Apple has reverted its naming scheme for the iPad. What should, after the iPad 2, consequently be called iPad 3 has become the “new iPad”. This is excellent marketing! You move the focus from the version to the product itself.
A consulting colleague of mine now finds it hard to distinguish the different versions of the iPad (he is not necessarily an Apple fanboy). However, in this way Apple positions the iPad brand as more than a set of features combined into a version tag. It is the way you use the product and what it means to people, combined with the Apple “i”.
This is quite similar to the way car makers name their cars. You buy a 3 series, not a 3 series E90 or a C-class not a W204. It is also nothing new in Apples own portfolio: the current MacBook Air is actually a MacBook Air “Mid 2011” model, or even more precise MC968LL/A. But how should a buyer proceed when planning an Apple product purchase? Just use a Buyer’s Guide (e.g. buyersguide.macrumors.com ).
You may read more on the topic and the challenges it induces in App usability in www.fastcodesign.com/1669350/apples-slick-ipad-branding-hides-a-problem-a-fractured-infrastructure