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Vigilantes Have Renamed "The new iPad" (priceonomics.com)
55 points by omarish on July 9, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 64 comments

"we’ve come to expect precise and sequential product naming from Apple - the iPhone, followed by the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, and 4S."

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.

While I appreciate the reasons Apple wants to step away from version-marking their devices, it causes massive confusion in a few important areas, at least assuming they aren't ready to lock down form-factors and connector cable formats forevermore.


"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.

> 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.

Which is also how Apple themselves handle most of their laptop models, eg the "MacBook Pro (Late 2011)"[1] or the "MacBook Air (Mid 2011)"[2]. This would seem to be the most sensible solution.

  [1]: http://support.apple.com/kb/SP644
  [2]: http://support.apple.com/kb/SP631

I think Apple would love to solve that "confusion" by just having you step into an Apple store with your device and ask the helpful employees for whatever accessory you want, and let them deal with figuring it out for you. Apple doesn't want the consumer to have to care about that at all.

>Apple doesn't want the consumer to have to care about that at all. //

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 ...

Control slices two ways. Control can be a burden.

Give me a break. Is knowing what version your iPhone is a burden when you want to purchase an aftermarket accessory? How is knowing a name a burden to the customer? Under a named system, even if the customer forgets the model number, he's still no worse off than if he were under Apple's lack-of-naming scheme.

Intentionally making naming confusing is not a benefit to the consumer AFAICT; it only potentially benefits Apple.

Some tech nerds are unable to empathize with normal people.

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

So you're saying that people loved their polycarbonate bubbling base Macbooks because Apple refused to print a model id on the bottom? I'm pretty sure that's factually incorrect.

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'd like a late-2011 venti skinny mocha chai latte please.

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 want what Apple tell them to want.

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.

So you agree with my original point then.

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.

That works great if every [potential or current] Apple customer lives near one of the 364 Apple stores, but the vast majority of people in the world do not.

It also works great if you don't mind burning all that time having to make the appointment, get to the store and then wait in line, just to end up dealing with someone who can't actually tell you which device you have, because his company never bothered to name it correctly in the first place.

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.

So, I take it you haven't actually been in an Apple Store, since you don't need a reservation to make a purchase, or to ask a question of one of the employees. Nor is there a queue to have a clerk assist you. And the clerk not knowing which device you own is laughable.

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.

> 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.

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?

But the different versions of each model have had 'distinct' names, right?

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.

Any time I've bought a memory upgrade for a MacBook I've been annoyed by that strategy. At least back in the day "Lombard" or "Pismo" or "Wallstreet" was more memorable than "Early 2011."

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?

Now that information is available in the About This Mac -> More Info screen.

I think the iPhones are named so as to be easily tiered. Right now Apple sells iPhones at 3 price points (minus extra storage models for the highest end). 3GS at $0, 4 at $99, and 4S at $199.

The 5 will likely bump the 4 out and move the 4S in to take it's place at the $99 tier.

No, what is more probable is that the hardware was different enough to need to change it. iPhone3g and iPhone 3GS had different hardware and software that some apps Bly worked for the 3GS. Going to the iPhone 4 had retina display which makes a big difference.

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.

While I think this makes sense, I've often had the feeling that there's a keeping-up-with-the-Jones' aspect to having an iPhone, driving people to get the new models based on comparison -- "Which iPhone do you have? 3G? Oh, mine is 3GS." How would this play out without labels? "Oh, you have a new iPad? Mine is new, I bought it 6 months ago. Oh, is yours a new new iPad?"

I just glanced at an iPad 2 and the box it came in, and interestingly I don't see "2" anywhere except for in the small print on the label on the back, by the model number. The back of the iPad just says "iPad" as does the side of the box. So once you actually bought the thing, the branding on the iPod 2 wasn't very 2-centric at all either.

I have an iPhone 3G and an iPhone 4 here-- they both say "iPhone" on the back. I have an iPad 2 and an iPad 3-- they both say "iPad". I have a MacBook labeled "MacBook", a MacBook Pro labeled "MacBook Pro", and a MacBook Air labeled "MacBook Air".

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.

The Mac Pro takes this a step further: it doesn't even say "Mac Pro" on itself anywhere, even in fine print on the back.

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.

Apple is trying to move the iPad in the same direction as the Macbook and iMac. You don't buy a MacBook Air 14e. You buy a MacBook Air. When you sell it, you sell a 2011 MacBook Air. When you say you bought a new Ford Mustang, people know what you are (generally) talking about (with the occasional "new to me" confusion for good measure).

