What’s in a name? That which we call an iPad by any other name would sell as well.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." William Shakespeare

With apologies to William Shakespeare, the title of this post reflects the fact that you could call “The New iPad” pretty much anything and it would be a gangbuster seller.

But why not have a proper naming architecture? Because this is Apple, and doing the predictable is not what they do. At least that is what Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP of Marketing, said in remarks to reporters when he said that naming the device iPad 3 "would be so predictable." Mr. Schiller went on to point out that sticking with the original name of a device is hardly new for Apple because they updated the iPod, MacBook laptops and iMac desktops multiple times without attaching numbers to them.

It is hard to argue with Apple, since it has been on an innovation wave that has driven it to the top of the US stock exchange in terms of market capitalization, running neck and neck with ExxonMobil on a daily basis. Doing the predictable has never been their game plan. And as a shareholder, I appreciate that.

But as a professional name developer and expert marketer, I expected more from them. When the iPad was launched, everyone (including me) took a shot at the name as being lightweight and confusing with feminine hygiene products. Well, the product was a runaway success, and nobody laughs at the name anymore. In fact it has become almost generic for the tablet computer. Then they launched iPad2 and a naming architecture was born. So now they launch “The New iPad” and everyone is confused about the name?

Get over it. Maybe we should all recognize that the name is not a haphazard choice, but rather a brilliant marketing move. Think about it. All of your name impressions will be about “The New iPad,” which overtly communicates the fact that you have something new to offer. When have you ever seen a company put the word “New” in the product name? When have you seen a company try to acknowledge the fact that they ARE the category, and so calling their product “The New iPad” means they have just set the bar higher for the category?

“Not predictable?” No, actually crazy like a fox. How the management of Apple managed to pull off this name change without giggling is beyond me.

Keep it up, Apple. Looking forward to your next brilliant innovation and marketing move.

 

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