Poll: Users diss 'new iPad' name for Apple's next tablet

By a 53%-to-47% margin, vote against generic name for higher-resolution third-gen iPad

Apple's generic name for its new iPad -- that's the name, "the new iPad" -- got the thumbs down in a just-concluded poll of more than 1,100 Internet users.

SodaHead.com, which bills itself as the Web's "premier opinion-based community," started the vote last week after Apple unveiled the third-generation device, and wrapped up polling today.

The results of the poll, which posed the simple question "Do you like the name of the new iPad?" to site users, was a defeat for Apple: By a 53%-to-47% margin, voters picked "No, I liked the old format" over the alternative of "Yes, it's new and fresh!"

Bloggers and other pundits had speculated, sometimes based on claims from inside sources, that the iPad would be labeled "iPad 3" or "iPad HD," the latter a concession to an anticipated higher-resolution screen.

Although the six-point margin of victory for the "nay" votes may seem like a tight race, in election terms it's a landslide by some definitions.

In 1992, for example, Bill Clinton beat then-current President George H. W. Bush by 5.6% of the popular vote, less than the margin in SodaHead's survey, but easily won the election in the Electoral College by grabbing 69% of those votes.

The poll, of course, was unscientific, SodaHead founder Jason Feffer acknowledged in an interview Thursday. "We're not calling people on Sunday to interrupt their dinners," said Feffer, referring to pollsters' habit of telephoning at the most inopportune time. "We put polls on the site and hope that the sheer numbers [of voters] work out."

SodaHead has about 10 million unique visitors each month, said Feffer, and although voters are predominantly English speakers, they are not limited to the United States.

The iPad name survey was one that SodaHead's staff created, then promoted not only on the site but also via an email newsletter that goes out to a quarter-million people. User-generated polls on SodaHead typically collect far fewer votes, anywhere between 25 and 100, said Feffer, not the 1,000+ generated by the iPad name question.

Feffer saw the poll's margin as relatively tight, however.

"We've done a lot of polling about Apple, whether it's been about new Apple products or the death of [former CEO] Steve Jobs," said Feffer. "There's always controversy around Apple, which creates splits like this. Some people always praise Apple to the 'T,' others criticize it to the 'T.' They pick sides, sometimes even before the question is asked."

SodaHead also collects demographic data on those who vote in its polls -- often through access users have granted to their Facebook profiles -- but Feffer saw little there that explained the thumbs down on "the new iPad" name.

"Looking at the demographic breakdowns, where's the difference?" asked Feffer, who then pointed out one area -- education -- that showed a trend. "People with less education seemed more likely to not like the name than those with more education," Feffer said.

Apple unveiled the new iPad on March 7, but will not begin selling the tablet at retail -- or delivering pre-orders placed through its online store -- until tomorrow.

The iPad's lack of a number or additional description seemed to bother not only the majority of those polled, but also Feffer.

"What is Apple going to call the next iPad?" he asked. "The new, new iPad?"

The SodaHead poll results and voter comments can be viewed on the company's website.

iPad poll
Voters dismissed Apple' generic name for its new iPad by a margin of 53% to 47%.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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