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iPad name drawing jeers online

Adobe Systems is urging Apple to support the Flash video and animation software on the new iPad portable computer. Adobe Systems is urging Apple to support the Flash video and animation software on the new iPad portable computer. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)
Globe Wire Services / January 29, 2010

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You have to wonder whether there were any women in the room when the marketing people at Apple decided to call the company’s new gadget the iPad. Jokes about feminine hygiene products are flying.

“Will women send their husbands to the Apple store to buy iPads?’’ went one joke on Twitter.

Apple, a company notoriously secret about its product development process, declined to comment about the name or how many women were involved in the launch. Three Apple executives, all men, introduced the iPad in San Francisco Wednesday.

But brand experts said the name is not so bad.

“It fits with what Apple’s been doing consistently. They take literal words that exist and stick an ‘i’ in front of it. And it works for them. It’s not offensive despite the silly jokes,’’ said Tye Heckler, a vice president at Seattle-based Hecker Associates, which is responsible for the names Panera and Starbucks.

Ira Kalb, at the Center for Global Innovation at the University of Southern California, said the jokes are probably good for Apple - more buzz - and will eventually pass.

He said other names floated for the product - iTab, iSlate, iTablet - would have been far worse. ITablet has too many syllables; iSlate is too ancient; iTab is too confusing.

In another matter, Adobe Systems Inc., which makes Flash video software, complained that Apple is not supporting Flash on the iPhone or the iPad, making it difficult for Apple customers to view content on 75 percent of the world’s websites.

“It appears that Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on the relationship between content publishers and consumers,’’ Adrian Ludwig, a marketing manager for Adobe, said in a blog post.

Adobe Flash provides video and animation on about three-quarters of the world’s websites, according to Adobe.

Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, said in March 2008 that Flash software is too slow for the iPhone. Since then, Adobe has waged a campaign to get Flash software on more than 1 billion handsets and said it’s working with handset makers.

“We need more support from Apple to get the full Flash Player working on the iPhone, and we assume on the iPad,’’ said Anup Murarka, Adobe’s director of technology strategy. An Apple spokesman did not reply to a request seeking comment.

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