So, since the announcement of the new Apple ereader-plus-the-kitchen-sink device, Twitter has been awash with jokes about the name Apple chose for it. They chose not the much-anticipated iSlate or even the iTablet, but the iPad. Seriously?
Okay, so I kind of get it–it’s a riff on iPod, and Apple’s hoping this device does for ebooks what the iPod did for digital music. But honestly, what is it about devices for ebooks that makes manufacturers so determined to give them ridiculous names? Granted that Kindle is okay (although what starting a fire has to do with ebooks is beyond me) and Sony’s eInk name is a downright win, the two latest high-profile entries into the market, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and now Apple’s iPad, are just jokes waiting to happen.
Oh wait, the jokes didn’t wait. They were all over Twitter within minutes of the announcement. To the extent that iTampon became a trending topic and SBSarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books asked what happens if you have both a Nook and an IPad. (I suggested iFlow.) Jody Wallace wondered if a future, slimmed-down version would be the iMini, while a bigger, souped-up one (possibly for the large print reading public) might be called the iMaxi.
Whenever an unmistakably silly and riffable name like this comes down the pike from a large and respected company, the first thing we wonder is where the logical people were when the name was suggested. How could they have come up with a such a train wreck of a name, something so patently laughable?
The obvious answer is…they knew EXACTLY what they were doing. And in Apple’s case, I totally think they chose iPad with their eyes wide open. People are talking about it. They are getting a ton of free publicity from having given it a name that makes most of us wonder what the marketing people were smoking when they came up with it. There is method to their madness.
What I’m NOT sure there’s a method to is the pricing. The least expensive version of the iPad will set you back $499 for 16GB of storage space. Maybe I’m overly price sensitive, but I’ve got an iPod that has 30gb of space and a video screen that cost only a little more than half that. And while you could argue the iPad does the music function AND the music/video function in the same device, it’s a device that (judging from the photo of it in Steve Jobs’ hands) isn’t going to fit in my purse. Yes, it’s smaller than my laptop, but it doesn’t look a WHOLE lot smaller than a netbook, and I can get one of those for $250 according to today’s ads in the local paper.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who will buy the iPad and love it. But for me, the price entirely quelled my (initially very positive) response. At $200-$300, I very well might have bought one, but not outside the realm of possibility. $300-$350 would have made it harder to justify. But there’s nothing this device offers that I don’t already have elsewhere that I’m willing to shell out $499 plus 8.25% local sales tax.
In other words, I guess I’ll be reading mostly dead tree books for a while yet.