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".

They should just give them year numbers. This is the 2012 iPad. Older models are the 2011 iPad and the 2010 iPad. The system is perfectly simple to understand and has planned obsolescence.

iPad 1 = iPad 2010. iPad 2 = iPad 2011. iPad 3 = iPad 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.

Then they release two models at the same time and your key is not looking so primary any more.

and it's exactly the system that resellers use for mac models. if you're looking for a macbook or an imac or anything you have to search for a year, not a number.

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.

You are supposed to call it "iPad". Done.

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?

Your list explicitly uses the term "iPad 3", not "iPad".

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.

The question is, "which used iPad are you offering to sell?"

The article misses the obvious comparison to the Mac line. Over time people will naturally refer to them by the year they were released.

Interesting point. I think that's also due to some influence on Apple's part, because Macs were never released with sequential numbers like the iPhone.

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.

> because Macs were never released with sequential numbers like the iPhone.

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.

ah yes, oops-- I meant the MacBook line rather than Mac line

Right, except for the fact that Apple lists it as "iPad (3rd Generation)", not "iPad (Early 2012)", so if you're right, they're trying to align it with the iPod rather than the Mac. Simple product line => simple names => simplified purchasing experience. No need to read anything more into it.

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.

I'm guessing apple just doesn't care that much about the secondary market for their products since they make all their money off selling new products. It'd be nice if they did though!

To people saying it makes sense, because Macbooks don't have numbers:

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.

In the keynote Apple referred to it as "iPad", as a proper noun.

And in all their marketing. It's always "with iPad you can", or "on iPad...". An interesting strategy that doesn't seem to have rubbed off on consumers.

Interestingly, Amazon bypasses the problem by just using the serial number as part of the name: "Apple iPad MD328LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, White) NEWEST MODEL by Apple"

So, regardless of intent, people will find a way to use precise labels, especially on secondary markets.

The term "iPad (3rd generation)" is not "vigilante", it is simply dis-preferred. That name actually came from Apple: it is how they describe the product on their support website (where it is, of course, necessary to be exact).


(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.)

I call mine iPad (Early 2012), which is also how you refer to MacBooks (e.g. MacBook Pro 17 (Mid 2010)). There's also the model identifier like "Model Identifier: MacBookAir4,2" but other than developers, no one uses that.

It makes me curious, what will the next iPad after "The New iPad" will be called?

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...

They'll do what they do with their Macs. Today's iPad will become "iPad (early 2012)."

It will also be the new iPad. Note the lack of quotation marks. The current iPad is not named "The New iPad", it's just "iPad".

Is it me, or are the stories making it to the top of this list getting worse and worse? "Some people have invented an informal name for Apple's latest toy." Great. Which part of this "hacker news" ?

If you can't name your product, your consumers will name it for you.

> Long live the iPad 3, The new iPad is dead!

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.


I'm surprised "retina iPad" isn't in the poll... That's what I've been calling it, matching the "retina MacBook pro" convention.

It's listed as "iPad 3rd generation" under the compatibility section for accessories on the apple store.

I find it fascinating how little attention this huge branding mistake has gotten. It was extraordinarily amateurish on the part of Apple, the kind of mistake I would have expected from Microsoft a few years ago. Except had Microsoft made that mistake, they would have been properly ridiculed for it.

They already follow this naming format with the iPod Touch, and no one has any problem buying them, or selling them on eBay. This whole thing is a made up problem.

As jaxn said, Apple has been making this "mistake" with Macs for years and it hasn't hurt them.

And iPods. The iPod touch 1st generation, 2nd generation, 3rd generation, 4th generation were just the "new iPod touch".

The problem is, they're still selling the previous-generation models. Assuming they do the same thing with the iPhone 5, calling it only the "new iPhone", the confusion will be even more widespread.

Nobody cares with regard to the various Mac refreshes, but it was a customer-unfriendly move in this case.

Really? I mean, the new iPhone will probably have a 4" screen. The current iPhone 4S is 0.5" smaller. Consumer shouldn't have a problem distinguishing them.

The branding mistake was calling the second iPad the iPad 2

You'd think somebody would have learned from the mistake of Modernism & Post-modernism.

Why is it a mistake? I would be pretty happy if I owned the 'iPad' brand. Seems more valuable than 'the new iPad', IMO.

To me, it seems like Apple is simply resetting expectations.

I was just marveling this morning at how much mental energy is expended on this very thing. Let's just call it the iPad 3 and not worry too much about how closely we match Apple's marketing copy.

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