While it seems we know just about everything there is to know about Apple’s next smartphone — looks, features, launch date — there is one thing that still remains a mystery: what’s Apple going to call it?

According to our poll we conducted last month on the topic, the two most likely candidates are “the new iPhone” and the “iPhone 5.” And if you think that Apple would never call it the iPhone 5, read this…

In a recent MacRumors thread, forum member Millonaire2k lays out an obvious, albeit interesting case for why Apple could call its new handset the iPhone 5. Take a look:

“2007 iPhone named: iPhone (because it’s a cool name)

2008 iPhone named: iPhone 3G (because of its 3G speed)

2009 iPhone named: iPhone 3GS (because of the extra speed on top of the 3G)

2010 iPhone named: iPhone 4 (because it would’ve been dumb to call it iPhone 5, 6, 7 8 or anything else)

2011 iPhone named: iPhone 4S (because it didn’t differ enough from its predecessor to be called the iPhone 5, so what else were they going to call it?)”

The basis of this theory is that Apple is not naming its handsets based on their generation. If that were the case, then the next iPhone would be the iPhone 6, because it’s the sixth iteration of the handset, which would lead to all kinds of confusion in the future. Would the next iPhone be the 6S? And then what, the 8? Not likely.

So with the iPhone 6 option out, that really only leaves the two aforementioned choices: the “iPhone 5” and “the new iPhone.” The latter still sounds weird to me because Apple will likely have 4 different iPhone models on the market this fall — the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, and this year’s model. How does the average consumer determine that “the new iPhone” is above the 4S? This is where the 5 makes more sense.

That being said, Apple did introduce this year’s tablet as “the new iPad,” so it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if they did the iPhone the same way. And hey, you’ve got to drop the number scheme at some point right? Otherwise we’d eventually have the “iPhone 20.”

Whatever it’s called, Apple is expected to unveil it next month during a media event on Wednesday, September 12.

What do you think, did this change your perspective at all?

  • Finally a good article, I hope all the people who still post comments that it won’t be named iPhone 5 will read this.

  • “the new iPhone” sounds revolutionary, but after awhile it becomes very mixed up. What if apple released another phone? Then would they call it the newer iPhone?

    • Kok Hean

      “Hi, I want to ask what’s the difference between the new iPhone and the newer iPhone?”

      • there would not be “New iPhone” and “Newer iPhone”. But “iPhone (5th generation)” and “iPhone( 6th generation)” Like for the iPod Touch 😉

      • New newer newest newester…

    • Nooo, it would be called the new iPhone, while the previous one will be exactly that – previous. If they don’t do it with the next iPad, I don’t know what they will. It would also encourage people to get the newer verion, instead of the older “previous” one.

  • Darrel Hong

    They should just call it the iPhone (late 2012), like the other Mac products

    • Belia Westmaas

      Exactly 🙂 Just like what i thought.

    • No way they are calling that…people like to show off by saying they have the latest like 4 or 4s….many buyers buys the latest just for the sake of latest….if they start calling it 2011 model 2012 model…they ll loose that niche population….the numbering feels real cool…

      • pegger1

        Those who have the latest model, still have the latest model whether it’s the new iPhone or iPhone 5.That’s not a good argument at all.

      • I don’t see people braging how they have an iMac version 12.2 (current high-end). They either say the year or the specs… When I mention how I have a 4S, many don’t realize it is the latest iPhone until I point it out.

    • I don’t get the reason for the “mid” od “late” labels. Most of their products are refreshed once a year anyway. I think just the year number is enough.

      • I think it’s more for a consumer to keep track of what features are supported. Take the new ML features – some are only supported for the mid 2011 Air’s or later. If the requirement simply said 2011 Air, those January through June buyers will think their supported.

      • Ah, good point.

      • Yeah but iDevices specifically only get upgraded once a year so calling it iPhone Late 2012 would be dumb. It should just be iPhone (sixth generation) just like the new iPad which is officially the iPad (third generation). Macs are a different story since they often get small upgrades within the same year.

