iPhone 6 / 5S dubbing could be important factor


The Apple iPhone is an iconic smartphone and has been a pioneer in the mobile industry since the original iPhone was released back in 2007. The next iPhone in the series is expected to have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S dubbing and today we wanted to look at the importance of Apple’s naming system and whether it has started to have a negative effect and should be overhauled.

Since the first-generation iPhone we’ve since seen the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and most recently the iPhone 5. The next iPhone is expected to release sometime between this summer and fall and while many tech sites have dubbed this the iPhone 5S nobody really knows what it might be officially named and it could just as easily be titled the iPhone 6.

Commonly it seems to be thought that the iPhone 5S may release this summer with an iPhone 6 release early next year and lately we have been hearing a lot about the iPhone 5S being merely a refresh of the iPhone 5 rather than something to get really excited about. The question is, is this based on accurate information on genuine leaked specs of an iPhone 5S or is it merely the title of 5S that leads people to think this is more likely to be a minor refresh?

Most of us expect to see an improved processor, better camera, higher resolution display and maybe 2GB of RAM for the next iPhone, plus the next iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 7. Imagine for a moment if you will, that the next iPhone arrives and is called the iPhone 5S. If you already have the iPhone 5 you might feel, simply from the name alone, that it’s not worth you upgrading until the iPhone 6.

We have a funny feeling that if the next iPhone arrived and was called the iPhone 6 rather than the iPhone 5S it would sell in higher numbers, even if the specs were exactly the same, maybe because the ‘S’ names sound more like an upgrade rather than a completely revamped phone with something new to offer. An interesting look into Apple’s naming system by Ken Segall offers a really good insight into the iPhone numberings. Segall previously worked as an Apple consultant until 2008 and prior to that was creative director for Apple’s ad agency.

He feels that while it makes sense for Apple to stick to a numbering system for the iPhone (as when a new one arrives Apple still sells some of the older models), the ‘S’ versions should be dropped in favor of simply moving up to the next number with each release. His feeling is that the ‘S’ moniker is more likely to indicate an interim kind of iPhone to consumers, something we find ourselves agreeing with. This means that if the next iPhone were to be something truly groundbreaking it would still be more likely to be regarded as a fill-in device if it was titled the 5S rather than the iPhone 6.

Segall makes a relevant point when he refers to car naming systems and says that if consumers were looking for a new car right now they would be considering 2013 models but if one of these were labeled 2012S most people wouldn’t look twice. He concludes by saying that surely each new iPhone deserves a fresh new number alone, so that the next iPhone should be the iPhone 6 and says, “If it’s worthy of being a new model, it’s worthy of having its own number.”

This seems fair enough to us although even with the following number alone used for each new iPhone it would not stop accusations of “incremental” changes from some. Many said this about the iPhone 5 even though it did bring major improvements and changes. We certainly feel though that a new number for each iPhone makes more sense and has to be the way forward for Apple. Although it may not be logical, human nature is such that the same number used again for a new iPhone with a letter added on will always sound more like a minor supplement rather than something more significant.

We’d really like to know how you feel about the Apple iPhone naming system? Do you agree that the next iPhone should skip to the iPhone 6 name? Maybe you’d like to see a new hurricane-like naming system that didn’t include numbers at all but good old-fashioned names such as iPhone George, iPhone Hannah, iPhone Ian, or alternatively iPhone Glorious, iPhone Hero and iPhone Ideal. Let us know with your comments, as we’d love to hear your ideas.

Source: Ken Seagall


21 thoughts on “iPhone 6 / 5S dubbing could be important factor”

  1. Graham Bentley says:

    Far from being poorly written, re comments above, it is actually very well written and gives many valid points. The number by which the iPhone is known, is of upmost importance and may influence how many millions of people decide to purchase it or not.

  2. S Dot says:

    The issue isn’t really the numbering. When the 3GS came out people were excited, but didn’t know whether they should feel cheated. It wasn’t until the 4S that Apple basically confirmed that S models wouldn’t be major updates and now looking back we can feel confident about that. If S models had turned out to be major updates people would be just as excited. Particularly if there’s enough time between updates.

  3. iJake says:

    Poorly written??? anyway, whatever… very good points that I completely agree with. But going further I would like to see each generation being numbered to that generation, like the Power Macs of old (G3, G4, G5). So lets get the iPhone naming back on track and call the next one the iPhone G7!

