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Summary:

The cat is out of the bag: Apple’s new tablet won’t be called iPad 3 or iPad HD, but simply the new iPad. That may sound like an odd choice at first, but it signals a profound change, as the iPad is dominating the post-PC world.

March 2012 iPad launch event

March 2012 iPad launch eventOne of the big mysteries ahead of Wednesday’s Apple event was a simple question: What is the new iPad going to be called? The tech press had long settled on iPad 3, but some outlets had recently reported that the product name would actually be iPad HD, in reference to the new high-resolution Retina display.

Apparently, Apple wasn’t having any of that. More than an hour into the show, Apple CEO Tim Cook finally revealed that the new iPad is called just that: the new iPad.

It seems like an odd choice at first sight, especially in light of the fact that Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 for $399. However, the new name signals something much more profound than just a new product generation.

Apple is acknowledging that we have arrived in a post-PC world, where iPads aren’t just niche products for gadget lovers with an eye for specs and revision numbers. Instead, they’re among the best-selling computing devices, something that everyone uses to explore the Internet, do commerce and consume media.

Cook himself spent a good amount of time at the beginning of the event talking about this shift. The iPad reinvented portable computing, he said, defining a whole new product category, with sales exceeding even the wildest predictions. This in turn is  shaping Apple’s business model: The company sold 172 million iPhones, iPods and iPads last year, and iOS-based devices now account for 72 percent of Apple’s revenue. Apple sold 62 million iOS devices in the holiday quarter alone.

Part of this post-PC reality is a new normalcy. Consumers don’t have to be sold on getting a new iOS device anymore; they’re on everyone’s short list when contemplating a new purchase. And that’s especially true in the tablet market, where Apple sells more devices than all of its competitors combined. So it’s time for the company to treat its post-PC products the same way it’s been treating its PC product segments for some time: as devices you’re going to buy and frequently replace over several product generations, no matter the specs.

Apple has long been doing this in the PC space, where its products are simply called MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac mini. Sure, the most dedicated Apple followers will always know which generation of the MacBook Pro has which CPU, and which ports are present on which laptop iteration. But for the rest of us, these differences don’t matter all that much. We buy the latest generation, trusting Apple that the hardware will live up to our expectations. We expect the MacBook Air to be the best in portable computing and the MacBook Pro to be powerful – and we don’t need complicated revision numbers to keep track of all the changes over the years.

In a way, not going for names like iPad 3 or iPad HD shows that the iPad has grown up: it’s a device that’s here to stay and shape the post-PC world for years to come. It’s the new iPad, made for a new world.

  1. Sorry Janko but when public schools who have bought “the new iPad” decide to upgrade to the next new iPad a few years from now all this stupid decision will lead to is confusion.

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    1. Do you really believe the decision makers in the public schools won’t recognize the next version of the iPad?

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      1. you’re right. It won’t matter since schools spend tax dollars. Their best interest is hopefully in education and not their own bottom line but that is rarely the case.

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    2. Yeah, this has clearly been an issue for the last twenty years of Apple’s relationship with the education sector. Wait, a Macbook Pro made in 2010 is better than the one from 2007?! Shocking!

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  2. oneconcernedguy Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Bad strategy. I wonder if Steve Jobs could make such a huge mistake. It does not really exist in the mind of people if it does not have a specific name. This is not a sign of growing up, this is a sign of …up!
    I see a sharp drop in apple’s shares in the coming days. My recommendation: choose a name for it now before it is too late.

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    1. Just like the name “iPad” failed. Everyone said it was a stupid name, but guess what….

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      1. Incremental revs of the imac don’t have a unique name either, it’s not really necessary for what is a pretty minor update.

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      2. oneconcernedguy Wednesday, March 7, 2012

        There is a big competition going on among all tablet makers. This is not like the pc market in which we have all other brands under the Windows umbrella, and then we have macs. In tablet market, a specific name is vital. Apple cannot force it upon people to accept iPad as a ‘unique’ thing, and force them to consider all other tablets under ‘other’ umbrellas. Like it or not, there are many other tablets which are more or less the same as iPad and many people prefer those tablets unless apple could convince them otherwise. A no name strategy is hardly convincing.
        This is “no name” ipad for the time being. And like all other “no name” products, it is less appealing.

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      3. I believe that just calling it “the new iPad’ is kind of stupid. All of apples products whether its a big upgrade or a small upgrade should change, its what keeps their products unique. Think about the 4S, what did they add? a faster processor and a better camera but they changed the name getting people out there to buy the new iPhone 4S!

