New iPad adopts simple product naming Steve Jobs brought to Apple in 1997

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


Apple's latest iPad, originally anticipated to be named iPad 3 or iPad HD, was simply called "the new iPad" during its introduction. This isn't a new change in naming products at the company however; Steve Jobs initiated it 15 years ago when he returned to lead Apple in 1997.



Apple product names in the 80s



Apple's initial mainstream product was the Apple II, introduced in the late 70s and updated in a series of revised models differentiated by a character suffix: first the Apple II+, then the enhanced Apple IIe, the compact Apple IIc, and eventually the 16-bit Apple IIGS, with letters emphasizing its new graphics and sound capabilities.



The ill-fated Apple III and Apple III+ were followed by the Lisa (later rebranded the Macintosh XL), both using the same type of suffix naming convention that was also in common use by many other early computer makers.



The company named its first Macintosh models with character suffix identifiers: an initial update was called the Mac 512Ke (commonly referred to as the Fat Mac for sporting four times the RAM of the original) and the first major redesign was branded Mac Plus, followed by the Mac SE (for system expansion, the first Mac with a slot) and the Macintosh II in 1987 (the year after Jobs left the company to start NeXT Computer).









Names get crazy in the 90s



After continuing this naming system through a series of Mac II models in the late 80s, the company began branching out by delivering new series of Macs, ranging from the Mac LC line (for "low cost color," aimed at education and home buyers) to the low end, nostalgic "Mac Classic" line to the higher end Mac IIx, IIcx, Iici, IIfx, IIsi, IIvi and IIvx.



It then introduced a series of Latin-sounding product lines ranging from the consumer-oriented Performa to the middle of the road Centris and '040 powered, higher end Quadra, with each model getting a Sony-style model number such as the "Quadra 650 AV."



Systems using a PowerPC processor were given four-digit numbers (as opposed to the original three-digit numbers of Macs based on the Motorola 680x0 chips), and often incorporated "Power" in their name (although mobile PowerBooks predated that convention, so they didn't necessarily use a PowerPC chip unless they sported a four-digit model number). A single new machine architecture might be offered under a dozen Performa model numbers, each with slightly different specifications.



Throughout the 1990s, Apple's product naming resulted in a complex, difficult to understand series of overlapping models and model numbers, each representing a different configuration of hard drives and system capacities.









The company's Newton Message Pad and eMate product lines of handheld devices similarly used product numbers to differentiate models, and the company also used the same numbering conventions for peripherals such as its QuickTake cameras and StyleWriter and LaserWriter printers.



Jobs' product naming simplification



When Jobs returned to lead Apple in 1997, he immediately killed the Mac's confusing model number-names and introduced a single desktop model: Power Macintosh G3, paired with a single notebook, the new PowerBook G3, both highlighting the new, third-generation PowerPC chip. Newton devices, printers and cameras were all axed from the company's catalog entirely.









Jobs then introduced the iMac in 1998, followed by the consumer iBook notebook in 1999. Successive models that incorporated a significantly different processor were appended with G4 or G5, but each generation of Apple's Macs were no longer given unique names with each release.



Instead, iMacs and PowerBooks were generally released with an internal naming system that described when they were released (such as "early 2006"), along with an unpublicized architecture name ("iMac4,1"). To the public, a new iMac was simply marketed as the latest iMac.



With the shift to Intel processors announced in 2005, Apple's product names got even simpler, with "the new iMac," "the new Mac mini," and new series of MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Xserve and MacBook Air models, none of which drew attention to the generation of their Intel processor, nor features such as a 64-bit architecture, DisplayPort or Thunderbolt.



Instead, users buying a Mac simply choose the form factor they want, the screen size, and pick between good, better and best packages, or custom order a specific configuration they want. There's no hierarchy of model numbers or sub-brands to navigate through to find the Mac a users wants to buy. Rather than naming products after their specifications, Jobs' Apple named products descriptively (such as "Mac mini") or after the category of people who would be buying them (Pro).



iPods and iOS devices



When Apple introduced the iPod in 1999, it continued to remain "the new iPod" through several generations before being named the iPod Classic to differentiate it from the architecturally different iPod mini (and its replacement, the iPod nano) as well as the simple iPod shuffle.



