Am I correct in observing that lenses don't have names...?
No. Lenses do have names, multiple names, like model numbers and FCC IDs. Manufacturers need a way to track what they make and sell. Some manufacturers also give marketing names to their lenses.
Since model numbers often don't convey information consumers need to determine whether they should purchase a lens, the specifications themselves also serve as a (common) name. Most manufacturers have only one current lens model with a given set of specs. Consumers can refer to lenses using abbreviated names, like "Nikon 18-55mm", and there will usually be only one current matching model. More info is needed when looking at used lenses, but it's not that difficult. If you don't remember whether you want the v1 or v2 lens, it probably doesn't matter. If it matters, write it down, or bookmark the review, or ask Google.
... when I am looking for a new lens, I can never find a model number.
Whether you are able to find the model number is a separate issue from whether it exists. Model numbers for some manufacturers may be internal use only (not well publicized).
A bit of searching on the Nikon website reveals that the model number of a aforementioned Nikon kit lens is: AFS18-55_3.5-5.6GVRII_NT(7C_DL). Note that it is similar to the common name, without spaces and units of measurement. By learning the common name, you are effectively using the model number.
... there must be some advantage of using descriptions for lenses.
Common names (what you refer to as descriptions) are easier to remember than arbitrary model numbers. People are also usually more interested in the specs, which govern how the product will be used. Suppose a company were to introduce Elijah and Elisha lenses. Are you going to buy them based on their names? Wouldn't you be interested in the specs? Someone looking for a 35mm lens can safely skip reviews of 85mm lenses.
I heard lenses used to have names but it got confusing.
Marketing names are confusing. For instance, what are the differences among Pancolar, Planar, Sonnar, Biotar, Biometar, Minitar, Lomogon, Xenon, Xenar, Hexanon, Hexar, Rokkor, Celtic, ... ? What if I told you that these names, more or less, refer to 50mm lenses for different camera systems? If you own only one camera system, just knowing that you want 50/1.8 is enough to get the right one.
Oops, two of those lenses are 32mm... That is the folly of relying on these types of names. You remember the name, but get the wrong lens anyway.
you still need to know either the mount or the aperture to distinguish them.
It is not too much to expect people to know what mount they need for their camera. Most people at least know what camera they are using. Most salespeople can use that information to determine the mount.
Can somebody explain me what the difference between lenses and other consumer electronics are?
Marketing names don't tell people anything about how the product will be used. For products like cars, televisions, and cameras, the use is determined by the product type. But the use of lenses is governed by certain specs. If you need a specific FOV, you need to find lenses with particular focal lengths. If you want to photograph at 1:1 ratios, you need a macro lens. Fancy names don't convey that information.
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