Apple Bets Confusing Names

Apple announced its iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 today.  Which don’t sound like confusing names unless you look at the history of the product lines:

Large:  iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, The New iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2

Small:  iPad Mini, originally Retina iPad Mini but now retroactively iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3

I’m really hoping that next year they just say “screw it” and change naming schemes again, to completely mess with us.  Like, I think that the 2015 large iPad should be named the iPad Void 3 Ultra S or something.

Inability to simply increment a version number aside (I’m sorry, apparently not quite aside yet:  the iPhone has very happily marched up to the iPhone 6 — it’s not like they’re as a corporation sad about version numbers.  Why the crazy dance with iPads?  Okay), these look like quiet, evolutionary upgrades.

In the case of the mini, perhaps a little too quiet and evolutionary.  Your choices this year are the $399 iPad Mini 3 or last year’s $299 iPad Mini 2 (formerly Retina iPad Mini).  But the mini 3 has the same processor, screen, camera, wi-fi, and so forth as the 2.  The only things it really adds are touch ID and Apple Pay.  I could maybe see Apple Pay being worthwhile if you have an LTE iPad Mini and use it as a phone replacement, but otherwise why the hell do you want to pay for things with your tablet?  And anyone who thinks that touch ID is worth $100 is, well, the kind of person who should pay $100 for touch ID.

Which is all basically fine.  Say that the iPad Mini 2 came down $100 in price and low-information buyers get taxed for not very much.  Fair enough.

Apple is also still selling the Mini 1 for $250, which is absurd.  My Nexus 7 2012 edition came out six months before the Mini 1, compares favorably to it in terms of hardware, and cost, new, $50 less than Apple wants to charge you for a now two-year-old tablet.

The Air is, like, a little smaller but who cares it’s 10″.  I’m sure it’s a nice 10″ tablet, but you don’t want one of those.

Upshot:  If you’re in the market for an Apple tablet, the iPad Mini 2 (née Retina iPad Mini) is the one to buy.

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