by Joe White
March 6, 2012
You don't need me to tell you that we've been talking about the iPad 3 for a long time, all the while referring to the upcoming tablet as Apple's new and mighty "iPad 3," rather than considering the potentiality of a name such as the "iPad 2S" or even "iPad HD." Now, yet another report is claiming the "iPad HD" name, and if you ask me such a title is quite a serious possibility. "What's in a name?" - Shakespeare's Juliet begged the question, and we do too. In fact, we were most especially pushed towards asking ourselves such a question when Apple announced and launched the iPhone 4S handset back in fall, last year, as opposed to releasing the shiny, new and radically redesigned iPhone 5. Even in the hours before the handset launched, Bryan Wolfe and I were (unrealistically) hoping - praying - Apple might have two handsets up its sleeve: the minor iPhone 4S upgrade, and the redesigned iPhone 5. The rest, of course, is history - the new handset was a minor upgrade, maintaining the same design as the iPhone 4 and, as a result, the names of both handsets shared the same digit. However, now we're looking at something of a possible repeat-situation. After putting together his roundup of iPad 3 event expectations (iPad 3: guaranteed; iPad mini: no way), Bryan sent out a Twitter update that got me thinking - or rather, it caught my attention because I'd been thinking the same thing for a few days. His tweet read:
Wouldn't it be interesting if Apple pulled an iPhone 4S, and released a iPad 2S this week? — Bryan M. Wolfe (@bryanmwolfe) March 5, 2012Herein, of course, lies room for debate. Personally I think Bryan's on to something with this prediction - at the very least, the situation is very plausible. In the past, major name changes - or rather, major changes at all - have been accompanied by a new design, and a new name. Just think back: the original iPhone changed its look and gave way to the iPhone 3G; the iPhone 3G maintained the same design and was succeeded by the iPhone 3GS; the iPhone 4 - a radical redesign, boasting a Retina display and more, came next; the iPhone 4 was followed by the iPhone 4S, a handset that, like the 3GS, was little more than a minor upgrade - it did include Siri, just like the iPhone 3GS launched with Voice Control, but the two handsets are almost identical to look at. Even with Apple's line of iPads, a similar thread can be observed - the original iPad was succeeded by the iPad 2 which, with its A5 processor and improved battery, featured a large number of minor, internal changes. However, Apple streamlined the design of its second generation tablet, making it thinner than the original iPad and even the iPhone 4, and as a result it launched with a brand new name. (Also, a name like the iPad 1S or iPad S wouldn't have been all that great, we should note.) This, of course, leads us back to where we are now - with the iPad 3, iPad 2S or iPad HD, whatever you want to call it. The tablet, from what we understand, will launch with an improved processor (the Apple A5X, apparently), a new set of cameras, Siri support and - wait for it - an improved, potentially Retina quality display. However, at the same time, we've also heard (or rather, seen - in this video) that Apple's next-generation iPad is going to look rather a lot like its predecessor, and will even be slightly thicker - a not very Apple-like move, but something that's seemingly necessary in order to accommodate the tablet's new display and other required changes and improvements, such as its battery. Does this mean then, due to the tablets' similar designs, we might not see an "iPad 3" at tomorrow's event? As mentioned, if you ask Griffin and Belkin - and Gizmodo, who originally posted the article - the answer is a firm "yes." Part listings from both manufacturers refer to Apple's upcoming tablet as the "iPad HD," as opposed to the iPad 3. And now, in a report which fuelled this article, VentureBeat claims also - citing a "reliable source" - that Apple's upcoming tablet will be the iPad HD:
Apple’s next-generation iPad will be called the iPad HD, not the iPad 3, a reliable source tells VentureBeat. Additionally, we’re hearing that Apple is now buying 7.1-inch screen components in preparation for a smaller iPad release later this year.But, why iPad HD? VentureBeat's article continues:
Apple’s next iPad is expected to sport a ridiculously high-resolution display running at 2,048 by 1,536 pixels. By comparison, current iPads feature a much lower resolution 1,024 by 768 display. The higher-resolution display will not only make text and pictures sharper, it’ll also make the iPad HD the only tablet to support 1080p high-definition at its full resolution (1,920 by 1,080). Expect Apple to market the hell out of that feature.This, indeed, is all quite accurate - you don't need me (or VentureBeat) to tell you that no other tablet on the market even comes close to touting the third generation iPad's expected screen resolution (Android tablets, for example, can only reach as high as 1,280 by 720). Apple is going to achieve - or arguably, has achieved - something magnificent in developing a Retina display-equipped iPad, and the fat cats at Cupertino, CA are going to want us all to know about it. Hence the name - a major marketing point, and something VentureBeat expects Apple to capitalize on. Plus, don't forget, Apple would save face in a sense by using the iPad HD - rather than iPad 2S - name. After all, the name of its "S" iOS devices kind of point towards the fact that the devices themselves aren't major upgrades, which in a sense - and to a small extent - could devalue the product. The "iPad HD" name achieves two things: it steers Apple away from the iPad 3 title (which, as we have mused, requires a new design), but still the iPad HD name maintains an impressive title which, in this case, points towards the tablet's single, greatest feature. If we go back to Shakespeare, it's worth noting that Juliet, of course, answers her own question in declaring: "That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." And this is of course true - we're going to have a new iPad on stage tomorrow with Tim Cook, and regardless of whether it's announced as the iPad 3, iPad 2S or iPad HD, we're almost certainly going to see that impressive Retina display. But I for one feel that the names of Apple's products are, nevertheless, quite important - at the very least, they tell us something about Apple's perception of the device you're about to buy, and also what you can expect from its successor (in the case of the iPhone, for example, we've been looking towards the launch of an all-new iPhone 5 this fall ever since the iPhone 4S was announced last fall). And talking names helps us get just a little bit more excited for the eventual announcement, too. So, without further ado, place your bets in the comments - iPad 3, iPad 2S or iPad HD? Let us know what you expect to see announced at tomorrow's special event. UPDATE I didn't spot this until "iPad HD" appeared in my local Twitter timeline, but Mashable is pretty certain this is the name Apple is using for its third generation iPad, too. Besides the aforementioned Gizmodo and VentureBeat reports, CNET has also published a source-fuelled note claiming we'll see an iPad HD launch tomorrow. Following the publication of this article, our own Andy Faust has weighed-in on the matter and is calling for Apple to remove the numbers and letters from its iOS device names. He doesn't like the sound of "iPad HD" - not one bit. Be sure to take a look at his article for an alternative perspective on the matter, and continue to share your own thoughts in the comments.