The Obligatory iPad 3 Post

Apple have launched another iPad. Hooray.

Oh all right, I suppose it does merit a little more analysis than that. Rather like the iPhone 4S it’s another no-surprises upgrade. Solid – and in the case of the screen, substantial – improvements, but no hoverboots. Or maybe in Steve’s day we would have been convinced that the synergy of 4G connection speeds, high resolution screen and image-stabilizing camera creates an entirely new product with previously-unimagined purposes. Now it seems more for the stockholders than some mysterious cause.

What didn’t we get? A smaller iPad. An iPad with a pen input tool. An iPad with an iPhone in it. An iPad with an iPhone in it and a pen input tool that is also a Bluetooth phone receiver. Stuff like that. (I have to admit, in maybe a decade of designing tablets and phones in my head, nothing as out there as a pen you can make phone calls on ever occurred to me.) OK, gimmicky perhaps, but fun. Apple boringly stick to making a really good product that sells by the freighter-load.

Only one annoying element really. They’re not calling it the iPad 3 or the iPad 4G. They insist it will just be called “the iPad”, as if we’re expected to forget the existence of any previous, lesser iPads. A little Orwellian for my liking.

3 replies on “The Obligatory iPad 3 Post”

They insist it will just be called “the iPad”, as if we’re expected to forget the existence of any previous, lesser iPads

I don’t see the big fuss. Plenty (most?) physical products in this world don’t have version numbers. Like the iPod. Or Macbook. In fact even the iPhone didn’t really bother with really versioning until the 4, if you think about it.

The original iPhone was simply called the iPhone. Only in retrospect has it gotten the “2G” monicker added. Which, like it’s successor the iPhone 3G was not so much a number system, as highlighting the compatibility with 3G networks. Like a Diesel or Gasoline edition of a car type. Then it really got funky and they had the 3GS in the line-up too, noting the speed.

Now, is this versioning of models? Or is it simply differentiating different types of a similar product. Compare to the Macbook line, where you now have the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro (for a longtime you had the plain “Macbook” as well). The Air and Pro look somewhat alike, and have a lot with eachother in common. But no one is arguing that they’re successors to eachother. They aim at different segments of the market. And not just budget segments, but “needs” segments.

I think Apple figured out that the cellphone market wasn’t differentiating in needs like that. People mostly simply wanted the latest and greatest iPhone, it appears. But there’s also still a budget segment. Hence the 4. “This is the latest model, it’s model number is one higher, get this one if you want the best. Get the one with the 3 in it, if you want cheap”.

Except that they are getting some backlash now. With Macbooks, nobody expects every revision of a model to completely blow away the previous edition. A CPU upgrade now, a better integrated graphics chipset a half year later, it’s all fine. And you can use terms like “Late 2010” or “Mid 2011”-model, for reference. With cell phones, apparently, people expect nothing short of a Miracle improvement.

My guess is that with just naming it iPad, they’re testing to see if they can downplay such expectations and follow a more gradual improvement path without people acting all disappointed. If they feel it works, then the next iPhone will be the last with a version number, and we’ll be back to referring to them by ‘generation’ too, just like with iPods and now iPads.

Hopefully, that also means the media will stop getting ridiculously worked up for these events.

You speak as if Apple haven’t always courted media frenzy. The iPad nameless-new-version was on the news here. I try to put it into perspective by giving it a footnote-length writeup, you write a comment almost twice as long. I can’t win!

The irritating thing is that they’re attempting to maintain a false reality. Of course, the new iPad will need to be referred to in some way. But as the iPad 3? The 4G? The 3rd Generation of iPad with 4th of cellular technology, it’s bound to cause confusion,

I should know. I keep calling it the iPad 4 myself…

Similar to iPod, it will be called “iPad (third generation)” for support purposes.

That said, on second thought, I think why there’s so much name fuss, is for the same good reason you put “obligatory” in the title. The internal upgrades were solid, the screen upgrade very widely predicted, it has made the _whole_ happening to a non-event.

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