Saturday 30 January 2010


Up, Down.

Apple iPadApple iPadApple iPad
a-and Honourable Mention goes to Will it blend?, on YouTube.

1-1. Tablet of great promise, Editorial, Jan 29 2010.
1-2. The iPad’s Name Makes Some Women Cringe, Claire Cain Miller, Jan 27 2010.
1-3. For Apple, iPad Said More Than Intended, Brad Stone, Jan 28 2010.
1-4. Lesser-known iPad apps: bra inserts, shoulder pads, Susan Krashinsky, Jan 28 2010.
     1a. iPad on Mad TV, YouTube.
     1b. Will it blend?, YouTube.

Tablet of great promise, Editorial, Jan 29 2010.

The web world is aflutter with the announcement of Apple's new touch-screen, wireless tablet computer, the iPad. Forget about what the iPad means for Apple's bottom line; screen out the detractors who complain about its price or what it can't do. What matters are the opportunities the iPad, and its inevitable successors, will give to artists to imagine new forms of creation, and to citizens and workplaces to imagine new ways of collaborating.

The creative world is already primed to use the new device. Take the website FLYP: part conventional magazine (with feature articles), part TV magazine (with embedded videos), part photography showcase and part blog (with links to related content). It functions well on a regular desktop or laptop computer. But on an easily portable tablet, where pages can be turned with the flick of the wrist, multimedia magazines such as FLYP will find new audiences.

Tablet computing could herald the interactive e-book, inspiring authors to change the way they write, and spurring them to collaborate with other artists. Fan readers will be able to customize e-book "jackets" using paint software; well sourced non-fiction could include links to the original documents or come out in frequently updated editions, based on new research and stories provided by the audience.

With imagination, a tablet's reach could be stretched still further, helping medical professionals share charts safely, allowing architects and engineers to work better on construction projects in the field, and helping creative educators to attend more easily to visual learners. Workers who are not desk-bound currently have their computing potential constrained. The tablet will change that.

For all the advances in processing power and connectivity and the explosion of online data, computers are a pain. They crash too often, run too hot and, beyond the basics, are hard to use and customize. Phones can do a lot, but even the smartest ones have screens that are too small.

Tablets, on the other hand, will have intuitive interfaces, respond to the touch and are big enough to permit a lot of information to be taken in. That is why they matter, and why their promise is about more than just one company's immediate potential to realize windfall profits. A device that is easy to use, helps people enjoy artistic works anywhere, lets them assist in artistic creation and enables them to work together in new ways is more than an expensive toy; it is a tool that will play as democratizing a role as cellular phones, computers and the Internet already have. Now it is up to us all to take full advantage.

The iPad’s Name Makes Some Women Cringe, Claire Cain Miller, Jan 27 2010.

When Apple announced the name of its tablet computer today — the iPad — my mind immediately went to the feminine hygiene aisle of the drugstore. It turns out I wasn’t alone.

The term “iTampon” quickly became a trending topic on Twitter because of Tweets like this one: “Heavy flow? There’s an app for that!” A CNBC anchor, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, said the iPad was a “terrible name” for the tablet. “It reminds me of feminine products,” she said.

“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.

So if the name is a bit tone-deaf, at least to half the population, will it hurt sales of the iPad?

“In three months’ time, if it delivers on its promise, no one’s going to remember that they chuckled about it,” said Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at Landor Associates, a brand consulting firm that has introduced new names for many products and services. (Like many men, he said that he did not make the menstruation connection at first.)

The women I interviewed said that if the iPad is a must-have, they will buy it, even if their first reaction was to wince at the name.

Apple probably vetted the name and knew the risk it was taking, Mr. Roth said, but used the name anyway because it was so fitting. I e-mailed Apple to ask, but haven’t heard back yet. (Some critics, including a few commenters on the Bits blog, noted that Apple currently lists no women in its top executive positions.)

Mr. Roth said that whatever its drawbacks, the iPad name was effective.

“The minute you heard the name, did you know exactly who it was and who brought it to you?” he said. “Yes. Because they followed the naming convention that they created and have used very cleverly, and it’s a name that actually is very descriptive.”

For Apple, iPad Said More Than Intended, Brad Stone, Jan 28 2010.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple has generated a lot of chatter with its new iPad tablet. But it may not be quite the conversation it wanted.

Many women are saying the name evokes awkward associations with feminine hygiene products. People from Boston to Ireland are complaining that “iPad,” in their regional brogue, sounds almost indistinguishable from “iPod,” Apple’s music player.

Then there are more serious conflicts. Two other high-tech companies already market products called iPad and are laying claim to the trademark.

In the hours after the iPad announcement on Wednesday, “iTampon” became one of the most popular trending topics on Twitter. Apple’s communication team fielded a wave of queries on the subject but characteristically declined to comment.

“I care about words and their connotations, but you don’t have to be in junior high to make this leap,” said Robin Bernstein, a corporate speech writer on Long Island, who addressed the issue on her Facebook page on Wednesday. “A lot of women when they hear the word ‘pad’ are going to think about feminine hygiene.”

