These days, Apple launches new iPhone models in September. The supply chain leaks surrounding the purported duo of devices continues to escalate. Investors have already taken to calling the device the “iPhone 6.” Here’s the thing: Apple shouldn’t launch an “iPhone 6.”
To be clear, Apple absolutely should and will launch the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models that have been widely leaked. Rather, it should transition away from using numerical branding for its most popular (and financially significant) product. The “iPhone 6” moniker simply doesn’t make sense. Apple is a company that values simplicity above all else, and it needs to simplify its product naming conventions.
This year’s iPhone will be the eighth-generation model, so “iPhone 6” isn’t quite accurate. That didn’t stop Apple from using “iPhone 5” two years ago either, though.
|2013||7th||iPhone 5s/iPhone 5c|
The current state of iPhone branding is partially due to the tick-tock model that Apple adopted from Intel, and the “S” it appends every other year when Apple focuses on incremental internal improvements. Longtime Apple watchers may remember that when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 3GS in 2009, the “S” stood for “speed.” Apple has stuck with this pattern for three tick-tock cycles, but it’s quickly proving unsustainable in the long run. At this rate, in four years the 12th-generation iPhone would be called the “iPhone 8.”
Instead, Apple should simplify its branding under the “iPhone Air” name that’s also made the rounds in the rumor mill. The latest speculation is that only the 5.5-inch model will carry the “iPhone Air” name, while the 4.7-inch model will be called the iPhone 6. Moving away from numerical names is much more sustainable in the long run.
Apple seems to have acknowledged this with the iPad family, which has a rather inconsistent naming history.
|2012||3rd||The New iPad|
|2012||4th||iPad With Retina Display|
The good news for the iPad is that Apple has mostly gotten away from relying on numerical branding, which is simpler for the consumer and a better long-term marketing strategy. Still, that hasn’t stopped people from referring to the upcoming model as the “iPad Air 2.”
Every other product in Apple’s lineup eschews numerical branding, from the iPod Touch to all Macs; there is no “iMac 12” or “MacBook Pro 5.” These product families merely use generations or years to reference their models, similar to the auto industry. This is actually quite an achievement in the realm of consumer electronics, where many companies still use needlessly complex model numbers such as Hewlett-Packard‘s HPENVY 15z-j100 (not to be confused with the HP ENVY 15-k020us).
Apple should do what it does best: simplify.
Apple recently recruited a secret-development “dream team” to guarantee that its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are even claiming that its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts that 485 million of these devices will be sold per year. But one small company makes this gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors.