The Reason Apple Named It “The New iPad”


Screen Shot 2012-03-07 at 10.12.53 PM

Thousands of Apple fans let their jaws hit the floor earlier today when Apple announced “the new iPad.” There was no “iPad 3,” no “iPad HD,” no “iPad Epic Pro Super X 4G LTE Touch.” Just iPad. Apple broke the numbering scheme and went back to the basics.

Why? Apple VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller revealed the answer after today’s keynote.

When asked by The Wall Street Journal, Schiller said Apple called it “iPad” because “we don’t want to be predictable.” That’s it. No other explanation. No long-winded rant about how the iPad is leading a revolution that’s changing the world and ushering in a new age of incredibleness. No marketing strategy about how Apple wants to consolidate its product line in the mind of the consumer. Just predictability.

That answer shouldn’t really come as a surprise to any tech enthusiast that’s been following Apple for a decent amount of time. Apple has been shattering the status quo and throwing curveballs at the press for years. Despite the constant churning of the rumor mill, the company somehow manages to keep surprising the industry in one way or another with every announcement.

For the most part, there were two camps before today’s keynote: the people that thought we’d see the iPad 3 and those that thought it would be called iPad HD (myself included). There were plausible arguments for both sides, and several big publications even weighed in at the last minute saying Apple would definitely call it iPad HD. Leave it to Apple to screw with both camps and just call it iPad.

Good job, Apple. You won again. Now I’ll take a new iPad please.

[image via flickr]

[teaser-top]That burning question that’s been on your mind all day…[/teaser-top]

  • WardC

    And when the “New, new iPad” comes out in 2013, the “New iPad” will then be called OLD.

  • recyclops117

    Im not sure of you’re joking but its not called ‘the new iPad’ it’s just iPad.

  • pcd2k

    Rubbish, what will happen when the next iteration emerges, will that be called the ‘new new ipad’?  That then means that this one will be then called ‘the old new ipad’ ?

  • Scott Gould

    …Or maybe “The Newer iPad,” leaving room for the 2014 release of “The Newest iPad.”

  • jrobles

    Probably this was the iPad that was envisioned at first, but due to the technical limitations and costs, it couldn’t be afforded 2 years ago.

  • alexheath

    Guys, it’s just called “iPad.” Headline references the image. It will always be called the iPad from now on.

  • Domingo Sandoval

    Now the question is if the new iPhone will be called iPhone 5 or just iPhone…

  • auramac

    They should have done the same with the iPhone. “4S? I was waiting for 5!”

  • Teche21

    When this iPad HD rumor started the only blog that said Apple won’t name it iPad HD was TechzTalk and their reason was simple. why would Apple call a product with higher than HD (1080p) resolution iPad HD? For such small display size it Ultra Definition not and not High Definition.

  • Marco Nelson

    loved your comments here… 
    I didn’t know you were still there replying me, you should have told me. I always need material from Noel blinded fans…

  • Connor Mulcahey

    No, it will just be like the Mac line ups, “The All New iMac,” or “The New Macbook Air,” hell they’ve even done that with the iPod Touch and apple TV. Microsoft even did it with the Xbox 360 and consumers sometimes refer to it as the slim to differentiate. No biggy.

  • Meredith

    i like his logic and coming from someone at apple it shouldn’t surprise you lol but logic begs the question….what will the iPad in 2014 (or whenever) be called? lol “The really new iPad”

  • vincebell1995

    People have to put numbers and names on things for their own stupidity.

  • vincebell1995

    People have to put numbers and names on things for their own stupidity.

  • jebworks

    You just have to admire Apple for playing by their own rules and not giving a hoot about the pundits and media. And they pull it off consistently. Big brass balls!

  • VGISoftware

    Wrong. Just like with any other product, changes and improvements come with experience and from what is learned with each previous iteration. There’s also customer feedback, some of which can influence future models.

    With the iPad, the saying, “The best way to predict the future: create it.” is especially apropos, because, with the iPad, Apple created a new category of device.

    It’s not a matter of waiting for future technology to become affordable. It’s taking what’s available now in order to make the product the best it can be NOW.

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    Maybe they’ll go back to generations? Did that really keep you up all night?

  • MisterL30N

    My guess would likely be simply “iPhone”. I expected this to happen in the foreseeable future, however I had thought that it would be later on rather than now. I intended on having iPhone 6 or iPhone 7, as well as iPad 4 and iPad 5 before it was simply stated as “iPad”, “iPhone”, or “iPod touch”. It kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth knowing that Apple has created “iPad”, “iPad 2”, and now back to “iPad”. Perhaps Steve was a fan of the number strategy and foresaw it going on wile within singular digits. I’ve noticed a few subtle changes that I’m not crazy about since Tim Cook has taken over as CEO. I feel that Steve had so much pull on the company that now everyone is simply turning to Tim for fear of becoming lost on a confusing darkened path. I certainly would have liked to have seen the interaction of “iPad 3” and “iPhone 5” before all of this started. It seems to almost… lessen the hype and sentimental value that one can possess by saying indefinitely that they are the owner of the latest and greatest from Apple.