Each successive model generation retained the same descriptive product name, without serial numbers or new name suffixes to highlight differences in their chipset or other features. One exception to this rule was the short-lived, premium fourth generation iPod named "iPod Photo" in 2004. It was later renamed "iPod (with color display)," then replaced with the video capable fifth generation "iPod" in 2005, which Apple purposely avoided naming "iPod Video," even as consumers often referred to it as such.



When Apple released iPhone in 2007, it paired it with the new iPod touch. While subsequent generations of iPhone got new names alluding to their new features (iPhone 3G) or updated speed (iPhone 3GS) or new generation names (iPhone 4) and new enhancements (iPhone 4S), iPod touch didn't, instead carrying forward the Mac style product name with a parenthetical reference to its generation or model year introduction.



A primary difference between the iPhone and iPod touch was that Apple continued to sell different generations of the iPhone in different markets or at different price points. While Apple continues to sell the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, it has only ever sold one new iPod touch model. With the iPad, Apple has historically liquidated the previous model year, rather than selling both an old and new model at different prices.



This year, Apple has continued to sell a single iPad 2 while offering a "new iPad," positioning the device somewhere between the naming convention of iPhone and its iPod touch and Macs, which don't get new names and typically don't overlap in sales.



This suggests that Apple may begin naming subsequent new iPhone models as simply the "new iPhone," rather than introducing a new "iPhone 5" or "iPhone 4S Plus."



KIS,S



Such a move would also help to reduce confusion related to the difference between generations of iPhone, generations of Apple's A4/A5/A5X/A6 system on a chip processor, and the branding of wireless technologies that identify themselves as 3G, 3.5G, or various things that claim to be 4G (despite the fact that no deployed wireless networks actually meet the 3GPP standard for being a true "4G" technology).



Another complication is the fact that even among carriers supporting LTE, there is no global consensus on what bands to use. In the US, AT&T and Verizon operate LTE service on different bands, and globally carriers are rolling out the technology on still different bands. Until a single chipset and design can be made to efficiently work across all of them (something that many not happen), Apple is likely to want to avoid confusion with a series of different model names, and instead focus on '"iPhone" as its global brand.



Apple's strong brands related to iPod, iPhone, iPad and Mac enable the company to release models consumers can readily identify. The company's entire hardware product lineup fits into a small box on the company's online store page, with each brand clearly differentiated.









That's a big difference between Apple and other smartphone vendors producing new brand names every few months (such as HTC's latest ThunderBolt, Incredible, Rhyme, Rezound among the 51 current models listed on its website; Motorola's Droid 4, Droid Bionic, Droid RAZR among 27 models on its website; and Samsung's Illusion, Stratosphere, Fascinate, Continuum, Galaxy S, Galaxy S II Skyrocket and Galaxy Nexus, just to name a few of the 137 it offers.)



Windows PC makers offer similarly confusing ranges of products reminiscent of Apple in the 90s. Samsung offers a good example of both, with a website that lists not just 137 different phone models and carrier combinations (not including 14 Android tablets and two Windows 7 Tablet PC offerings) but also 37 laptop models grouped into four "series" as well as a Google Chromebook notebook and an all in one PC model. Samsung isn't even a major PC vendor.



RIM also continues to use Performa-style model naming, with BlackBerry Bold models identified as, for example, the 9000, 9650, 9700, 9780, 9900 or 9930 among the 21 models grouped under its six brand names, similar to Nokia's use of numbers on its Lumia Windows Phone 7 model lineup, which includes the 610, 710, 800, 900 and 910.



Other Microsoft licenses are using Android-style naming, with new brands from each vendor (such as the HTC Trophy, Mozart, HD7, Titan and Radar). Microsoft effectively prevents its Windows Phone 7 licensees from offering much diversification on specifications, but the product is now offered under more than two dozen brand names and numbers, despite accounting for very few actual sales globally.



On different carriers or in different countries, each of these model names is subject to change, too (the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II is essentially the same phone as the T-Mobile Epic 4G Touch, for example, a nod to the ego of carriers at the expense of consumer confusion). This is in stark contrast to Apple's single brand name for the iPhone 4 or iPad on every carrier, even in cases where there were different chipsets and technologies used (such as an AT&T version and Verizon version).



By centering on a single brand name for each major product category it sells, Apple spends much less on advertising and promoting new brands and customers find it easier to find what they're looking for and ask for it by name.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

«134567

Comments

  • moxommoxom Posts: 325member
    Interesting read...
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 7,823member
    A few people are calling the new name dumb. Well, I'm calling those people dumb and clueless, because the new name is great and it's a very smart move, taking the future into consideration. The name is not the "new iPad", which certain people falsely believe, it's just simply iPad from now on. The new iPad is the iPad (third generation).



