After the first iPhone, Apple’s iconic smartphone carried a model number. Apple may now drop the model number, in favor of branding in line with their other products.
Long time Apple customers are accustomed to products that don’t have a number in the brand name. For example, there’s no MacBook X or iPad 9. These devices are differentiated by the year they were launched. There are 2019 MacBook Pro models, but no MacBook X. With the former case, the year is not part of the brand. It’s simply called a MacBook Pro.
The iPhone launch in 2007 ushered in a new wave of Apple customers. Each iPhone model had either a new number or an appended “S” to underscore its newness. This strategy made sense, as the iPhone accounted for two-thirds of Apple’s revenues. The numerical branding underscored each model’s advancement, coaxing customers into upgrading their devices.
Apple, in its persistent efforts to think differently, may be dropping the model numbers on the iPhone in favor of more familiar branding. According to Bloomberg, Apple will replace the iPhone XS and XS Max with the iPhone Pro. The iPhone XR will also likely get a new name — perhaps something as simple as the iPhone.
With this new naming scheme, future iPhone models will be differentiated based on model year. The ones that launch this year will likely be the 2019 iPhone Pro and 2019 iPhone. As with the MacBook Pro, the year won’t be part of the official brand name.
The new naming convention makes a lot of sense, as the iPhone has a lengthy lineage. If Apple continued with this trend, they would have rather strange names, like the iPhone 15. These names don’t sound right to consumers, as few tech products have this sort of longevity.
After version 10, most companies tend to revamp product naming conventions. For example, Windows 10 is supposedly the last version of Windows. Newer version are referred to by build numbers.
A decline in iPhone sales may also serve as the impetus for change. iPhone Pro sounds new and advanced. It may convince more consumers to upgrade their device. At a time when iPhone sales are in decline, changing the naming convention may prove to be a low cost method to boost smartphone sales.