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What will Apple call its 2018 iPhones – we look at all the options

With the introduction of the 2017 iPhones, Apple backed itself into a corner regarding its naming convention, so how it will proceed in 2018? After all it currently has three phones using two diferent types of numerals, a skipped digit and a Plus version.

In our recent article ‘2018 iPhones: Everything we know so far’ we briefly touched on the possible names Apple could adopt for its upcoming iPhones. As it turns out, this in itself generated quite a lively debate so we thought we’d go over the available options.

The introduction of the iPhone X resulted in Apple having three flagship grade iPhones in its 2017 line-up as opposed to its usual two, covering two distinct designs. All the signs point to this changing this year as Apple consolidates its iPhone line-up doubling down on Face ID, gestures and an all-screen design – notch, sadly, included.

Predicted 2018 iPhones to be launched next month

Apple will revert to having two flagship phones differentiated by their OLED screens, cameras, RAM, storage and premium grade materials.

To provide clarity for your thought processes we’ve split out the subject into two distinct sections. Flagships – the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED iPhone models and mainstream referring to the rumored lone 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.

As with most informed decisions you can’t consider things in isolation, as such, here’s some background musings to help you make your decision.

It’s been reported that Apple could kill-off the iPhone X. Firstly, this could be in relation to the product and its name in its entirety, thus no more iPhone X – ever. Secondly, it could merely mean this iteration of the hardware, making it unlikely that we’ll see the iPhone X remain on sale with a lower price point but the X moniker could live on.
We still observe peeps pronouncing the iPhone X as iPhone ‘ex’ as opposed to ‘ten’.
The ‘Plus’ moniker works and is widely used within the smartphone industry to differentiate an enhanced model, more importantly, consumers understand it.
Numbering systems allow Apple to have a wide iPhone product and price range by keeping older devices on sale. At the time of writing the Apple iPhone model range is shown below and it’s a consideration when discussing naming conventions:
2017 iPhone model range and price points in US $
The iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus will remain on sale at a lower price point following the 2018 iPhone launches.

Apple will retire the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus from the majority of worldwide markets. However…

While the rumors continue regarding a replacement/upgrade for the iPhone SE, given the similar specs, it’s plausible that Apple could keep the iPhone 6s in its lineup at a reduced price point and choose to retire the current iPhone SE instead.
Possible Flagship OLED iPhone names

iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus – Continues the naming convention while providing future flexibility for cascading down in the iPhone range. However, doesn’t fully recognize the achievement of the iPhone X and takes a step down from the iPhone X. A rather unlikely option.

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus – A not-so-smooth transition from the iPhone X reverting back from Roman numerals (until it’s 20th anniversary iPhone XX). Provides future flexibility for cascading down in the iPhone range. Doesn’t directly recognize the achievement of the iPhone X.

iPhone X and iPhone X Plus or iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Plus – Celebrates the ‘nexus point’ that the iPhone X represented. Apple will remain with and embrace the X moniker, as it did in the past with its Mac Operating System (OS X) to celebrate the new path taken by the iPhone X. Problematic for cascading down in the iPhone range, something Apple didn’t need to worry about with OS X.

iPhone X 2 and iPhone X 2 Plus – Celebrates the iPhone X. Provides future flexibility for cascading down in the iPhone range. However, the names seem a little convoluted, and we’d envisage some consumers calling it the ten-2.

iPhone and iPhone Plus – Adopts the approach take with iPad by dropping the model number. Problematic for cascading down in the iPhone range and creates a proper mess for online shoppers.

iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Plus – Mirroring approach taken by the iPad Pro’s, Apple could choose to differentiate its flagship products with the Pro moniker. Problematic for cascading down in the iPhone range, while Pro Plus moniker reminds us of a pharmaceutical drug.

Possible mainstream LCD iPhone names

iPhone – Adopts the approach of the iPad by dropping the model number. Only works if flagship iPhones carry a Pro or some other differentiating moniker. Problematic for cascading down in the iPhone range which must surely now be a consideration due to it’s higher price point.

iPhone SE or iPhone SE 2 – Doesn’t differentiate the step-change from the current iPhone SE. Current iPhone SE sits at the bottom of the iPhone line up while new iPhone SE would sit much higher. Problematic for cascading down in the iPhone range./p>

iPhone SE Plus – Differentiates itself from current iPhone SE allowing that model to remain in the line up (assuming the iPhone 6s doesn’t replace it). Problematic for cascading down in the iPhone range.

iPhone 11 SE – Coherent if flagships follow iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus naming conventions. Could the SE moniker make it seem more than the OLED iPhone in consumers minds?

Time to vote

You’ve read our musings, and now it’s your turn to vote, we’ve got two polls for you. If you feel we’ve missed any possible permutations off leave your ideas in the comments section.

What will Apple call its OLED Flagships?

What will Apple call its ‘Mainstream’ LCD iPhone