The 2012 iPhone Will Not Be The “iPhone 5”

October 19, 2011

UPDATE: I was totally, completely wrong here, and I’m sorry. As of this writing a week long, temporary notice of my wrongness has been pinned to the homepage. I don’t want this to happen again. And again, I’m sorry.

I don’t know who started the absurd idea that the 6th generation iPhone will be called “iPhone 5”. I’m guessing some have the idea that because the iPhone 4S didn’t see an external design change from the iPhone 4, that it’s a .5 update.

(Yes, it is absurd)

But that logic defies Apple’s iPhone naming conventions. If you were to give each year’s iPhone a number surname – and delegated .5 (“S”) to updates that saw no external design changes – this is what the iPhone line would look like.

  • 2007: iPhone
  • 2008: iPhone 2
  • 2009: iPhone 2S
  • 2010: iPhone 3
  • 2011: iPhone 3S
  • 2012: iPhone 4
  • Instead, this is what the iPhone landscape actually does look like.

  • 2007: iPhone
  • 2008: iPhone 3G
  • 2009: iPhone 3GS
  • 2010: iPhone 4
  • 2011: iPhone 4S
  • 2012: iPhone ???
  • If Apple considered spec updates (without visible design changes) as not generational, we wouldn’t see an “iPhone 4” until next year (and we wouldn’t see an iPhone 5 until likely 2014!). And today’s iPhone 4S would be called “iPhone 3S”. But it isn’t.


    Because the iPhone 4S is Apple’s fifth generation iPhone. And the sixth generation iPhone will be called “iPhone 6” or anything other than “iPhone 5”.

    Clearly Apple believes that new surnames should only be delegated to iPhones that see external design changes, which makes sense. The iPhone 4S looks like the iPhone 4, so the two should be associated with each other. As with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

    But Apple also clearly believes that each of its iPhone updates have been generational, and Apple would be hard pressed to give their sixth generation iPhone a name that signifies it being fifth generation.

    So cool it with prematurely calling the unannounced 2012 iPhone the “iPhone 5”. It just isn’t logical. And if I’m wrong, I’ll admit it here.

    One Response to “The 2012 iPhone Will Not Be The “iPhone 5””

    1. Sebastian Says:

      The iPhone “3G” was just that actually, it was the 1st gen iPhone with two additions: the GPS receiver and an HSPA radio, the hardware was otherwise identical. There are more differences between the 4S and the 4 than there are between the 3G and the first gen.

      Interestingly, if Apple kept up the naming conventions they had with the iPhone 4, where they dropped the rubbish from iPhone names and just stuck a number indicating how many previous iPhones there were before, the one in 2012 would not be the iPhone 5, but the iPhone 6, because the 4S is the 5th.

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