    Nobody saw it coming. I think that most people were expecting the iPad 3 with some people speculating about an iPad HD while a few other silly and not too bright people speculated about an iPad 2 S.



    The iPad will be around for many years to come and each year there will be a new model, just like with cars. Let the Android manufacturers release hundreds of models a year with all sorts of confusing and retarded names, that nobody can keep track of. Apple will simply have the iPad!



    It's a brilliant and smart move by Apple!



    The iPad is an iconic product, and the name iPad is all that needs to be said.
  • desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    i don't see my old apple IIe or apple IIc+ in that list \
  • irelandireland Posts: 15,264member
    Now it's time to kill completely the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro names and product lines.



    And release an entirely new simplified notebook product line this year in 11, 13 and 15" sizes named "AirBook"



    (no 17" version)
  • maverik234maverik234 Posts: 47member
    Didn't see my old mac laptop either, black and white with a rollerball. I forget the name but it had a staggering 20MB hard drive!
  • emperorsnewclothesemperorsnewclothes Posts: 48member
    It's a stupid and short-sighted name. What will they call the next one? The even newer iPad?



    Everyone will call it the iPad 3. Nobody will call it "the new iPad" other than those paid by Apple to call it that.
  • erpxerpx Posts: 24member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    A few people are calling the new name dumb. Well, I'm calling those people dumb and clueless, because the new name is great and it's a very smart move, taking the future into consideration. The name is not the "new iPad", which certain people falsely believe, it's just simply iPad from now on. The new iPad is the iPad (third generation).



    Nobody saw it coming. I think that most people were expecting the iPad 3 with some people speculating about an iPad HD while a few other silly and not too bright people speculated about an iPad 2 S.



    The iPad will be around for many years to come and each year there will be a new model, just like with cars. Let the Android manufacturers release hundreds of models a year with all sorts of confusing and retarded names, that nobody can keep track of. Apple will simply have the iPad!



    It's a brilliant and smart move by Apple!



    The iPad is an iconic product, and the name iPad is all that needs to be said.



    Right on! +1
  • rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EmperorsNewClothes View Post


    It's a stupid and short-sighted name. What will they call the next one? The even newer iPad?



    Everyone will call it the iPad 3. Nobody will call it "the new iPad" other than those paid by Apple to call it that.





    Just like they called the 2011 iMac from the 2010 iMac the newer iMac?!



    Apple's been around for over 30 years. Lets say they are around for another 30 and introducing newer iPhones and iPads for each of those years.... What are they going to introduce the iPad as?



    Introducing the "iPad 30"?!



    Thank God Apple ditched those stupid identifiers... What will the iPhone or iPad be called in 30 years, taking note that the iPhone hadn't been named: original, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. More identifiers were added... 3G, 3GS, 4S... Can you see the announcement from Apple for that?



    Yep, glad it's just the iPad and let's hope that the iPhone becomes just the new iPhone. Tech specs are so 80's, and only AppleCare would need you to be a bit more specific should you have need to call them.

    /

    /

    /
  • kpomkpom Posts: 529member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    Just like they called the 2011 iMac from the 2010 iMac the newer iMac?!



    Apple's been around for over 30 years. Lets say they are around for another 30 and introducing newer iPhones and iPads for each of those years.... What are they going to introduce the iPad as?



    Introducing the "iPad 30"?!



    No, it would be the iPad 15HD S.



    I like the new naming scheme and "got it" as soon as I read the description of the "new iPad" on the Macworld and PCMag live blogs (even as Sascha Segan kept commenting about how Apple still hadn't announced the new name yet).
  • nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    My iPhone 3G just says ?iPhone? on it.



    My iPhone 4 just says ?iPhone? on it.



    My iPad 2 just says ?iPad? on it.



    Every iPhone and iPad has just had the name alone on it. In fact, my iPad 2 box even says simply ?iPad.?



    How is it that nobody noticed and panicked for all these years? (Even assuming they?d never heard of Macs.)
  • tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,431member
    Geeks love complexity. You know that a company is run by geeks when they have 137 different smartphone models listed on their website. The thing is, when you have 137 different models, or even just 10 for that matter, the names you pick for them will not matter anymore. Consumers will not bother to distinguish between your 137 different models, they'll just say "let me see the Samsung". So if you think a snazzy name for your 46th smartphone model is going to help sell it, forget it.



