What is the new iPad called again?
(Updated on 03/04/2019)

At the release of the news in San Francisco back in March, the question was asked, “So what do we call this thing?” And the response, according to an Apple spokesman: “It’s just ‘iPad.’ It’s what it is.”

Apple did it again with the release of its newest iPad tablet calling it the “new iPad”. Several months after the release, many people are still confused and scratching their heads on what the official name is for this tablet, so I decided to do some investigation and digging for you all.

The challenge we face as consumers is that we are not familiar with the various naming conventions manufacturers like Apple uses and, yes, they do actually use one, but they don’t clearly explain it upfront. To add even more confusion to the mix, Apple decided to throw us a curveball by discontinuing the successor iPad Air 2 with the launch of this 2017, new iPad, so we automatically progressively name it iPad Air 3, but that is not correct. The rumored names were iPad Air 3 or iPad HD prior to launch but we all know now that is not the case either.

Let me try to break down the naming convention using Apple’s MacBook laptop family for example, as I understand it from their website so that you can also be on the same page. I believe once you understand how they break down the naming for their MacBook laptop family, the iPad tablet family naming is a lot clearer.

 Apple Laptop Lines:

  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Air
  3. MacBook Pro  

Apple MacBook, MacBook Air & MacBook Pro Comparisons: 

apple macbook macbook air macbook pro comparison
Source: Apple Inc. Product_macbook_air_*. Digital image. Mac - Compare Models - Apple. Apple, Inc., n.d. Web. 2017. <>.

As you can see from above, each of these lines has their name designation for the type of laptop (MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro) that they are and as new ones are released, they differentiate them by the year and timeframe (i.e. Early, Mid, Late 2017). For a few of the models, they even go a step further with breaking it down by the screen size (i.e. 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch). Apple likes to define its various device releases over the years by the year/size, rather than giving them specific names. This also plays towards why the public gets confused with their new releases and causes angst.



Now lets tackle and move to the iPad family line of tablets. This tablet family also follows the same formula (iPad, iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad mini) for their line break down. As you can see they actually use similar logic with the tablet as they did with the MacBook family, and each version has it’s designated, ‘generation’ for the version rather than year and timeframe. The new 2017 iPad actually falls under the original iPad line and follows the previous, iPad 4 (4th generation), and not the iPad Air 2 (2nd generation). The official name for this new tablet is iPad 5th generation, corresponding to their official online help documentation.

With Apple officially discontinuing the iPad Air 2, the ‘iPad Air” line does not currently have a replacement or predecessor until further notice. This was the same situation back when the ‘iPad 4’ was discontinued the launch of the iPad Air, 1st generation model. Now today, we know that the new predecessor to the iPad 4 is this new iPad, 5th generation (iPad 5). Also, we now know that the new iPad released in 2017 is not the replacement model for iPad Air 2, (iPad Air, 2nd generation).

Apple Tablet Lines:

  1. iPad
  2. iPad Air
  3. iPad Pro
  4. iPad mini 

ipad overview

Just for giggles, I am adding some feature highlights of the new iPad, 5th generation for you to quickly review. You can also go to Apple’s website for more comparison information on the new iPad. Some of these features are pretty straightforward but always good to get confirmation that they do exist because you never know, it might disappear like the mute switch above the volume buttons. :)

ipad 5th generation descriptions 

Source: Apple Inc. SET_overview_iPad. Digital image. IPad Users Guide. Apple, Inc., n.d. Web. 2017. <>.



With so many generations of iPads released, there is no shame in getting confused with the various iPad names. I am sure even if you Google, ‘iPad 5th generation’ today, you will still find search results that pull up the old, ‘iPad Air, 1st generation’ tablet. Hopefully, with this post, you have a clearer understanding of the current iPad name and why Apple did, what they did. There is a method to their innovative madness. 

To be honest, if you are in the market for a new tablet, you cannot go wrong with an iPad regardless of the name. The new iPad 5th generation is faster, lighter, the screen is more vibrant, and most importantly it’s much, much cheaper, with a base model priced at $329! With all of these benefits that this new iPad brings to the table, it might be a good time to upgrade. Oh, and on a selfish note, don’t forget to check out my executive iPad folio cases that fit perfect for the new, iPad 5th generation. If you are due to upgrade and planning to purchase the new, ‘iPad, 5th generation’, be sure to share with us what you are using it for.

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