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WSJ ran a rather lengthy article yesterday about Apples newest tablet, the iPad 3.

One of the things that struck me was the paragraph treating the new name of the iPad:

Apple didn’t provide much explanation for its decision not to use a specific name—such as the much-rumored iPad 3 handle–which some branding experts said could confuse purchasers. Mr. Schiller simply said that Apple broke from the convention “because we don’t want to be predictable.”

What’s in a name, right?

But by giving the iPad the name the new iPad, Apple implicitly says that all other models of the iPad are the “old iPad”. This may seem like a bad idea at first, ousting loyal customers by degrading their devices from “iPad 2″ to just plain “old”.

But from a marketing perspective, the new name makes perfect sense. It creates a natural desire to own the new product; if it isn’t the new iPad you own, it must be the old iPad. No one wants to own old devices. And there’s a solution to that, and that is paying a visit to the Apple Store.

This is not a blunder by Apple, it’s a marketing spin taken straight out of Don Draper’s notebook.

Maybe the guys in Cupertino have spent the last months recapping the seasons of Mad Men before the show reopens later this month. And maybe those “branding experts” mentioned in the WSJ article should, too.

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