Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

The iPad. Unless you were in a coma, you probably heard about the launch of Apple's new tablet. A larger version of the iPhone, at 0.5 inches thick, 1.5 pounds, $499 (base model) + a $29.99 unlimited data plan, it's pretty impressive. You can read all about the reveal and product specs over on Engadget, who covered it live.

There's an interesting subplot going on here, though. The hype around the event was palpable - even the Wall Street Journal noted "Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it." Indeed, everyone was speculating about the name of the new netbook from Apple - from the iTablet to iSlate. When it was revealed, it looked like nothing more than an oversize iPhone, but as the presentation went on, the functionality became more apparent.

Without a doubt, the tech community - which always gets in a tizzy whenever Apple releases a new product (or if Steve Jobs sneezes) - was so prolific in its buzz that it locked up Twitter for a bit. There's really something to be said about the power of the geeky masses, as words related to the presentation (including Amazon's Kindle, which was mentioned in Job's announcement) accounted for 8 of the 10 trending topics on Twitter at one point.

You've got to wonder about the naming decision on this product. It's certainly in line with the "iP" naming convention of the other two wildly successful product lines, the iPod and iPhone. So from a brand extension, it makes sense. But my first inclination was that "iPad" was too close to "iPod." Surely iTablet or iSlate would have worked from a descriptive standpoint. It led me to wonder if there was something more going on here...

Look carefully at the trending topics for a clue - in addition to phrases like Apple, iBooks, Steve Jobs, Kindle, iPhone, iWork and iSlate, there was as single outlier: iTampon. Check that again - iPad doesn't even show up on the trending topics!

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Did Apple anticipate such a viral phenomenon that they intentionally named the product as they did? Or were they completely naive about the implications? Either way, it's lighting up the web as we speak. And it didn't take long for someone to photoshop it, either:

What do you think? Marketing savvy, stunt or stupidity?

UPDATE: @brennanMKE sent me this video - an old iPad commercial:

Photo credits: Engadget, @Katmanalac