When the iPad first came out, I remember reading a number of comments that said it was a poor name for one reason or another. Why not iTablet instead?
Considering the long development cycle of the iPad, surely the name was something Apple took very seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if they had focus groups (or even a whole department!) devoted to just that. One thing was clear - from a hardware perspective, this was a tablet. Perhaps "iTablet" sounded too long when compared to iPhone or iPod? (one too many syllables and all). However, to my ears, iPad is similar enough sounding to iTablet -- just toggle back and forth "pad" and "tab" a few times and judge for yourself. Maybe that's all there was to it, something that sounded like tablet but shorter. iPad.