Why Apple's iPad rebranding makes sense

Why Apple's iPad rebranding makes sense

Summary: ... and why the iPhone will be rebranded next.


The iPad has had a rebranding. Well, a rebranding of sorts. It was widely expected that the new tablet would be called 'iPad 3" (or 'iPad HD' if you believed the rumors), but Apple CEO Tim Cook surprised us all by simplifying the name down to 'iPad.'

It might seem odd for Apple to go and recycle the name of its first-generation tablet and slap it onto third-generation hardware, but it also makes a lot of sense. Let's examine why.

First, it's a simplification, and simplifying product names is always a good thing. Just take a look at Apple's Store and notice how everything is simple. You have iMacs, MacBooks, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, Apple TVs and so on. It's all simple. By contrast, the iPad (and the iPhone) has been encumbered with a clumsy suffix ever since the second generation hardware came out. Now we have the iPad. It's simple, and it makes sense. We don't walk around with a MacBook Pro 4S or a iMac 5, and it no longer makes sense to have an iPad 3.

But there's more to this rebranding than just simplifying the Apple Store. It's a sign that the iPad is now mature enough that the differences between the old models and the new models are evolutionary, not revolutionary. It might have been convenient in the beginning for each refresh to get a new name (or at least a new suffix) but as far as consumers go, it's now become quite unnecessary. They have an iPad, that's all that matters. They're either clued on enough to know when a new one is released, or they're not and will buy a new one when the old one breaks or no longer does what they want it to do (which is essentially how the PC model works).

Now that Apple has rebranded the iPad, I confidently expect that the iPhone will get the same treatment, and that the next-generation iPhone won't be called 'iPhone 5' but simply 'iPhone.'

Some pundits put a lot of stock in product names. I remember back when the iPhone 4S was announced how some pundits instantly predicted that the device would be a total flop because consumers were expecting it to be called iPhone 5. What happened to the iPhone 4S? It went on to be Apple's fastest selling iPhone. Same thing happened with the first-generation iPad. There were pundits that declared it dead on arrival because of the silly name that sounded like a feminine hygiene product.

Consumers don't seem to care what their iOS devices are called, and so Apple is in a great position to simplify both the name and the branding by dumping the now superfluous suffix.


Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, iPad, Laptops, Mobility

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  • Maybe you can help me...

    Why hasn't this magnificent New product sold out yet? What is different this time around.
    • Um...

      What?! Even for trolling this makes no sense.

      So the product isn't available to buy yet and you want to know why it hasn't sold out? Given nobody has stock, you could equally argue it's already sold out (and that would be just as dumb).

      Why don't we wait and see how many they do (or don't) sell - see how that works out...
      • These guys seemed to nail Apples rebranding strategy.


        Hilarious...and yet, I still want one...lol.
    • How is the Xoom doing?

      You were once its biggest supporter, haven't heard much about it from you in a while. Has it all been sold out, yet? Moto can't keep up with demand? Apple is selling 15 million iPads in one quarter, so I am sure Moto managed to sell a few more million Xooms in over a year right?....right? No?
    • Someone's in an awful hurry to make a fool of themselves...

      "Why hasn't this magnificent New product sold out yet?"-Peter Perry

      Hilarious. Perry is so anxious to troll that he can't even wait for the product to go on sale before mocking it for not being sold out!

      Sadly, this makes just as much sense - or rather just as little sense - as the other comments Trolls make. Only this time the absurdity of the comment is just a bit easier to detect.
    • I can help you

      The reason it's not sold out yet is because it's not available for sale yet.
  • future "scamming" on eBay?

    I wonder how many people will be "tricked" into buying an iPad only to find out later when the product arrives that it is an iPad v1. All they have to do is keep the listings vague on eBay and let the buyer make the wrong assumption. I wonder which side eBay will take?
    • You can only trick 'em once

      Only eBay n00bs would buy something for hundreds of dollars from someone who wasn't a highly-rated seller with lots of happy customers. All the people who have that kind of rep are making so much dough that they wouldn't risk their business "tricking" people.
      Robert Hahn
      • But once is a huge bite!

        Ambiguous names do make it easier to get the wrong thing, even before nefarious sellers get in on the act.
  • Just another opportunity to leapfrog

    The new iPad has only changed the hardware up, but not much else has changed.

    The single biggest difference between the devices is that iOS does not have live icons/gadgets/tiles, making the interface very simple to deal with.

    Android allows specifying what informations is live and so requires being able to specify exactly where it resides on the screen. After all, why have live information if its up to the system whether you see it or not. Anyone that used WM previously would feel at home on Android.