  • Belia Westmaas

    I think Apple will name it like ‘iPhone’ or ‘new iPhone’ and keep it that way. Like they do with Macbooks and iMacs. Just like those products, you can eventually identify your model by production/release year. (like Late 2012, or just 2012)

  • asf

    Of course it wiil not be iPhone 5, it does not make sense. What does the 5 refer to? Apple always gives the name according to some feature (yes, the S in 4S is for Siri, Tim said it). It will be the new iPhone as it was rumored a while back.

    • why is iphone 4 named iphone 4 then?

      • Kjhaltz

        iOS 4.0 I think.

      • Hyr3m

        Maybe because it’s the 4th one ‽
        1) iPhone (1st)
        2) iPhone 3G (technology name)
        3) iPhone 3GS (+ “super” or “speed” or “special” or something…)
        4) iPhone 4 (4th)
        5) iPhone 4S (+ siri or “super”, “speed, “special” or someting)
        6) ¿ iPhone 4G (my personal favorite)

        Because instead of Siri we’ll have Gary… or is it because it has LTE (aka 4G)?

        iPhone 5 would be technically wrong, iPhone 6 would be weird, iPhone (or, “the new iPhone”) would be retarded (yet unsurprising). The only one that really makes sense besides iPhone 4G would be iPhone 2012 but some might think it a bit too apocalyptic 🙂

        But since Apple rarely makes any sort of sense and likes to please the sheepish and dumb masses, “iPhone 5” is a valid candidate as well I guess.

        I can’t wait for next year though ^^ iPhone 4GS or iPhone 7 ?

      • Ok, I actually didn’t want to comment here anymore, but how fucking dumb are you and the people who liked your Comment?!
        How can someone not know that the iPhone 4 is the 4th Generation?!

  • Just the iPhone

  • i wounder if iPhone LTE would be a option?

    • Peter B.

      Not if they want to sell it in non-LTE markets.

      • thats very true now that i think about it haha, good point!

    • Kjhaltz

      Maybe in America or markets with 4g lte. Other than that no since certin markets still have 3G. They had that issue with the new iPad advertising it with 4g. So they called the data cellular.

  • I still think the number will be dropped.If the rumours are correct then this is a new design due to its new screen size etc, so could get away with not numbering it. Also can’t seem them continuing with the 3GS anymore.

  • chin2793

    How about iPhone 2012 or iPhone12?

  • It’s either the new iPhone or iPhone HD

    • HD is very androidish….i dont think they ll add that…:)

  • Why not the iPhone V as in roman 5 whilst not actually stating it. This would allow them to then make a VS in the future and then also make something like the iPhone NX as in next gen etc..

  • iPhone LTE

  • So they will give and Apple name to the NFC and call the iPhone after that. Magical Bridge aka iPhone MB.

  • Well if you see HOW MANY NUMBERS AND LETTERS DOES SAMSUNG USE THEN IT’S OK WITH iPhone

  • Just when you thought it was the iPhone 5 they call it the iPhone 6 just to mess with your head lol

  • Well when you take a look how many letters and numbers Samsung uses then you’ll see that with iPhone everything is ok)))

  • Apple should definitely not drop the number system. That is one of the reasons the iPhone has become so successful. People always want to own the latest and greatest and with a number system in place, people will always feel that they have the latest generation, until the new version comes out. By simply calling it(6th generation), ‘The new iPhone’, when they launch the next version(7th generation), they will presumably also call it ‘The new iPhone’. Now you have 2 different phones, 2 different generations with the same name and you lost that feeling from your consumers that they need the latest and greatest. This is going to lead to alot of confusion for the consumer, specifically elder consumers, especially if they are selling both generations(6th/7th) at the same time. Are they just going to ‘demote’ the iPhone name to be ‘The old iPhone’? No, when you name a device, people start to associate that term with that device. Over the course of a year, nobody would call it ‘The old iPhone’. This leads to some serious confusion among consumers, more so than just simply calling it the iPhone 5. Yes, I do agree that the iPhone number system should be dropped, but in the near time I can’t see that happening. Apple has always been one for simplicity and changing the way they name devices, in my opinion, was the worst mistake Apple ever made.