    Just one more reason why Apple is just running circles around their competitors.
  • tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,431member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EmperorsNewClothes View Post


    You dopey fanboys are so easy to wind up.



    I would say that too if I just said something stupid and ignorant online and was then made to look silly and foolish.
  • right_said_fredright_said_fred Posts: 721member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EmperorsNewClothes View Post


    .



    ha ha what a great windup ha ha /s
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's latest iPad, originally anticipated to be named iPad 3 or iPad HD, was simply called "the new iPad" during its introduction. This isn't a new change in naming products at the company however; Steve Jobs initiated it 15 year ago when he returned to lead Apple in 1997.



    ...



    When Jobs returned to lead Apple in 1997, he immediately killed the Mac's confusing model number-names and introduced a single desktop model: Power Macintosh G3, paired with a single notebook, the new PowerBook G3, both highlighting the new, third generation PowerPC chip. Newton devices, printers and cameras were all axed from the company's catalog entirely.



    The entire premise of this article is ridiculous.



    Steve called the products the "Power Macintosh G3" and "Powerbook G3".



    Neither of these are as simple as iPad with no adjectives or numbers. Each of these are more complex then iPad 3.



    To say that Steve initiated any "Name without Numbers or Adjectives" convention 15 years ago is simply silly.
  • michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,848member
    Xoom ---> Xyboard



    That's how you do it!



  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,220member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EmperorsNewClothes View Post


    It's a stupid and short-sighted name. What will they call the next one? The even newer iPad?



    Everyone will call it the iPad 3. Nobody will call it "the new iPad" other than those paid by Apple to call it that.



    No... They'll call it the new iPad, again... they're exploiting the brand, not the model...



    People who own the best, don't need to specify the model... It's a Ferrari, Beemer, Rolls, "It's a Duesey", iPod, iPad...



    Brilliant... everything old is new again!





    Edit: 'course the real "Dueseys" had model mumbers and other attributions:



    Here is a 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Phaeton ( Year, Make, Supercharged, J Model, Phaeton Body style:



    The car could do 100 mph in 2nd gear.







  • michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,848member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    Geeks love complexity. You know that a company is run by geeks when they have 137 different smartphone models listed on their website. The thing is, when you have 137 different models, or even just 10 for that matter, the names you pick for them will not matter anymore. Consumers will not bother to distinguish between your 137 different models, they'll just say "let me see the Samsung". So if you think a snazzy name for your 46th smartphone model is going to help sell it, forget it.



    Just one more reason why Apple is just running circles around their competitors.



    It gets even crazier when Dell has a certain model number listed on their website... and a different model number at Best Buy... but they are the EXACT SAME MODEL...



    I'd say a bunch of chimps run the marketing department... but I don't wanna degrade chimps!
  • rcoleman1rcoleman1 Posts: 153member
    All this over a name? It's the latest iPad. People get over it...really?
  • john f.john f. Posts: 80member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    The entire premise of this article is ridiculous.



    Steve called the products the "Power Macintosh G3" and "Powerbook G3".



    Neither of these are as simple as iPad with no adjectives or numbers. Each of these are more complex then iPad 3.



    To say that Steve initiated any "Name without Numbers or Adjectives" convention 15 years ago is simply silly.



    To be fair, Power Macintosh and PowerBook came before Jobs. He simply inherited them, but he did change them eventually to Mac Pro and MacBook when they moved away from PowerPC. Also G3, G4, G5 were needed more in those PowerPC days to reference the upgrade (pure marketing like iPhone 3G). Macs were also, sadly, a tougher sell in those PowerPC vs Intel days. These days, people expect simply the latest Intel chips inside the Macs.
  • mrrmrr Posts: 56member
    The thing about simple product names is that it is indeed confusing when you go to buy or compare prices.



    Are they selling this year or last year's model?



    A major problem with simple names for products like MacPro or MacBook Pro or now iPad is that when you try to buy a used one it is often impossible to know what you are really buying!



    You have to rely on unofficial names like Mac Pro (8 core) or Mac Pro (Early 2009) or Mac Pro (Mid 2010) all of which might have 8 cores in them. Confusing.



    Even worse is when you have to track down the model identifier like MacBookPro8.3



    I rather know straight off that it is a iPhone 4GS, or iPad2.



    This is a pain and NOT a good thing.
Sign In or Register to comment.