With the introduction of the iPad 2, I find myself hesitating when trying to refer to several of them. Is it iPads 2 or iPad 2's?


7 Answers 7


Since iPad 2 is the brand name, the plural form would be "iPad 2s". A search for "iPad 2s" reveals over 500 hits while "iPads 2" yields only 80. Normally I don't care much for Google search results as an indicator for grammar, but in this case it appears that many of the "iPad 2s" hits are from official vendors and reviewers. However, there is enough room for doubt that you are probably fine spelling it how you like.


According to Apple all their product names are adjectives and not nouns and so they cannot be plural or possessive. Here is an excerpt from their document Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights

Rules for Proper Use of Apple Trademarks

  1. Trademarks are adjectives used to modify nouns; the noun is the generic name of a product or service.

  2. As adjectives, trademarks may not be used in the plural or possessive form.

Correct: I bought two Macintosh computers.

Not Correct: I bought two Macintoshes.

I guess iPad 2 tablets is correct. boo. :(

  • 3
    +1 for exposing Apple as pedants. I used to only dislike the company because it's so rapacious (I could never really criticise their actual products). Now I have further much-needed justification for my prejudice. Aug 16, 2011 at 18:15
  • You make a valid point here, Dave. I was wondering if we could use the Apple trademarks as adjectives or nouns and this legal document suggests we could, or should in formal places, use them as adjectives.
    – Jamie
    Aug 16, 2011 at 18:22
  • There was a similar problem many years ago with one of Digital Equipment Corporation's products. The question was whether two or more VAX computers were VAXes, VAXen, VAXii, or VAX's [shudder]. The answer was, as with the Apple standard, that you had some number of VAX computers. Jan 8, 2016 at 4:38

In speech I would say "iPad [tu:z]", pluralizing after the numeral. However, I find all of the possible written representations of that to be somewhat unsatisfactory, so I would reword to avoid it. Simply say "iPads" if the context makes it clear that you're talking about generation 2, or use a circumlocution like "iPad 2 devices" or "iPad 2 tablets".


Not Google but general intuition will make you realize that it should be iPad 2s and not iPad 2's (with the apostrophe).

  • 1
    But in writing... well, let's just hope Apple doesn't come out with an iPad 2s (cf Apple IIgs ;-) Mar 22, 2011 at 11:35
  • Haha good one ;)
    – n0nChun
    Mar 22, 2011 at 11:38
  • that would then just be here are two iPad 2s'
    – mplungjan
    Mar 22, 2011 at 12:17
  • 1
    I too had two iPad 2s, Dad, but my iPad 2s went bad, Dad. If you use your iPad 2s, be sure your iPad 2s don't snooze. (apologies to Dr. Seuss.)
    – Hellion
    Mar 22, 2011 at 21:51
  • 2
    I had two ipad two esses. Yeesss, the preciousss ipad two esssessss they is. Aug 16, 2011 at 20:39

Or you could go for:

Second edition iPads.


People often pluralise "unusual" words with 's instead of plain s. Technically speaking it's considered incorrect (see "grocers' apostophe"), but I personally don't endorse that position.

A common example is when referring to decades/centuries. A lot of people write the 70's, for example (although even more write the 70s). That particular example may be influenced by the fact that people also write the '70s to indicate the missing century component, and no-one ever wants to put two apostrophes in that single "word".

In short, although some may say the usage is ungrammatical, I think it's just a matter of style.


The answer will be determined by popular usage, but it is likely to be iPad 2's.

The reason has been elegantly explained by Steven Pinker in his book, The Language Instinct (ISBN 0060976519). In one part of our brain, we store all the irregular plurals we know. When that fails, we apply a general rule we have stored elsewhere: for a plural noun, add -s.

This is why many people tend to use mouses rather than mice for the computer pointing device. To these people, it seems like a new word, so they automatically apply the general rule instead of recalling the irregular plural for the name of the furry creature.

Furthermore, when a person conceptualizes a compound word as a proper name for a thing, such as iPad 2, that person will add -s to the end of it and get iPad 2's, just as we would say Bill Clintons, never Bills Clinton.

Thus, because of the way our brains work, the plural form of any new proper name, even a compound name, will almost always follow the simple rule add -s to the end.

Let me also address the point made elsewhere about trademarks. Trademarks which function as brand names are adjectives: Ivory soap, IBM PC.

But a brand name can enter the language as a noun when people begin speaking of the thing itself using the trade name. For example, kleenex for a facial tissue was originally the trademark Kleenex tissue.

When this occurs, the trademark office actually does the reasonable thing and withdraws trademark protection for the term. It does this by the logic that you cannot have exclusive use of an ordinary word.

Companies are well aware of this. This is why their public relations offices will plead with the public to use their trademark as an adjective. They hope to influence the public to do so, because otherwise they will lose their trademark. And that is why Apple is on record stating that their trademarks are adjectives.

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