    • Hyr3m

      “Apple should definitely not drop the number system.”

      – I agree with you, calling it “the new iPhone” would be very stupid.

      “Yes, I do agree that the iPhone number system should be dropped”

      – Wait… What ?

      “changing the way they name devices, in my opinion, was the worst mistake Apple ever made.”

      – Agreed, again, but didn’t you just say they should change their naming convention?

  • I think they will call it the new iPhone, or iPhone 4GS.
    Why The new iPhone? For he same reason they called the third-generation iPad, “The new iPad”
    Why iPhone 4GS? Because I think it won’t have a new design, I mean the first three iPhones had the same design, or almost the same.
    But it can’t be iPhone 5, neither iPhone 6.

    – G stands for 4G LTE, which I believe that The next-generation iPhone will have it.

    • pegger1

      You don’t consider thinner, longer, new placement of front camera/headphones, new dock connector, a design change?

      • SimonReidy

        Exactly. Plus a stronger, unibody design with the metal backplate. Apple have to update its appearance to give it a new look, while still keeping the distinctive “iPhone look” its maintained over the years and really made famous with the iPhone 4/4S design. The new unibody two-tiered design is just the right balance in my opinion. I’d prefer it was one metal piece on the back, but this isn’t possible for bluetooth, wi-fi antennas that will be located in the glass sections.

        Everything about the new iPhone will have been changed and tweaked in some way to make it thinner and longer as well. For people claiming its not much of an upgrade, what exactly would it take to please you?

      • I don’t think it will have an “All-new design”. These are bunch of rumors made by people to make other people get disappointed/angry with Apple when the next-generation iPhone is unveiled, which may have the same design as the latest. Just like what happened before iPhone 4S. I believed the rumors, and got disappointed with the 4S.

        But I really hope that the next-generation iPhone will have the features you mentioned 🙂

  • They might call it ” The New iPhone” since they called their new ipad for “New iPad” and not iPad 3, is this making any sence to you at all???

  • Gaming Guru90

    I think it will be the iPhone 5, because the 4S was the fifth gen. I think this will be labled on the website as iPhone 5,2 and it will be named iPhone 5. That is my theory, agreed?

  • They will call it “The New iPhone 6”, it’s the six gen iphone, it has iOS 6 in it, and might have the A6 processor — 666 devils phone LOL 🙂

  • Nice

  • iPhone 6, bc it runs iOS 6?

    • Jared

      But so will 7 other devices..

  • It will be ‘The New iPhone’, but just everyone going to say ‘iPhone 5’. Same story as iPad 3 aka ‘the new iPad’.

  • “The basis of this theory is that Apple is not naming its handsets based on their generation.”
    And what is the “4” in the “iPhone 4” supposed to mean? It was named after the generation, and not “because it would’ve been stupid to call it otherwise”.
    I believe they should just switch to year numbers, to keep things simple.

    • Kok Hean

      Exactly. However, other companies do weird things like this too. Nexus 7? Does that mean that it’s the 7th generation tablet? No. That means that the tablet’s screen is 7 inches huge. So technically, if they call it the iPhone 4G (for 4G LTE), it would be correct.

