Apple's naming style for its products may seem silly at times -- the iPhone 5, for example, if it is even called that, will actually only be the second iPhone granted a numerical moniker, after the iPhone 4. Now there's actually a way to put a real, concrete formula on Apple's naming schemes, and blogger Marko Savic has figured it out. Essentially, Apple names its products around three different ideas: Premium vs Regular differentiation, Form Factor naming, and Generational naming.
Premium vs Regular differentiation is probably best seen in the MacBook/MacBook Pro names -- Apple's got two similar products for different audiences, and it uses those names to show consumers which one is which. The Mac and the Power Mac (or Mac Pro) is another example.
Second, form factor is another big element in Apple's naming conventions -- this is how it delineates the various products in the iPod or iMac line. And then there's generational naming, which has been most confusing so far: The iPhone 3G meant that consumers started expecting the "numbers" to get bigger, which leads us to next week's expected iPhone 5 announcement.
Savic suggests that with a brand new product like the rumored iPad mini, Apple will simply just add yet another marker to the existing brand, signifying that this is a completely new product, and spreading the line out. I think, however, that regardless of any "rules" in naming, Apple will just do what it has always done: Pick a name that consumers will most identify with (not to mention desire). No matter the reasons behind Apple's naming schemes, the company always seems to land on something that clearly shows where the product exists in Apple's lineup, and it will no doubt continue to keep trying to pick names along those lines going forward.