Michael Cronan, a naming consultant in Berkeley, Calif., whose company has helped come up with brands like TiVo and Kindle, said many naming experiments show that women tend to reflexively relate words like “pad” and “flow” to bodily concerns.

He is not sure Apple could have found an alternative that ties in as perfectly to its famous brands. “I think we’re going to get over this fairly quickly and we’ll get on with enjoying the experience.”

But the folks at Fujitsu, the Japanese technology firm, may not be quite so eager to forgive and forget. The company has applied for the iPad trademark in the United States and already sells an iPad — a $2,000 hand-held device that shop clerks use to check inventory.

STMicroelectronics, the Swiss semiconductor company, owns the iPad trademark in Europe and uses it as an acronym for integrated passive and active devices — which sounds less fun than playing games on a tablet. (A third company, MagTek of Seal Beach, Calif., makes a portable magnetic card reader of the same name.)

These kinds of naming conflicts have not stopped Apple before. In 2007, on the eve of the introduction of the iPhone, the technology giant Cisco Systems pointed out that it already sold an Internet handset called the iPhone. Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, led the negotiation for the name, peppering Cisco executives with calls at all hours, and telling them he was prepared to claim that Cisco was underutilizing the trademark.

Mr. Jobs finally persuaded Cisco to surrender the trademark with a vague promise to market their products jointly — a partnership that never materialized.

“He’s a very tough businessman and tough negotiator,” said Charles Giancarlo, a former Cisco executive who dealt directly with Mr. Jobs on the issue. “I feel sorry for the poor guy at Fujitsu who is going to be negotiating with Steve directly.”

Lesser-known iPad apps: bra inserts, shoulder pads, Susan Krashinsky, Jan 28 2010.

Canadian maker of polyurethane devices gets boost from brouhaha over Apple iPad name

The iPad is one handy little device. It plays music. It surfs the Web. It enhances your bust line.

So Steve Jobs didn't think of everything. But there is an iPad made just for Victoria and her secrets. A small Canadian company called Coconut Grove Pads Inc. has been making a line of polyurethane bra inserts and shoulder pads registered as the iPad, since 2007.

Coconut Grove's president, Hylton Karon, described the products as “you know, little quickies you ladies use to enhance.”

The Markham, Ont.-based company, which manufactures bras under the brand name The Natural, owns the iPad trademark in the United States. “Unfortunately, we didn't register it for electronics or we'd all be retired,” Mr. Karon said Thursday.

Unfortunately for Apple Inc., (AAPL-Q192.06-7.23-3.63%) some critics are making an association between the iPad and another intimate accessory.

After the new Apple gadget made its debut Wednesday, Twitter feeds and blogs flooded with people mocking the name because it evoked a certain feminine hygiene product. A MadTV sketch on that theme from 2006 enjoyed an Internet renaissance. The imagined tagline? “The new Apple iPad! Please don't make us explain how it works.”

The brouhaha over the name, which made headlines in major publications across the globe, threatens to sap some of the hype from the heavily orchestrated launch of the iPad by Apple.

There also may be a more serious issue. Japanese computer company Fujitsu Ltd. also markets a device called the iPad. The handheld device is made for retail stores to help them manage inventory, do checkouts on the spot and communicate with co-workers. The Fujitsu iPad has been in use since 2002. The company applied for a trademark on the name in 2003, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records. The trademark was never granted to Fujitsu, however, and a fight is now brewing as Apple considers whether to file an objection with the agency to claim its right to the name.

Apple has had these types of hiccups before: After the company debuted its now wildly popular iPhone in January, 2007, Cisco Systems Inc. sued for trademark infringement. The two companies later settled.

For its part, Coconut Grove has no ambitions to go up against Apple in court. If anything, Mr. Karon said the publicity is good.

While his company “never made any intimation of being related to the big Apple,” Mr. Karon said he did want to capitalize on the awareness of the i-brand.

“It's i-everything these days,” he said. “It's just a play on what's become so familiar.”

Mr. Karon has started a new company called Intelligent Fabrics, which will market a new brand, iFabrics.

For now he'll continue marketing his iPads, which come in sizes B to DD, to insert in bras to give a woman's figure a bit of boost. Mr. Karon is also enthusiastic about his non-slip foam shoulder pads, which were featured on the Today Show yesterday morning.“Shoulder pads, which were out for many years, have come back in vogue,” he said.

The shoulder pads were shown on TV under the Natural brand, but Mr. Karon hinted yesterday that now that the name has gotten some attention, he might market his own iPad a bit more actively.

While the Apple iPad has been hailed as the next big thing, iPads aren't Coconut Grove's premier product.

“It's still small. The bras are clearly a bigger part of our business,” Mr. Karon said. Could the publicity change that?

“Who knows?” he said. “We'll certainly run with it!”

No comments: