March 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM ET
"A lot of you seem upset that it's just 'iPad' … but think iMac, iPod and MacBook. No numbers. What'll they call the next iPhone?"
Msnbc.com's Wilson Rothman tweeted those words after watching Apple CEO Tim Cook show off the third-generation iPad to the world. Despite all sorts of rumors and reports, the device wasn't named the iPad 3, iPad HD, iPad 2S or any other expected variation of numbers or letters — it was simply presented as the "new iPad."
The "new iPad."
Just like the "new iMac." Just like the "new Apple TV." Just like the "new MacBook Pro." While scrolling through Apple's press release archive, I realized that the third-generation iPad's name makes utterly perfect sense — just like Wilson's question.
It would be surprising if the next-generation iPhone is announced as anything other than the "new iPhone" when it is finally revealed to the world this summer or fall.
Calling it the "iPhone 5" would not only clash with Apple's main product naming strategy, but it would also be awkwardly inaccurate. The next-generation iPhone will be the sixth-generation device in the line, following the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.
Besides that, skipping right to "iPhone 6" would be inelegant. And it would mimic Microsoft's approach to naming the Windows line.
No one at the Cupertino-based company would dare name products in a manner which resembles the Windows naming scheme. There's Windows 1.0, Windows 2.0, Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows ... ah, I give up — let's just agree that the upcoming Windows 8 is most definitely not the eighth-generation of the desktop operating system.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Additionally, simplifying the product name would also ease the pain many feel whenever they read about a new iPhone announcement.
Suddenly the average person wouldn't think "Oh no! The iPhone 10 I bought yesterday is obsolete because the iPhone 11 has been released. I hate Apple so much for doing this again!" Instead he or she will just focus on what's new and make a mental note to upgrade his or her device when ready. And let's face it: Apple's other products aren't exactly rotting on store shelves simply because their names don't have a flashy number attached.
Of course, it's entirely possible that Apple will throw some sort of curveball. Maybe it'll announce the iPhone 6 HD 4G Ultimate Edition. But probably not.