before that was the iPhone 4 and before that iPhone 3GS and before that iPhone 3G. Hmm, looks like rather than logic when it comes to streamlining and ease, Apple simply got people to question this and therefore get more people talking and therefore expand their advertising even more all because they dropped the number. It was about rumors that create more advertising and sales, nothing more.

    BTW, the iPod Touch is not called iPod Touch 2 or 3 but when you buy it or sell it people always mention the generation.  Why? because no one wants to pay $250 for a gen 1 iPod Touch when it looks so much like the iPod gen 2 of 3. So in the end generations count. And people do call it iPad 2 more often than you think, they just don’t repeat it to people who already know it’s a 2. Just like no one says 2012 Mustang or  2011 every time they mention it to a friend, they say they their Mustang.

  • Guestashdj

    I see their reasoning. But still think it’s stupid.

  • http://wayneharrel.zielix.com Wayne Harrel

    I think it makes a complete sense since people won’t confuse it with previous generations in third world countries because in the previous gen was called iPad 2 officially. Things should be as simplified as you can make them, and I believe apple did a pretty decent job here.  

  • michael weiler

    So no one here could see that this could also be a problem? When will someone complain they are being sold an Ipad and they actually got the older model thinking they were getting the NEWEST? I see this coming soon and very soon…..buyer beware….even APPLE is trying to screw you LOL…

  • JimP

    Well the way i see it, will be easier for stores to push off older ipads to consumers at the same pricing as the new, cause most of them won’t know the difference. At least in a name change you know your getting the newest model or told you was getting the newest model. I personally don’t like the fact there is nothing to really tell you the difference from the “new ipad” to the old ipad, i mean the second model could be sold as the “new ipad” since it was newer then the first. I don’t like it, don’t like much bout Apple though honestly, but then don’t like much about new windows either, tending to lean towards the linux distro’s. New to that but getting easy enough on them i get around pretty easy.

  • http://twitter.com/ashipod13 ashley isbitt

    on some point i agree but look at this scenario:
    my ipad is broken a few years after the ipad 3 release and i am on the phone to someone who could help
    guy on the phone: what is the device called
    guy: what model number or generation
    me: its just ipad
    guy: so the first ipad?
    me: no
    guy: whats it called then
    me: the new ipad
    guy: so the latest one?
    me: no

    • http://twitter.com/tonyj01 Tony Jacobs

      guy: Sir, what is serial number, please?
      me: RZY872645
      guy, OK, it’s a 2012 new iPad

  • Jamal Deemer

    Great article, Chris. It just makes more sense since everyone just calls it “iPad” anyway. Glad they see things the same way. When the next iPhone is just called “iPhone”, the difference is really going to be stark when they sit on the same shelf as the “Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch” phones of the world. 

  • http://twitter.com/tonyj01 Tony Jacobs

    My iPad2 came in a nice white box.

    On the box it has one word . . .  “iPad”

    There is a small label under the box which describes the model number and serial number. [As an aside, my wife goes mad that I keep the box].

  • http://twitter.com/skyseattle Jeff Hansen

    Is it a big deal no, is it a good idea no.  When you are talking to someone else, it will be referred to as the iPad 3.  Why, because it is different.  When you are doing google ‘technical’ support, you will call it the iPad 3, why because it is different and has its own hardware and ways to do things.  As much as Apple does not want it to happen, it will be called the iPad 3, sorry.  Rather than comparing it to some nameless pc, it should be compared to an iOS, why because it is different.  Lets see Max OS Lion, snow leopard etc, Windows 98, Vista, 7 etc.  

  • http://twitter.com/somerandombl0ke Alex Huggett

    If you need a model number for support or whatever, it’s on the back. Aside from that, I think we’ll just be referring to them by their year or generation when needed, like iPods. It’s not that hard. In terms of which version to get? People will either want the latest or the cheapest – the choice is pretty easy really.

  • http://profiles.google.com/escalarys Eddy Frometa

    iPad sounds good…