Amid all the news at Apple’s iPad launch party on Wednesday, there was some confusion over the lack of a new name. Here's how it could impact the tablet market.
The name is intriguing because it doesn’t follow the previous pattern of ‘iPad 1’ or ‘iPad 2’, and isn’t called the ‘iPad 3’ or ‘iPad HD’, as expected.
In some respects, the lack of an obvious name is frustrating; retailers will no doubt be fielding endless 'is this the iPad 3' questions, and some less-savvy consumers are bound to be confused.
But, in fairness to Apple, there is some logic behind the move. Apple's Phil Schiller said that the company 'didn’t want to be predictable' in going for iPad HD or 3. If you look at the decision closely, the consequences of the ‘new iPad’ could be a lot bigger, at least in trying to establish the iPad as a brand.
Think about how Hoover transformed the vacuum cleaner market. Countless people refer to a vacuum as a 'hoover', even the verbal sense. Just the right market push and audience acceptance can really tie a brand to a certain product, or - as Apple could argue - create a whole new product of its own.
The nameless iPad could also be a sign that the form-factor itself is maturing. To date, when you buy or update your PC, you primarily look for your preferred brand name or a collection from a company – like Photoshop from Adobe, for example.
As with the automotive industry (how many Volkswagen Golf owners really refer to their car as a mark seven?), the consumer isn’t really concerned whether it is version 1, 10 or 27, so long as it is new and the latest piece of equipment out there.
Keeping with Apple's own line of products, consumers just look for the latest iMac or MacBook Pro.
Ultimately, the nameless iPad could actually be a key driver in Apple forging a stronger identity for its tablet, and for making the tablet much more an everyday item.
The good news is that the growth of the iPad brand name will pull consumers into the market, perhaps purely because they’re just aware of the name. Once these consumers are adamant they want to have a tablet, the well-off will get an iPad and those less fortunate may still feel swayed enough to buy a less expensive tablet with a different operating system.