Tim Cook on how Apple names its products

In March many were left surprised by Apple’s decision to name its third-generation iPad “the new iPad.”

At AllThingsD‘s D10 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on Tuesday, Tim Cook explained that Apple only changes the secondary names of their products if they feature certain important functions, or if there is a radical change in design.

That’s why the iPhone 4S and iPod Mini / Nano were launched with those names.

“Lot of people ask me that about iPad. If you look back at iPod, we had an iPod and we changed it a few times and we kept calling it iPod. When we announced a new one and we called it iPod Mini. When we changed it massively we called it Nano. You can stick with the name and people generally love that, or you can put a number at the end which denotes the generation. And if you keep the same industrial design, as in the case of the 4S, some people might say it stands for Siri or speed. We were thinking of Siri when we did it. For the 3GS we were thinking of speed,” Cook explained.

The Apple head also said that when a product becomes extremely popular, the company gives up on the secondary names and that is how the iPad tablet or the Mac got their names.

What Cook says is that if the name of the product itself is very strong, a secondary name is pointless, unless really important features or major design changes are implemented.

His comments could fuel rumors that the next iPhone will bear a different naming than simply the iPhone 5.