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    2. Here is the real name of the iPad just released, OCG. The iPad (2012).
      I shall be updating from my MacBook (mid-2007) to the next MacBook Air (2012).
      Sits well with me. Apple is simplicity.

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      1. whatever Apple calls it – it seems they have the midas touch anyway.

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    3. You are wrong. And time will prove that you are wrong.

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  3. Even if they call the new product line iPad 3 or iPad HD, I’m sure this product is going to be costly just like other Apple products.

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    1. Peter Evensen Wednesday, March 7, 2012

      Yes, because comparable Android tablets are half the cost of the iPad… oh wait.

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      1. BUUUUURNED

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  4. This is an indication of the coming revolution…next device is not going to be called iPAD….

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  5. The “new iPad” name bothered me, but after reading your article, I understand and respect what Apple has done. Apple always has a purpose to what they do.

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  6. Only the iPads and iPhones had specific designations. The rest of their products: laptops, desktops, iPods, apple tv, displays, etc don’t have an edition number attached to them.

    Apple doesn’t name their devices weird names like all of the other phone and tablet manufactures do because they just continue to build on the older design and improve it as apposed to bringing out an entirely new product. The only naming system that works is no designation in the retail name for new editions or numbers, and numbers only are logical for so many generations. Do you really think it will sounds good 10 years down the road when we are talking about the iPhone 14, no way. It also moves to a bit of a culture of not trying to push the newest and best product onto people. Of course us geeks are going to know what the newest one is but like the article says most users don’t care what the newest/best/coolest device is if their device is working fine for them.

    We all knew there was going to have to be this awkward transition phase but it has to happen for logics sake. Soon it will be normal when we look at the iPhones and iPads and see the lower processor speeds and memory being the cheaper models and the newer ones being the more expensive ones, same as with all of the other devices. The processors on the low end MBPs are the ones that were high end a year or so ago, and we don’t think its weird.

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    1. oneconcernedguy Wednesday, March 7, 2012

      Their laptops, desktops etc do not need a more specific name rather than “apple” because the majority of laptop and desktop products belong to another operation system i.e. Windows, altogether. So, the name “apple” or “mac” is specific enough for marketing purposes.
      However, in the mobile phone market (and tablet market), apple products are not considered as the minority anymore, and furthermore, there is a full fledged competition going on among all phone and tablet producers in which various phone and tablet companies try to make their products more appealing, not less appealing. You want to make your product ‘different’ than other similar products in the market. But a “no name” tablet simply cannot manage to succeed to be sold in a fierce competition because the point of differentiation (its name) is not present. That is why this “no name” thing is a bad strategy. They are not done with the competition, but they pretend that they are done with it. Bad decision and they will most likely suffer the consequences. It is as if they prefer to be considered as the minority again which means less market share. A strategy suitable for a unique and rare product, is not going to work when the product is not unique and rare anymore. So, they should either give it a specific name and be fully present in the competition, or they are going to lose their market share and consequently let other manufacturers to step in and steal their market.

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      1. You are insufferable. There’s no way that a name has that large of an impact on Apple’s success. Yes, it has some sway into how a product is perceived, but Apple has come too far to lose any market share due to a name. Increased competition throughout the tablet market will eventually decrease their market share as other companies catch up to Apple’s design capabilities (similar to the smartphone market), but this will not happen because they did not name their third generation iPad the iPad AWESOME.

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  7. Peter Evensen Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Apple has long done this with the iPod touch. We didn’t have the iPod touch 5, or 4, just the latest revision. If the version was an issue, people would say “5th gen” etc.

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    1. But is the official name of their new tablet “The new iPad”, or just “iPad”? That’s where it gets confusing to me. I mean, what happens when the next iPad comes out? Does that take over the name of “The new iPad”? Will it be called “The new iPad 2nd generation”?
      And what will the this tablet be called then? “The old new iPad”?

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      1. Dude I agree with you – I tried searching for the new iPad on eBay and only got Ipad 2′s – I had to actually type in “the new iPad” to get hits as simply typing iPad have me the first gen 1. What happens next year?

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  10. Marcio Morgado Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    personally I think it’s more the fact that the new iPad is still the same size and weight as the old one. Wouldn’t be right calling it the iPad 3 when only the hardware was really upgraded and nothing was done to the design. Don’t get me wrong I love the design of the iPad but I think that’s why Apple stuck with “the new iPad”

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