How Apple’s secrecy affects iPad case makers

Most people know that Apple doesn’t divulge much when a product is being made, and while that helps fuel the rumour mills, manufacturers get the same treatment.

In fact, before the iPad Air launched, we only had rumours, and heard that the next iPad could still be called the new iPad, or even changed to the iPad 5. But looking at the accessories coming out for this new iPad, it’s clear the accessory makers never really know. And if they do, they’re not allowed to say it, even being forced to print up packaging suggesting otherwise.

As part of an accessory round-up for the new iPad (coming early next week!), we’ve noticed an interesting trend: nobody has named their cases properly.

Let’s just get this out there so everyone knows it: the 2013 iPad is called the iPad Air. It’s thinner, lighter, and closer in design to the iPad Mini, except bigger in screen size.

We even have a review of it. 

And yet, upon looking at Belkin’s new casing products, it’s for the “new iPad,” which is to say, it’s for this year’s new iPad – the iPad Air – not the product called the “new iPad” which was actually the last iPad (2012).

Confused yet?

Kensington took a different approach, siding with the rumours of what it will be called.

On its boxes, it has called the new iPad the “iPad 5,” which is technically what it is, even if it’s also not called the iPad 5.

Names are a big deal when you’re talking about printing packaging. People know what they’re looking for, and so if you’re talking to someone who wants to find a keyboard case for an iPad Air and the wrong name pops up in their search, they will be less inclined to buy that product for fear it won’t work.

Some information is given to manufacturers of these accessories, mind you, and can include sizing and weight, as this will allow companies to actually have some prototypes ready, and even make their own wood or plastic dummies to test in their accessories.

But names aren’t always provided, and when printed materials are necessary, getting the names right can be, too.

Australian bag and accessory manufacturer STM has previously told GadgetGuy that rumours often play a part in accessory design, the information for creating the products effectively weighed up and worked out on which has the most amount of truth.

Except for where deals have been made with Apple – and manufacturers probably won’t divulge that information publicly – most manufacturers are going off guesswork.

Unlike Kensington and Belkin, though, Logitech played the printing game a little closer to what the iPad definitely was.

Rather than take it on a hunch, Logitech’s cases are packaged for the “iPad (5th generation)” which is technically true, even if they’re not called that by Apple.

In any case, knowing which case you need to buy for is still definitely a thing, especially since Apple now has two specific types of 9.7 inch iPad design in the market, with the iPad 2 and the iPad Air.

We’re sure all of these manufacturers will update their packaging shortly, making it easier for consumers everywhere to find the case they need.