Apple’s product naming polices can be somewhat confusing and arbitrary: And today an audience member at the D10 conference called Apple CEO Tim Cook out on the somewhat bizarre nomenclature, “How did you guys go from an iPad to an iPad 2 to an iPad (?!) and then from an iPhone 4 to a 4s?” It actually doesn’t really stem from any rhyme or reason once you think about it.
“A lot of people ask me that question,” he said. Because it’s a good one.
“Well you look back at iPod,” he reminisced (Cook is a huge fan of the iPod), “We changed it a few times. We changed the size and came up with the ‘iPod Nano.’ Then we changed it massively and then we came up with ‘iPod shuffle.'”
Cook revealed that the naming iterations often accompany massive product shifts and are actually not stemming from any sort of structure. Apparently Apple really names things on a case by case basis, “We went from the MacBook Pro to the MacBook Air to the iMac. You can do it either way is the real story.”
” You can stick with the [same] name and people generally love that (I wonder why), and/or keep upping the number, or keep the same IDs like with the 4s” Cook said, revealing that some times the choices are just arbitrary, for example, the ‘S’ in 4S stands for ‘Siri,’ whereas the S in 3GS stands for ‘speed.’
This is the first time to my knowledge Apple has confirmed this speculation — When the 4s came out many pundits joked that it stood for “Sorry I’m not an iPhone 5” but Apple never actually did specify what it did stand for.
Kara Swisher then took this cue to ask him what Apple was going to call the iPhone 5, to which Cook responded by changing the subject.
“Who had the next question?” he joked.