According to Guggenheim analyst, Robert Cihra, Apple could be in position to shake things up a bit this year in the way it names its iPhone models, marking a departure in naming patterns from previous generations.
In a research note sent to investors this week, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, Cihra predicts that Apple could adopt a “potentially simpler branding” pattern for future iPhone devices, noting for example how the company changed its numbering patterns last year by skipping over the expected iPhone 7s branding in favor of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, while also introducing a completely new handset dubbed iPhone X alongside them.
- “We think Apple may use this upcoming cycle to formally change its iPhone naming/branding pattern,” Cihra said in his note, adding that the “mid-market LCD-based iPhone” may simply be called “iPhone” sans any numerical designation.
- Apple’s high-end OLED-equipped iPhone devices will apparently retain the current “X” suffix of its high-end flagship as a way to denote their “increased specifications.”
The analyst went on to highlight the lack of a plus-sized iPhone X model in last year’s lineup, caused as the result of a limited supply of OLED panels, and noted that his firm believes the existence of a 6.5-inch model in the upcoming iPhone lineup may remedy what’s considered a “notable miss.”
Likewise, there are “makings of a solid refresh” for Apple’s rumored LCD-equipped iPhone model, including features carried over from the iPhone X like Face ID, a TrueDepth camera and optimization of machine learning and augmented reality applications potentially bolstering its cause.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has moved to change the naming patterns of its devices. For example, when Steve Jobs introduced his company’s iPad back in April, 2010, it was simply known as iPad — followed by iPad 2, The New iPad, taking a big turn to iPad Air in November, 2013, and ultimately reverting back to iPad, as its currently known. Oh, and throw a couple iPad Pros and minis in there, too..
And while it’s indeed likely that such major changes to Apple’s flagship smartphone lineup will also usher in big changes to the way the company names them, AppleInsider notes that switching to simplify the name to ‘iPhone’ while retaining the current X branding on future models could end up confusing consumers down the line, potentially making it “harder to refer to specific models without some sort of identifying term.”
Three New iPhones
Rumors spearheaded by Ming-Chi Kuo and corroborated in multiple other reports suggest Apple will introduce three new iPhone models this year. In addition to an iPhone SE 2, we’re expected to see a new 5.8-inch OLED model replacing the current iPhone X, a 6.5-inch OLED model currently referred to as ‘iPhone X Plus’, and a mid-range 6.1-inch model boasting Face ID and an edge-to-edge LCD display with no Home button.