  • John Howell

    Name a product from apple with a version number except for the iPhones.
    MacBook pro, MacBook air, iMac, AppleTV, Airport Extreme, TimeCapsule. iPod classic, nano and shuffle. None have a version number.

  • turbohand

    If they want to position it like the MacBooks it makes sense. We don’t have the Macbook Pro 1, 2 and 3. We have the new Macbook Pro or Macbook Pro 2010. I wouldn’t surprised if it isn’t part of a larger plan to get us to think about the iPad at a product like the rest.

  • Martin Topinka

    Literally, from the bio-researcher point of view, it’s exactly the opposite, naming things is linked with intelligence and helps to brain development… But I got your point.

  • The King

    I guess this model will always be know as iPad Retina.
    naming iPads by year works, but its confusing when iPad2 is still out there. They should have said this is the iPad 2012 , we are still keeping the iPad 2 but we are calling it iPad 2011. Now we have 2 iPads and 1 iPad 2, but one of the 2 iPads is better than the ipad2 hehehe with

  • baby_Twitty


    1) To suppress leaks. By NOT tagging an iPad 3 or iPad 4,5,6 to its components, it makes it harder for parts to be identified and leaked by workers from across all departments and the manufacturing supply chain.

    2) To prevent cannibalism. Naming it iPad 3 will eat into iPad 2’s sales which they STILL wants to sell at a lower price so as to fend off cheaper android ‘tablets’.
    Customers walking into the Apple store WILL BE presented with a CHOICE when they ask for an iPad; The newer iPad or the old iPad 2 but at lower price.
    Instead of all customers going in the store asking for the iPad “3” only.

    3) Naming it iPad HD will play Apple into the hands of its competitors. Imagine if this was the case, you will see Samsung Tab HD, Asus Pad HD, and all sort of cheap imitators jumping on the HD pad bandwagon.
    Leaving it for consumers to check out for themselves the new iPad’s superior Retina display is better.

    4) Moving inline with the naming convention of iPods and Macbooks etc.. etc..

  • Roger Ramshit

    Fully agree that by not usng HD it makes it harder for competitors to ride their coat tails.
    Fully agree that it brings it in line with other products (except the iPhone).

    Another reason will be that it will make it easier to bring in another model eg. IPad Mini….just like there is iPod nano, iPod shuffle ,etc. imagine if you had to start calling products like iPad HD and iPad Mini HD….doesn’t make sense.

  • Roger Ramshit

    Last thing they need is do what MS did, Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000, 2003, Vista, 7′ 8…. Product line is all over the place.

  • Roger Ramshit

    They’ll do what they do with all their other products.

  • Roger Ramshit

    In fact the more I think about it it really will make it hard for competitors to differentiate their own products by comparing it to Apples. The best they can do is use the term ‘current iPad’ but it loses it’s punch in any argument.

  • Roger Ramshit

    Don’t think you can argue this. Steve did some quirky things and they were often questioned at the time.

  • aramishero

    Shut up guys and move on… that is no big deal whatever it names… As long as the iPad have a great feature. If you don’t like then just GTFO… It’s doesn’t matter how you think about the name. Love it then just buy it, Hate it then just GTFO.

  • aramishero

    Shut up guys and move on… that is no big deal whatever it names… As long as the iPad have a great feature. If you don’t like then just GTFO… It’s doesn’t matter how you think about the name. Love it then just buy it, Hate it then just GTFO.

  • Eduard Tiesto

    I get it now, but this year is still seems odd, with the iPad 2 still in production. Next year they’ll lose the number and it will all look less silly. Gotta think about the iPhone, though – if they keep the 3-phone-at-3-prices strategy, then this year we’ll have 4-4s-“new iPhone”, next year 4s-iPhone-iPhone etc. So i’m not sure how they’ll market that, unless they sell, say, an 8g 4s for free (on contract) and launch “the new iPhone” at capacities to fit their current pricing scheme. well… it looks i got too much time on my hands this morning :)

  • DamienLavizzo

    No it will be just like the MacBook Pro. We aren’t calling this year’s MacBook Pros “MacBook Pro 7” or whatever iteration it is, just like cars don’t sequelize their products either. Imagine walking into a Ford dealership and asking to test drive a Focus 18. Silly, right? Apple is positioning the iPad as a similar, touchstone product. It’s just “the iPad”, and it happens to get better every year. 

  • Phil Cuddy

    Ummmm, OSX?

    Version 10.7

  • JF Schnell

     What new device were they creating? I’m on this business for a while and I haven’t seen a new tablet. Tablets were around for a while. The Apple momentum sounds like they invented something in fact they didn’t. Everyone know this is just a huge iPod touch nothing else. The tablet was already the problem was none has put much effort into having it look cool as the iPhone

  • JF Schnell

     It’s the iPad now fanboys go and get it… and make that nonsense party… the cult of Apple.

  • John Howell

    OK, rephrase, Apple Hardware. You pretty much have to version software because it updates so fast. 8)
    However, this is a little more like some cars.  I have a 2002 Mazda RX8. No badges on it indicate its an Gen1, or a lower spec model, and is in such good condition it looks as good as a 2010 RX8 8)
    Maybe the same with the iPad?