  4. just my thoughts says:

    While I do think the “S” added to the number of the iPhones upcoming new model indicates a minor upgrade to the current iPhone 5, as it has been for the past models, to seemingly hold consumers over until the actual new version comes out in 2014. I think that just naming it the iPhone 6 will not change that thought process for consumers unless the new model shows actual significant upgrades as opposed to an identical phone with some minor internal upgrades. Unfortunately my upgrade opportunity with my provider did not coincide with the release of the iPhone 5 which prevented me from being able to purchase the iPhone 5 because this seemed to be a true upgrade and worth using the upgrade. And also unfortunately it will allow me to use my upgrade eligibility on the next model. But if the previous pattern continues the next model will not be the worth using the upgrade because its basically the same phone. Unless they make the significant upgrades worthy of being the newest model I don’t feel they should name it the iPhone 6. I know its just a rumor but I read that Apple was going to increase the screen size to compete with the Galaxy S phones, Droid Razor phones, etc… but decided to push that to the true iPhone 6 to be released in 2014. I feel that is a huge mistake and these interim upgrade “S” versions are a slap in the face to the millions of loyal Apple iPhone consumers because the Android developers like Samsung, Motorola, HTC, etc… are giving consumers true new versions of their phones both technologically and in innovative designs. I used to be a loyal iPhone consumer until the pattern of the “S” versions between actual new designs became apparent. And I am guessing that others are starting to feel the same way. I would love to go back to the iPhone but unless they start to catch up to how the Android phones are truly upgrading the entire phone from new version to new version I just can justify it. And I know that Apple is not the only company to do this, Droid RAZR and RAZR Max have seemed to keep the same basic design as well as the Galaxy S II and III seemed very similar. It seems to be a problem with a number of companies but to justify the ridiculous prices (without a contract renewal upgrade) they need to make sure the new phones are truly worth it both technologically and with aesthetic design. I am far from an expert so these are just my basic opinions and observations. A lot of people may disagree with my views but I think there are a lot of people that share the basic idea of what I am expressing.

  5. Julian says:

    The s in the iPhone 3GS meant for speed, iPhone 4S defined Siri and the highly anticipated iPhone 5s will bring forth a fingerprint scanner raising security awareness among audiences and was dubbed to be mainly for security. Speed, Siri and perhaps Security.

  6. Mike Philly says:

    How come no one brings up the fact that the completely revamped model gets released every two years because… that’s how long contracts last? Every time I get a new phone, I sign a two year contract. In two years, Apple has released a completely revamped phone, with out fail. Makes sense?

  7. Someone says:

    This article tried hard to give good point but it really doesnt make sense, i mean now we look back and we are like wow the iphone’s with S suck but in the moment everyone wanted them. When the iphone 4s came out everyone went crazy because of Siri and that made the phone totally different then the last one. Also, people dont realize how far the iphone has come. Does anyone remember the old iPhone? Even the iphone 4 is now only $1 and its because people dont want the “old” iphone no matter what the difference

  8. John says:

    This was a poorly written article, pretty much said the same thing over and over, I think that the should stick to numbers because its simple but if it’s a huge upgrade make it the 6 but if it’s just a better chip or one thing name it the 5S

  9. Maninatent says:

    I don’t understand, it’s quite clear why the S varient exists.
    Major changes are full iterations (3, 4, 5) and upgardes are S.
    Reason? As someone pointed out Apple has two types of customers. FanBoys and people who upgarde with their contracts. FanBoys are likely to buy all models, but for most people upgrades come at a price. Apple do not want to be spending all their R&D money on a step change every year and miss half the market, so they have dropped into a two year cycle to fit that.
    The only people that think people would buy every iteration of those who buy every iteration, but that isn’t the majority of their market now.
    If they went for a 4, 5, 6, 7 model and only half of those were step changes, actually rather than gain sales, people would hold off until a true “upgrade”. The S allows people to keep in cycle and ensures a customer base yearly, while allowing them to flag step changes,
    And guess what. I think Apple understand their own naming strategy in terms of product development and reveune.

  10. Joe says:

    Personally I think they should skip the 5s and come straight out with the 6.
    People are expecting apple to release the 5s as their next phone and let’s be honest…. It’s nothing really to be getting excited about anymore. Not for me anyway.
    Apple have have got to pull something special out of the bag if they even want to try and compete with samsungs galaxy s4.
    Maybe it’s just me, but I just can’t see loyal apple customers excepting a 5s as a worthwhile upgrade!

  11. rene says:

    well done article,not matter what other trying to imply, in the end, what matter right now is that apple come down with some really good hardware and iOS, otherwise, i’ll see apple as failed company as Nokia and blackberry did back in the days ,hard head and resilient on new tech, false promise on new hardware and iOS, that never concrete, took the down all the way and is been hard for them to even try to go back on their feet, no matter what it is, the 6 or 5s, they need something to reassure fan confidence otherwise they will lose that as those two other company did. look back and you’ll see.

  12. Brandon says:

    Apple can see further than one sale. If they label the new phone as 6 and it is not a significant upgrade, it will damage the perception of major versions. Right now people can be certain an iPhone 5 much different from an iPhone 4. The minor updates probably make buyers of the last update feel it is no big deal, while new comers get the latest and greatest. When there is a major version release like the 6, it will really feel like an upgrade.

    Basically, I would not want to inflate sales one quarter by having low sales for 3 quarters while we make the world stand still for a major release. There is really something about incremental improvement that makes sense.

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