One day of period jokes later, the snickering over Apple's new iPad is hard to avoid. Does it matter?
(5 Stages of Grief via blogger Courtney Reimer's Twitter and Tanner Ringeraud)
Blame Twitter and blog comments, which codified what might have once been person-to-person giggling (and severely irritated plenty of male Apple die-hards). By this morning, The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post (which indulged in the headline, "With A Name Like iPad, Can Apple's New Device Possibly Have Wings?") were unable to ignore the fact that iPad sounded like a next-generation feminine product.
So does any of this matter? Tepid reviews about its functionality may hurt the iPad more than any other factor, but it's undeniable that the company known for its obsessive and theatrical branding has lost control of the narrative on this one.
But not everyone thinks it's a big deal. From CNN:
Andy Ihnatko, a tech columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, said Apple could call its new gadget a "mangled baby duck" and people would still buy it, both because Apple has sex appeal and because the iPad is a good product.
"With the right device, marketing doesn't really matter," he said.
Then again, it's hard to argue that ignoring marketing got Apple to where it is.
It was also an occasion for many to ponder whether there were any women in the upper ranks of product marketing at Apple. From The Times' Bits Blog:
"Are there any women in Apple marketing?" asked Brooke Hammerling, founder of Brew Media Relations, a technology public relations firm. "The first impression of every single woman I've spoken to is that it's cringe-inducing. It indicates to me that there wasn't a lot of testing or feedback."
It is not just women who were surprised. When Peter Shankman, a public relations and social media expert, saw the name on television, he was taken aback. "I'm waiting for the second version that comes with wings," he said.
Mr. Shankman was surprised that Apple, with its meticulous attention to detail, missed the significance. He cited a piece of company lore - when its naming conventions called for a new computer to be called the Macintosh SEx, Apple went with the name Macintosh SE/30 instead.
After the initial cracks, the question here may not be whether women make their purchasing decisions based on the association of the name. (This woman won't.) But it could be whether it crossed Apple's mind to care.
According to Business Insider, "Women account for about 40 percent of gadget spending, according to market research firm NPD Group. Even if they aren't buying the device for themselves, they are usually the ones buying gifts for their male relatives and kids." The Huffington Post cites a National Center for Women & Information Technology study showing that women "control more than 83 percent of all consumer purchases, including 66 percent of home computers, and they outpace men when it comes to buying consumer electronics."
But at least one commentator, Bruce Watson at Daily Finance, argued that if Apple realized this might be a problem with female consumers, they didn't need to care:
While the name probably turned off a few female customers, they aren't really its target demographic, at least in the first months of release.
Maybe so. At this point, I see the word "release," I'm not thinking product launch. I'm thinking eggs.
The iPad's Name Makes Some Women Cringe [NYT]
My Bloody iValentine [Mediaite]
"With A Name Like iPad, Can Apple's New Device Possibly Have Wings?" [WaPo]
Apple's iPad Becomes Big Fat ‘Intimate' Joke" [MSNBC]
Guys I Don't Know Who Made This Graphic [Reimer]
The 5 Stages of Grief: iPad Joke Edition [Reimer]
Courtney Reimer [Twitter]
The 5 Stages of Grief: iPad Joke Edition [Tanner Ringerud Is Internet]