I think Apple is correcting a mistake that they made. Most Apple laptop owners have no idea what generation product they have. I own a MacBook Air. Before that I owned some Macbooks, MacBook Pros, and Powerbooks. The same with iPods, though there was differentiation based on features (remember the iPod Photo?).
I suspect that the next iPhone will just be "the new iPhone" as well. There will be another "new iPad" released and then another "new iPhone". When you want an iPad or an iPhone, go buy one. It will be new unless it is used.
"Because of this precise naming, it’s easy to identify and buy them used on secondary markets like eBay and Craigslist. However, if you’re looking to buy the latest iPad, are you really just supposed to type “the new iPad” into a search box and reliably get results for the 3rd generation model?"
Yes, if buying a new iPad you should just be able to go to Apple.com or BestBuy.com and type in iPad to buy the newest one. As for buying them used or from unauthorized dealers, I can imagine Apple caring about that problem anytime soon.
"Does this case fit my new iPhone, or does it fit the old new iPhone or the old old new iPhone?"
I guess one way to deal with this would be for the aftermarket industry to start working with model years as is done with cars. If you're going to buy aftermarket add-ons for your Apple devices, know the year model, and then have the case/cable/etc people publish year model compatibility.
Which is also how Apple themselves handle most of their laptop models, eg the "MacBook Pro (Late 2011)" or the "MacBook Air (Mid 2011)". This would seem to be the most sensible solution.
Don't you mean "control". Apple doesn't want to allow the customer control over that at all. Like you say it makes it for more difficult to access after-market products that fit your device.
I've been really frustrated by a similar thing with an old laptop recently. The company reuses the exact same model name for vastly different devices - it's really hard to get good information, to access support, to purchase parts &c. simply because the idiots can't use a unique model name.
It's like a family choosing to name every male David Davidson ...
Intentionally making naming confusing is not a benefit to the consumer AFAICT; it only potentially benefits Apple.
From the perspective of the majority, their naming is less confusing not more confusing. This is why people love MacBook and loathe the Dell InspironXE E1795fpw-A
You think InspironXE users hate it because when they want more an fru or to access model specifid support they just look on the back and type in the code rather than having to have in depth knowledge of a companies development cycle??
Do you think car drivers hate that tyre makers print the id on the tyre enabling buying a replacement or that auction/sale sites can refer to specifc model numbers that act as a primary key on all the cars features?
In your world presumably all coffee drinks in Starbucks would just be called 'coffee' because having names like latté and cappuccino is too confusing?
I really don't give a shit what you prefer. Consumers want simplicity because technology is scary. Apple provides that by anthropomorphizing their products and Apple wins because of it. Apple does it on every front: naming, hardware design, software features, voice recognition, etc.
Consumers need for those things to be resaleable and repairable if they want the human race to efficienlty use the resources available on the planet.
Apple don't care about all that they want to remove the ability to even refer to anything other than the latest bit of worker-exploiting high-fashion shiny-shiny that they insist you must have to be fulfilled.
Consumers feel choice to be a burden and want to be told what to do, think, like, and buy. Control is felt as a burden.
Apple part matching in this scenario becomes much like the famous definition of obscenity- I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it.
Pretty sure I've just been trolled, but whatever.
The mistake wasn't calling the latest iPad 'the new iPad' the mistake was calling the previous one 'iPad 2'. Case in point, look at the iPod. There are the 'Touch', 'Shuffle', 'Nano', and 'Classic' models. Except that the device for each model name has undergone a series of changes and upgrades throughout its life.
I would hazard a guess that the model numbers on the phone are an anomaly that is brought to you in part because of FCC licensing restrictions. The FCC is a lot less forgiving about licenses and model names/numbers.
Going forward there may be an iPad 'mini' (and then the iPod touch could get rechristened the iPad nano, and no, there won't be an iPad Maxi :-) But I doubt we'll see the numbers come back.
But the different versions of each model have had 'distinct' names, right? I distinctly remember seeing the first 'tiny' iPod Shuffle called the Shuffle 2G (which caused me, and I am sure others, no end of confusion given its 1 GB of storage). Maybe it just wasn't officially called that by Apple?
They have distinct model numbers which generally represents a configuration, but they don't have distinct 'names'. I believe the 'Shuffle 2G' was in fact the Shuffle "second Generation" and yes some folks called it the 2G and that did confuse even more folks.
Now I don't condone this sort of naming, but I understand where Apple is coming from.
Additionally, the iPhone and iPad seem poorly suited for this strategy due to the way they sell old models side by side with new ones. Will they just sell the "iPad" next to the "new iPad" with "new" moving along to the newest one? What if they go back another generation like with the 3GS currently?
The 5 will likely bump the 4 out and move the 4S in to take it's place at the $99 tier.
iPad 2 had 2 cameras and FaceTime which changed the experience of the device. The mistake they made wih the ipad3 was that it came we a better display and that is what people wanted but they didn't signify he difference in the product name.