    The problem was that without the only static icons simplification, iPhones (and subsequently iPads, would not have made the smartphone crossover from early adopters to mainstream.

    If you like the simpler paradigm, then Android will not work for you, as it requires more thinking about layout, requiring a little extra time to customise.

    For catering for individual hardware needs, iDevices rely upon the substantial aftermarket, whereas the variety in basic Android devices allows for getting an initial device closer to your preferences.

    For example, I bought a Galaxy Note (my first Android device) with it 5.3, 1280x800 screen because I wanted a phone that I could use as a tablet when out and about.

    It's a horses-for-courses market now, and there are enough people (with plenty more coming) to support it.
    • Android can be simple too.

      I wouldn't say "if you like the simpler paradigm, then Android will not work for you". You can have a simple iOS-like, icon-only desktop on Android if you like. Heck, in Android 4.x (ICS), installing an application automatically places an icon on one of your desktop screens.

      It is very easy to use, but it allows more customization than iOS does if you want to get into that. It's not required. My mom is an Android user, and she is as clueless about technology as they come and she gets along just fine.
      • But are the ICS icons free-flowing?

        If so, do they flow around manually placed widgets? Can they be shifted up, but still be flowing just like iOS?

        If so, then ICS has a good chance of attracting the not-so-tech buyers, BUT only if they make it the default, even if they place a couple of the widgets, like the clock and weather, at the top of the first page.

        It cannot be like the sparse and confused layouts all I saw on most Honeycomb tablets on display at retailers.

        Any tech person will be able to customise it easily, but others should not perceive it to be a tech person's device, otherwise they will not make inroads, because then it is compared to laptops.
  • Renaming the "iPad" to the "Original iPad?"

    Could well be that by naming the third-generation iPad the "iPad," Cook has effectively renamed the first-generation iPad as the "Original iPad" in at least tech news. You're going to have to find a way to tell the two apart if you're speaking about both of them. However, as Adrian clearly described, to most people that comparison will not be necessary, and just "iPad" will very possibly be easier for them.
  • Version numbers are helpful

    I know Apple is all about making things simple for their customers, but I think version numbers would be very helpful, especially in the Mac world. It would be a lot easier if you knew you had a "MacBook Pro 4S" than a "Macbook Pro 13-in. early 2011" or some such nonsense. This information isn't needed very often, but it's useful when determining if it is possible to update to the next Mac OS X release.

    I don't think Apple makes it easy for consumers when it comes to OS upgrades in the Mac line and knowing whether your machine can take the upgrade or not. Unless there is some program they offer that I'm not aware of similar to things like Microsoft's Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, which is possible.
  • You have nailed it!

    Completely agree with you - as a marketing professional, I can speak from both a consumer perspective as well as from a marketing one as well, and simpler = better.

    With such rapid product lifecycles, one cannot keep up with the rapid changes in technology, unless you make it a hobby (or is your -ahem- day job). An iPod Nano (1st Gen) that I bought years ago is known as a Nano, only on the support page does it make the differentiation between generations.

    And many of the product names are comical - for an Asus I see that if I want a notebook I can choose from a B53F ('business made simple'), a B43S ('Pro Notebook for Business Pros') or a B43J ('Portable business companion'). (Not picking on Asus in particular, it was just the first company that came to mind.) I'm glad I'm not in the market for a new notebook, that's for sure.

    Dale Yuzuki
  • Don't care?? Really

    As someone who uses technology and doesnt spend the whole day salivating over every minor detail let me assure you people do care what their "thing" is or at least at some point will.

    Take the iPod for example, I have one and I recently bought a case for it, an easy feat one might think. Rubbish - its like insect taxonomy - a task that should take 2min in store with a proper name took 20min of browsing and frustration to find something that fit mine.

    Marketing professionals are jerks.
    • Totally agree!

      "insect taxonomy" - Priceless!

      Yes, the changes now are evoultionary instead of revoultionary but it makes for a lot of confusion in the aftermarket product lines to try to get the correctly matched product. I know this because I bought the wrong case for my Kindle initially. Clearly delinitated product names would have helped me.

      I for one will simply refer to this iPad as the "iPad3", period.
  • 7 paragraphs to rationalise Apple's naming strategy!!

    Next is a 5 page discourse on the length of Tim Cook's shoe laces.

    And to think that I thought this guy had some knowledge worth reading.
  • No 3's for Apple

    Ever since the stillborn Apple III came out in the 1980's Apple has been superstitious about calling things 3.
    • hahaha

      Fantastic. +1