The new iPad is here. And according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the faster, sharper, and more powerful device will usher in a revolutionary "post-PC future." Just don't call the game-changing tablet the "iPad 3" — it's just plain, old iPad. "Seriously?" says Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. That means the newest iPad on the market is called "iPad," while the older version is called "iPad 2." "Sure. That will go over well." Why is Apple scrapping its numerical naming conventions? Here, four theories:
1. Apple's computers don't have numbers
"It seems like an odd choice at first," says Janko Roettgers as GigaOM. But Apple has been doing this for some time. Take a look at the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini. None of them use numbers. When a new MacBook Pro comes out, it's just called MacBook Pro — end of story. The company is simply treating its "post-PC products the same way it's been treating its PC product segment for some time: as devices you're going to buy and frequently replace over several product generations." The iPod Touch "doesn't get fancy new suffixes either," says Peter Pachal at Mashable, and its buyers seem just fine.
2. The iPhone numbers are a mess
Consider the iPhone, says Mat Honan at Gizmodo. First it was just the iPhone. Then came the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4. "The iPhone 4S is the fifth generation iPhone, which would make an iPhone 5, if there was to be one, the sixth generation iPhone." Confusing, right? No wonder Apple wants to scrap these suffixes.
3. Specs and revision numbers don't matter to most consumers
The spec is "dying," says MG Siegler at TechCrunch, and "the ascending number naming race is dying, too." The iPad isn't just a "niche product for gadget lovers with an eye for specs and revision numbers," says Roettgers. It's a mass-market gadget aimed at everyone. As more consumers buy into the post-PC world, a device's exact specifications and model will be pushed to the background. Apple almost always just releases one new model per year, says Honan. "You just want the new one."
4. It's all about simplicity
Any Apple fan who "suffered" through the '90s remembers the "barrage of incomprehensible product names, says Dan Moren at Macworld: "The Macintosh Quadra 660AV; the Macintosh Performa 6300CD; the Power Macintosh 6300/160." Such overly complex "nomenclature is unsustainable." The singular name "iPad" is a logical choice, and does an excellent job of reflecting Apple's philosophy of keeping things simple.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- How I lost all my money
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The best books we read in 2014
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How to wrap a present with mathematical precision (and waste less paper)
Subscribe to the Week