Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27: Apple Inc. CEO St...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The iPad? Really, Apple? That’s the name? When I have repeated that name to other women today — technology journalists and Apple consumers — they’ve either giggled or said, “Oh, God.” There’s a certain connotation that goes with that name for women, and quite a lot of men get it too. And it’s hard to believe that Apple with its focus on perfection would overlook such a problem with the name of its PC tablet, which has been awaited with more fervor than the most recent version of “World of Warcraft,” or, if you are a woman, “Sims 3.”

I am not alone. When I posted those first two sentences of this blog as my Facebook status earlier today and asked if they brought any jokes to people’s minds, there was no shortage. (When it comes out on G4 will it be called the MaxiPad? Is it RoHS and WEEE compatible or does it cause toxic shock syndrome? Is the iPhone the iMini? Does it have wings? What kind of data flow can it handle? And my favorite, originally shared by industry analyst Rob Enderle today, was a link to a “MadTV” skit from a couple years ago actually talking about the Apple iPad. Please don’t click on this link if you are easily offended.)

Apple, I am certain, will not be hurt by the unfortunate name of this product. The excitement leading up to its introduction has been unparalleled. And the device itself, starting at $499, is pretty cool, offering iPhone-type Web browsing and apps, an e-reader app to pit it against Amazon.com’s Kindle device and a sweet form factor similar to the Kindle DX; even though it has no phone and no camera. There are already plenty of people who want this device, including lots of women.

Indeed, Apple surely knew about the potential giggles this name would elicit, and decided it liked the name enough to endure them, expecting them to eventually go away.

One woman marketing expert (who preferred to remain anonymous) at another Silicon Valley giant told me that Apple was likely to have run focus groups for the name on a product introduction as significant as its tablet PC. Apple may have even thought controversy about the name would help build the product to even greater heights. She wonders when Apple acquired the copyright to the name — before the “MadTV” skit or after?

The name makes sense to her because it uses the Apple “i” and then the term that is most descriptive of the product. Apple may not have thought the term “Tablet” was as all-encompassing in its meaning as the word “Pad.” She also notes that Apple is more willing to spend the money to get the names it wants than other companies in Silicon Valley are.

But if it hadn’t been Apple, would consumers overlook the name? If it had been some unknown company introducing a product with a name that had a connotation different from the one the manufacturer intended, could it overcome the stigma? That question becomes more important today because of several trends, including the consumerization of IT (more consumers using their devices for work — and making the buying decisions — rather than IT departments providing devices to workers); women in the work force and owning businesses and influencing business buying decisions; and a more global business environment where customers may come from different cultures.

As for me, I won’t be shelling out the $499 for the iPad any time soon. I’ll be curling up with my Kindle and a box of chocolates instead, and perhaps watching some reruns of “MadTV.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]