Any company that makes gadgets for a billion people– and there are not many– already knows the value of a good brand name. While Apple has begun to move away from the iEverything monicker for most products, some products have a brand of their own. Mac. iPad. Watch. And, yes, iPhone.
The problem Apple has with iPhone is the naming scheme. From iPhone 3 to iPhone 7, the scheme was much the same. iPhone 4 to 4s, iPhone 5 to 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but again iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Along came iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, so one would expect the following year to be iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
It was, but iPhone X marked a notable change in the iPhone’s naming scheme. A good change. Why?
Nothing improves without change. Along those lines, in five years we could have had iPhone 13 and 13 Plus. Seriously. That’s just wrong. Apple made the switch last year and it’s likely iPhone 8 will be the last numerically named iPhone.
iPhone X is perfect. So, how do you make a popular iPhone name even better? Change it. For 2018 we have iPhone Xs, which pays homage to the past naming scheme, but since iPhone Xs has a bigger brother– a much bigger brother– iPhone Xs Max means even more than plus.
What happened to iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus?
Both are replaced by a single model– iPhone XR. What sets XR apart from other iPhone Xs models, besides the name, is the single camera, an LCD display vs. OLED display, and a few other goodies. Clearly, at least for now, Apple is betting that iPhone customers truly believe that bigger is better.
Bigger? iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays, respectively. That means the smallest and least expensive iPhone model, at least for now, is the 4.7-inch display on 7 and 8. Apple may have a successor for the not-quite-as-popular as users wanted it to be iPhone SE, but clearly less is not more, smaller is not better (financially speaking).
The new iPhone X line is easily differentiated. iPhone XR looks attractive because it’s the least expensive new phone, but comes with better battery life, multiple colors, and an LCD display that is likely to be visually indistinguishable from perfect. Just like iPhone Xs and Xs Max.
What about next year?
Apple may have something else up its collective naming sleeve, but it’s easy to see iPhone X sticking around awhile. iPhone Xe and Xe Max, for example. Apple got more than a decade from Mac cats and it looks as if the California names will have legs to last a few years.
For now, love it or hate, iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR are here and clearly differentiated with no confusion anywhere in the line.
Perfect. For now.