Apple's new iPad isn't an iPad 3 or an iPad HD. It's just an iPad.

Apple's latest iPad is simply being called The new iPad"

In the weeks preceding Apples iPad event this week, there was a lot of speculation and back and forth over what Apple was going to call its next-generation tablet. While many had long assumed that it'd be called the iPad 3, rumors sprung up over the past few weeks hinting at it being called the iPad HD, on account of its Retina Display.

But a funny thing happened during Apple's special media event this past Wednesday. Throughout the entire presentation, Apple executives Tim Cook and Phil Schiller continuously kept referring to the iPad simply as "the new iPad."

And lo and behold, Apple's website also refers to it as the new iPad. No iPad 3. No iPad HD. Just iPad.

Apple here is effectively giving the iPad the same naming treatment it gives to most of its product line. After all, it's not as if Apple has ever named successive Mac Mini releases the 'Mac Mini 2' and 'Mac Mini 3'.

So what gives? Just what exactly is Apple trying to accomplish with its new naming scheme?

My first thought was that perhaps Apple was taking the iPad off its annual and somewhat predictable refresh cycle. If there's an iPad 3, speculation, almost reflexively, begins hovering over the iPad 4, and so on and so forth. Without a designated version number, Apple can now release a new iPad version whenever one happens to be ready, and not necessarily in 365 day increments.

But upon further reflection, that theory seemed a bit off. A more cogent theory is that Apple's new naming scheme sets the stage for other iPad models, namely the rumored 7.85-inch iPad Apple is supposedly working on. Much how Apple, back in the day, had its flagship iPod flanked by devices like the iPod mini and later the Nano, perhaps this "new iPad" will soon be flanked by an "iPad Mini." Doing so certainly makes things easier for consumers who will no longer need to get bogged down and confused with version numbers and the like.

Besides, Apple has never been big on version numbers. For over a decade, Apple has called the iMac nothing more than the iMac. Same with the MacBook Pro, the iPod Touch, the Mac Mini, the Mac Pro etc. Apple doesn't want consumers to dwell on version numbers. They want consumers to think of the iPad as an amazing tablet device, version numbers be damned.

Interestingly enough, there are now reports that Apple may name its next-gen iPhone the "new iPhone."

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