Let's say you're a tech novice who's shopping for a tablet. Your goal is to buy one of those iPad things you've been hearing so much about.
You point your browser to Apple's website and find two choices: the iPad and the iPad 2.
OK, the iPad 2 sounds newer, but based on the hoopla surrounding the "new iPad," it must be older…right? Why else would the iPad 2 start at $399, while the "iPad" starts at $499?
OK, I know what you're thinking: The Apple sites goes to great lengths to distinguish between the iPad and iPad 2. It even provides a handy, side-by-side comparison chart.
And if my hypothetical novice were to walk into an Apple Store, or some other physical retailer that sells the iPad, a somewhat knowledgeable clerk could explain the differences between the newer iPad and the older iPad 2.
Still, Apple's naming strategy doesn't have legs. What happens a year from now when the fourth-generation iPad arrives? Will we see the iPad 2, iPad…and the new and improved iPad?
And that's why Apple will likely drop the "iPad 2" moniker, particularly if the second-gen model continues to sell well and Cupertino decides to keep it around--much as it's done with the iPhone 3GS.
One option: Distinguish the models by specs. The iPad 2 becomes the iPad (1024 by 768), which starts at $399; and the iPad (2048 by 1536) starts at $499.
A year from now, however, my naming strategy may break down, particularly if the fourth-generation iPad's display resolution remains at 2048 by 1536 pixels.
Suggestions? I'm out of ideas.