  • babdoc

    Or maybe the numbering system satisfied our egos. It’s easier to look cool by saying that your number of iPhone iteration is higher than your buddy’s. You sounded much more current. Now, all you can say is, “yeah, well I have a ‘newer’ iThing.”

  • RB


  • MisterL30N

    I don’t understand the point that you are making. It seems irrelevant to the discussion of the number associated with the device.

  • rickcolosimo

     No, the New iPad will be the Pont Neuf of iPads, hundreds of years from now. it’ll give technology tour guides and museum curators a petit bon mot to share with impressionable schoolkids.

  • Sam Elfer

    I don’t think this was entirely unpredictable, in fact I suggested Apple might drop numerals from it’s devices back in July last year before the 4s was release (…, but it does raise some questions. Comparisons to numeral free macs is all very well, but iPads and iPhones tend to be bought on contract which gives them a kind of implied shelf life, and it’s very much apparently what iteration you’re using in terms of compatibility with current software/infrastructure (ie 4g, Siri etc). If it gets to the point where you have to find some identifier for your idevice to understand whether you can do something or get support, that’s going to get tricky for Apple.

  • tornacious

    This is the worst naming mistake since Windows NT (new technology), and look how well that turned out.

    We need some name for it, so how about NiP (new iPad)?

    Let’s hear everyone’s ideas here.

  • tornacious

    Read my mind and I suppose more than a few others. The capper was when MS merged the two distinct products, Windows 9x and Windows NT, into one product called Windows XP. Figure that naming disaster out and I’ll buy you lunch!

  • m_hardwick

     they did it with iPods, next year we will just be talking about 2nd gen, 3rd gen, 4th gen.

  • volodoscope

    Well why would Apple try to call every iPad a different name? iPod never had such different names, it was always new iPod. Same with iMac. iPhone is a different story because it’s tied in with a service provider. But calling iPad and iPad is the right way, Apple.

  • Evan Clark

    People are so dumb. It’s not literally called “The New iPad”. It’s just called “iPad”. They added the new just to clarify that it was the new one. They can’t just put “iPad” on signs in stores and expect people to know that it just came out. They have to add “New” so people will know. “New” is not actually in the name. 

  • Shaun Green

    Are you blind – look at the picture at the top of this page – it’s called “the new iPad”. It’s just plain stupid. I think what happened was half the management team wanted to call it iPad 3 and the other half iPad HD. In the past Steve would have stepped in and made the decision. But now Tim Cook wimped out and decided to call it nothing so there were no more arguments. I’m certain that is what happened.

  • venasque

    Man I don’t know dude.  I have a different view on it, and I felt the same way when the 4S was released.  It’s just a name.  I get that there are preferences and the like, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matte.  It just seems like a trivial thing to get really hung up on when considering the big picture.  They could call it a “fancy box” and I wouldn’t care.  What it actually IS matters more because everything else is just a title/label. 

  • Bob Roebling

    It’s the same effect as the iPod.  It always has been and most likely always will be just iPod.  There wasn’t an iPod, iPod 2, iPod 2S, iPod HD, etc…  It makes it simple, you buy and iPod and you get the newest one.  Once it becomes outdated with a newer model it becomes iPod (x generation).

  • recyclops117

    Do you call the newest set of say MacBooks the new MacBook? No you call it a MacBook air plain and simple. That’s what there doing with the iPad. Be careful you might hurt you’re self falling to conclusions.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Every product beyond initial introduction of the first few years lose numerical designations. New versions of the iMac, MacBookPro, MacBookAir, MacPro, MiniMac, iPodTouch, etc are just referred to as the new….whatever. I bet the new iPhone will be just that too…the new iPhone. 

    Personally I prefer a numbering system since they’re easier to keep track of and organized, but Apple’s system is a cleaner presentation to the public. Schiller was just playing with reporters when they asked that moronic question by responding “we don’t want to be predictable.”

  • falkmeyer

    Albeit it’s always marketed as OS X <cat name=””>…</cat>

  • Mike Rathjen

     I wonder why so many people start Windows at 3.1.

    Also, you forgot XP, which certainly adds to the naming confusion.

  • Mike

    To throw a spanner into all the above.

    I’ll never buy coke, since its not new. I’ll never buy an ipad since it has no number.

    I’m also a Samsung product manager, who used to work at Apple 2 weeks ago.

    But you’d believe anything anything I’d write and decide what pill to take if I told you

  • elthesensai

    You sir are a idiot.

  • walk0080

     I agree… although they call it the ‘new iPad’ now, once they stop selling the iPad2 it will just be called the ‘iPad (3rd generation)’ like they do with most of their Apple products.

  • walk0080

     Got to love random Internet guy calling Steve Jobs by his first name.

  • 3zozmega

    Don’t you guys see it, Schiller has answered half the question. Imagine that after a 134 years, there’ll be somthing wrong in naming the iPad “iPad 134”, it just feels wrong and i think that not only Apple should stop those numbers count, but also Sony, Xbox, etc…

    This confirms that Apple considers every tiny detail in everything.