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Feb 2010

iPad: marketing genius or naming debacle?

Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment »

When Steve Jobs revealed the name of his highly anticipated tablet computer I think the whole world let out a collective “what the…?”.

For months all sorts of rumours flew fast and furiously around the web about the possible naming of Apple’s new baby. Would it be iTablet, iPad, iNewton or iSlate? Of the four, we were all certain it would be iSlate. Makes sense right? It sounds cool, describes the shape, blah blah blah. Apparently, Apple even sneakily registered iSlate.com a few years ago.

“We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and evolutionary product today,” said Chief Executive Steve Jobs at the launch event in San Francisco last Wednesday, “And we call it…iPad”.

Honestly, my first reaction was along the lines of “they called it what? Cue the feminine hygiene jokes”.

Ipad? I mean, sure the name works on a few levels, but…at the same time it is like calling your son Richard Head and then sending him of to school expecting him not to be picked-on. Of course people were going to make the link.

Minutes after the Jobs announcement the jokes began to run thick and fast (no pun intended) on social media pages and blogs. In fact, the term “iTampon” quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter.

“The mocking goes along the lines of: Yes, the iPad is small, lightweight and slim. But can you swim with it?” wrote the Los Angeles Times’ tech blog.

Anyway, I could go on and on about the many jokes flowing out there, but that’s not really the point of this blog. My question is- surely Apple was aware of the connotations associated with the name, so is this all just a big marketing ploy to get the world talking?

I got thinking and came up with this conclusion. I’m of the opinion that Apple knew exactly what they were doing and simply thought the name was better suited to the product and the Apple brand than the others. Plus, what’s the harm in a bit of free publicity, anyway?

Ultimately, the jokes will get old, and the name will eventually be accepted (to be honest, even as I write this I’m starting to get past my immaturity and appreciate the name). In the meantime though, the iPad will continue to ride this huge wave of publicity that has been inflated, particularly by social media websites, because the name is a little funny. In the end, if the iPad is a good product, it won’t matter what the thing is called.

Anyway, what do you think? Did Apple get it right or wrong with the name?

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