With the new iPad, what's in a name?

Just about all the rumor sites and analysts were correct when it came to the specs of the new iPad rolled out by Apple CEO Tim Cook yesterday. Retina display. Faster chip. LTE.

There was even talk that the new model would be slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, and that turned out to be true, too.

Everyone was baffled, however, by the iPad's new name: "The new iPad." Confusion abounded on liveblogs and Twitter feeds when yesterday's event ended and people started ordering iPads. And the question about the new non-name was the first thing that came up in the short news video I did with Keith Shaw right after the iPad's unveiling. (See video below.)

But it actually does make sense, even if marketing types might disagree. Let me explain.

If you're sitting in front of, say, an Apple iMac right now and reading this, which iMac are you using? The iMac 1, the iMac 4? (Yes, I know you can point to the screen size, but most people would just say they're using an iMac.)

That MacBook Pro you take with you on the road -- well, which one is it? The MacBook Pro 2? 3? 5? Does it really matter?

Short answer, no.

You're using an iMac, or a MacBook Pro, or perhaps a Mac Pro. The specs will vary, of course, and certainly screen size can be used to differentiate between laptop models. But you don't really need a number, except maybe for bragging rights. The same is true for the new iPad. It's an iPad. You can call it the iPad 3 if you want to explain to people what you're holding, or you can just tell them it's the new iPad. Wait. It is the new iPad.

(Yes, when ordering online through the Apple store it's shown as the "iPad (third-generation), most likely to avoid confusion with the iPad 2.)

Which leads me to my point: Apple has changed the way it names these things and I doubt it'll change back. Just as an iMac is an iMac is an iMac -- sorry, Gertrude -- an iPad is now an iPad.

As for that new iPhone everyone expects out this fall -- the "iPhone 5," as everyone's been calling it? Don't count on that 5 or any other number being there.

Coming soon: "the new iPhone." We'd better get used to it.

Short Take: Apple's 'New iPad' has retina display, 4G LTE

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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