iPad, uPad: Apple meets the push-up bra

Apparently iPad has been enhancing feature sets for a while….

So of course, health Beg to Differ was riveted on Wednesday by “The Big Speech”. No, stuff not the State of the Union Address: it was the unveiling of a new product by Apple that had our attention. And apparently, we weren’t the only ones watching: so were trademark lawyers for several other “iPads”. But will any of it matter for Apple? Read on.

A padded insert from Coconut Grove Intimates - with a branded insert of our own.
A padded insert from Coconut Grove Intimates – with a branded insert of our own.

Trying to pad the feminine market?

On Wednesday, our big question was not “what will this miraculous new product be?” Everybody knew that already. It was leaked long ago that it would be a tablet device that would look something like a big iPod or iPhone.

We were watching to see what they would call it.

The “i” naming convention was a given with iMac, iTunes, etc. But would this one become iSlate? iTablet? iShtar? Surely not <gasp> “iPad”?

Nope, iPad it was

The Fujitsu iPad product
The Fujitsu iPad product

Now, we’re fans of Apple branding in almost every possible way, and we lauded the return of Steve Jobs in a previous post. But instantly upon the announcement, we watched the media and the Twitter universe light up with criticism, and some really off-colour humour, about the name sounding like a feminine hygiene product (see the MadTV clip at bottom).

Even more shocking: it turns out that the hygiene connection was just the beginning. Neither the name itself, or the association with products aimed at females, were unique.

Fujitsu has already filed suit based on its own iPad product (above), and several others are out there.

But the one that jumped out at us was the “iPad” product sold by a small Canadian company called Coconut Grove Pads Inc.. It’s a bra insert like the one shown at the top of this post.

But will any of this matter?

In a word: no.

Let’s be clear: I would never advise a smaller client to go with such a name. There are just too many risk factors, as the media have been gleefully pointing out.

But Apple knows this. And they went ahead in spite of it because, well, they’re Apple. Their market awareness is just too big, and the new product just too smart, for any of this to matter.

They will settle with Fujitsu after some posturing by both parties, the Twitter wags will get their “Maxi” giggles, and the bra company will get its moment in the sun.

But most importantly, the name “iPad” will quickly lose its association with MaxiPads and other feminine products.

Why? Because we will all take ownership of the name as the way to refer to the Apple device – which will push all other uses to the back of the collective consumer brain bus.

And in the branding game, that’s what really matters.

What do you think? Are we artificially inflating our opinion? Let us know in the comments!

Bonus: MadTV scooped Apple on the iPad name in Nov. 2007

NOTE: This is very funny – but mildly gynecological humour might be a bit “edgy” for more conservative work environments, so view with caution.

8 thoughts on “iPad, uPad: Apple meets the push-up bra”

  1. Apple is, well, like you said, Apple. It’s okay for Mac Addicts to feel that way. We’re loyal, and for a good reason: Apple consistently performs remarkably. Apple stuff just works. Apple stuff enables us to be more, well, us.

    What’s not okay is for Apple to start thinking, “Hey, we’re like, you know, Apple, so there!” Where did this unglorious, egotistical, self-aggrandizement come from? “Our best technology…magical and revolutionary…all for an unbelievable price.” Really? THAT’s their focus? On themselves?

    Whenever a company starts sucking up, drinking down their own self-congratulatory press, they’re walking down a dastardly trail. Apple doesn’t need to do the chest-thumping. They can leave that to their fans.

    What’s in a name? In this case, the only name that matters is “Apple.” iPad will neither make nor break that product. What’s in an attitude and worldview? Life and death. That’s all.

    1. Yes indeed. I focused on the name in this post. But I totally agree that the “magical and revolutionary” positioning is discordant with the Apple brand promise. “Just makes sense”; “simple and straightforward”; “built for people” – any of those would ring more true.

      “Magical and Revolutionary” is the type of thing you want people to say *about* you, but it sounds phony coming out of your own mouth.

      Back in my “Return of Steve” post last September, an air of mature humility was one of the things I admired about Steve Jobs 3.0 (post iMac). But his people may not have gotten that memo…

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