Tuesday, August 1, 2017

“And we’re calling it … iPhone”

It seems inevitable now, if you’ve been following recent leaks: we’re getting a next-level iPhone in the Fall. While most analysts seem to agree it will cost from $1,100 to $1,200, the jury is still fairly out on the naming for said product.

The most popular names being suggested are: iPhone 8, iPhone Pro, and iPhone X. As for my pick? I’m going with ‘iPhone’. Here’s why…

Historical Analysis

The main iPhone line’s naming has been pretty predictable due to the tried and true tick-tock cycle, but Apple is going to shake that up this year. Let’s review the main iPhone names up until now:

iPhone > iPhone 3G > iPhone 3GS > iPhone 4 > iPhone 4S > iPhone 5 > iPhone 5S > iPhone 6/6 Plus > iPhone 6S/6S Plus > iPhone 7, 7 Plus 1

Here’s what Apple has done with wholly new models: iPhone 5C, iPhone SE.

I was also going to reference all the names for iPad and Apple Watch, but instead I’ll sum it up like this: both products started out with complicated naming schemes (especially iPad), but have since been reeled in. As of late, also see the more simplistic: Apple Music, HomePod, and AirPods

What does this all tell us?

  1. Apple is very careful with the iPhone brand when it comes to marketing and naming.
  2. Apple made a natural, if initially confusing progression with the iPad naming, which it has never had to make with iPhone. MacBook is similar, though (i.e. Air, Pro).
  3. Apple is trending towards more simplistic product names. Suggestions of “Apple Phone” or similar may be in the same ballpark as other new product names, but Apple would be way off mark to not continue calling this the iPhone in some capacity.

The Case for ‘iPhone’

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone ten years ago, he used misdirection to describe it as three products:

  1. A phone
  2. A widescreen iPod with touch controls
  3. A breakthrough internet communications device

Let’s reinvent this line of thinking for the next-level iPhone. If it were going to be three products, I’d say:

  1. A communications device
    • Covers phone calls and messaging of all kind, in addition to social apps like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.
  2. A powerful computer in your pocket
    • Essentially what the iPhone has become. For many, its their only computer, or most important device.
  3. An insanely-great camera

Also rumored to have an edge-to-edge screen, wireless charging, and more, the next-level iPhone is poised to be the epitome of the original and then some. It will leapfrog every goal established by Steve Jobs in its introductory keynote.

Since there’s not going to be a screen size choice, something along the lines of iPhone 8 Plus is out of the question.

Taking all this into consideration, I don’t think there’s a more perfect name than simply ‘iPhone’. Would it be confusing for people? I don’t think so; at least not any more so than iPhone 7S/7S Plus and iPhone 8 would be. Anyone looking to upgrade according to the normal tick-tock cycle will go for the iPhone 7S/7S Plus because that’s the status quo and extremely familiar. Anyone wanting next year’s iPhone today 2 will go for ‘iPhone’.

In short: iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, iPhone.

If it’s not ‘iPhone’, I’d prefer ‘iPhone X’. ‘Pro’ just doesn’t sound fitting for the iPhone line, for some reason. ‘X’ would serve two purposes: a nod to the tenth anniversary and being just plain badass.

  1. I’ve never liked 6S Plus (and soon-to-be 7S Plus) name. Too many ‘s’ sounds. 
  2. Beautifully said by Rene Ritchie.