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.

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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.