The reason this wasn't as important for the MacBooks is your everyday layman end user couldn't tell large differences between iterations other than body style which doesn't really change its capability all that much. Apple doesn't emphasize mobile specs so those differences wouldn't stand out as much as hardware and feature set.
I don't think I've ever owned an Apple product that had a number in the name, not that you'd know from looking at it. Some people just need something to complain about, I guess.
It should also be pointed out that Apple consistently does not use the definite article with product names in order to personalize the branding, going back to the first Macintosh. It's not the iPad, just... iPad.
Most people probably couldn't tell you if they were looking at a PowerMac G5 or a Mac Pro, unless they'd used one long enough to remember which drive bays and I/O ports they have (or took the side off to see if it has the giant "G5" CPU covers).
The new (Retina) Macbook Pro does the same: the label is gone, at least from the front.
I assume this is to make it less 'technical' and more 'appliance'-like: apart from some (old / non-mainstream) hi-fi equipment, no electronic item in my kitchen or living room has a model number visible during normal use, only a brand name or logo.
And, yes, it is confusing, especially since Apple is the one who started it with the iPad 2. Ford also differentiates its models with "2012".
iPhone = iPhone 2007. iPhone 3G = iPhone 2008. iPhone 3GS = iPhone 2009. iPhone 4 = iPhone 2010. iPhone 4S = iPhone 2011. "iPhone 5" = iPhone 2012.
Even if Apple were to never refer to them by those names, it's such an obvious naming convention (so far) that it's surprising that so many people are missing it.
the mistake apple made with ipad/iphone branding was not to drop the 1/2/3 numbering scheme, it was to use it in the first place.
If you need to be more specific, the model numbers are as follows:
MC705ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB – Black
MC706ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi only 32GB – Black
MC707ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB – Black
MD366ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 4G 16GB – Black
MD367ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 4G 32GB – Black
MD368ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 4G 64GB – Black
MD328ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB – White
MD329ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi only 32GB – White
MD330ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB – White
MD369ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 4G 16GB – White
MD370ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 4G 32GB – White
MD371ZP/A – iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 4G 64GB – White
They have unique identifiers. The product you walk in to the store and buy is "iPad".
What is the question?
So the question is: if you want to buy an aftermarket device, do you really have to search for items where the same form factor has a dozen variants? I've had this problem previously, where I've had a laptop with an uncommon variant number, and finding parts for it required finding someone else's variant number to search on.
I'd suspect Apple is purposefully trying to disassociate the iPad with the iPhone and realigning it with the Mac line by changing naming conventions. If that's the case, this post is pretty good evidence that it hasn't really worked out so far.
Except, you know, the Macintosh II...
Or the Mac LC (followed by the Mac LC II and then the Mac LC III)...
Or the original Power Macintosh models (like the 6100, followed by the 6200, 6300, 6400)...
And then the PowerMac G3 (followed by the G4 and the G5)...
Apple has changed from numbered to unnumbered model names (and back) before.
Generally speaking, I referred to my iPad 2 as an "iPad", and when not in the process of purchasing accessories or arranging repairs, I commonly call my "MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011)" a "MacBook", "Mac", or, most frequently, "computer", in line with the common practice of most everybody I know, technically-inclined or otherwise, unless there's some need to either disambiguate or brag.
It's different, because Macbooks have specs instead. A certain amount of GHz, memory, disk space, HD or SSD, particular ports... the relevant information is in the specifications, which are generally included in advertisements. The model itself doesn't matter so much -- especially because people can upgrade specific aspects of individual models.
But iPads/iPhones don't "have" specs, which is a conscious decision on Apple's part. Who knows how much RAM it has, or what its processor speed is? And they're not upgradeable. You can't choose more RAM. So you need some kind of identifier to figure out what the performance is like. Hence, iPhone 3GS or 4 or 4S.
"New iPad" is just stupid, as proven by the point that everyone has wound up calling it the iPad 3 anyways. It's as stupid as if Microsoft called Windows 8 "new Windows" or Toyota stopped giving year names to their cars. Just ask: what comes after "new iPad"? I can't even guess.
So, regardless of intent, people will find a way to use precise labels, especially on secondary markets.
(Although I might even argue that it is dis-preferred: when you go to a dealer to get a new car, you get the "2012 Chevy Cruze LT", but when you advertise it as Chevrolet you might simply say "the new Cruze is the most powerful yet". I do not know if Apple actually provides specific guidance to not use the "3rd generation" terminology.)
And how will Apple refer to "The New iPad" after it is, uh, old.
It reminds me of the eighties. "Star Trek, the Next Generation" is now many generations behind...
Uh, shouldn't that be: "The new iPad is dead. Long live the iPad3!"? If they were not attempting to riff off of: "The King is dead. Long live the King." then the sentence really makes no sense.
Nobody cares with regard to the various Mac refreshes, but it was a customer-unfriendly move in this case.
To me, it seems like Apple is simply resetting expectations.