      • Jared

        Apple probably puts a lot of time and effort in naming their phones. Android makers just name it what sounds cool and catchy

  • It has bothered me for the past nine months that journalist have been referring to this device as iPhone 5 when it is clearly the 6th gen. It make me think that consumers are really as stupid as most think we all are. I can count so why can’t journalists? Is it just the fact that everyone was so upset at the announcement last year that there was no major redesign that they can’t let go of the whole iPhone 5 monicker? Well get over it a story about why the 6 gen device will be called 5 to alleviate confusion. It makes me want to go android at least they can count and they always include the “S”. Maybe not android that’s a little hasty. New iPhone would be fine with me and no they won’t call it LTE because there are still folks out there who believe that their iPhone 4 is 4g already despite the 3G logo in the status bar. Wake up consumers and buy something because you need it not because it has a higher number than your friends.america and the world need to stop trying to be the jones’ and try paying attention once in a while…by the way watch the movie The Jones’ it s more relevant than you think.

    • pegger1

      Take a chill pill buddy. 5 comes after 4, that could be enough reasoning for Apple, regardless of how many “generations” there are.

  • Aaron de Silva

    They year it’s released makes more sense and the budget model should be iPhoneBudget

  • Kawaljeet singh

    If there isn’t any significant difference from 4S it would sound good if it is named as 4S++ (Minor upgrade from its predecessor) else as stated in the post it would go best with I-phone 5

  • Kawaljeet singh

    If there
    isn’t any significant difference from 4S it would sound good if it is named
    as 4S++ (Minor upgrade from its predecessor) else as stated in the post it
    would go best with I-phone 5

  • Loopthree

    Galaxy iPhone 🙂

  • seyss

    Fail motives

  • karma32

    iPhone 6 would make more sense to me. Apple refers to their hardware by generation numbers, it would just sound moronic calling it the iPhone 5 6th Gen. Plus if it were called the iPhone 6 it would create a media buzz and more people asking about the phone. God I hope they call it the iPhone 6 so I can laugh at articles like this one.

  • That’s not an intrestening case – I think everyone that knows a bit about apple once thought about this …
    I personally think the S in 4S stands either for “Steve”, “Siri” or again “Speed” because of the “4G” download (like the 3G and 3GS)

  • That’s not an intrestening case – I think everyone that knows a bit about apple once thought about this …
    I personally think the S in 4S stands either for “Steve”, “Siri” or again “Speed” because of the “4G” download (like the 3G and 3GS)

  • iPhone 5 please, just like everyone is calling the New iPad, iPad 3

    if we get to iPhone 10… give it a new name 😉

  • it will never be called iPhone 5. those with the 4s in their hands HAVE the iPhone 5. the person’s logic in the article makes no sense. they called the iPhone 4 that because it IS the 4th generation of the iPhone. to skip the 4s as just a speed bump then the 3gs would have had to be ignored as just a speed bump and the iPhone 4 would have been the iPhone 3, by his logic. being called the iPhone 5 is NEVAH GONNA HAPPEN!

  • Nah… not really. Mac OS 9 became Mac OS X so iPhone in a couple of years could be called iPhone X1 X2.2 etc. or iPhone Atlantic iPhone Pacific or any other name standard. Almost all other companies changes the name standard after it’s getting rediculous like Adobe did with Photoshop and CS.

  • MSiqueira

    This is a wrong assumption, period.

    Apple named all of the iPhones to date based in one of the two premisses:
    1) Fantasy name related to a feature (like 3G, 3GS from Speed, 4S from Siri, etc.); and
    2) Generation-based number (iPhone 4).

    If Apple is still Apple, there is a chance to another fantasy name (“The New iPhone”, “iPhone 4G”, iPhone 4M – from Maps, iPhone FG – f*ck Google, whatever) OR a generation-based name = iPhone 6. “iPhone 5” doesn’t fall in neither. It would just be a wrong name.

    Any other name – including iPhone 5 – would signal that the Romulans has taken over and Apple is not Apple anymore…

  • Bren Miranda

    iPhone 4G? It’s reportedly going to have LTE.

  • iPhone 5 WILL be the name IF it’s a new design. 3G/3Gs and 4/4s had the same designs.
    There is no benefits for Apple to never use numbers or names (like Nano) again. All products doesn’t have to use the same name standard.

  • The New iPad, The New Macbook Pro, and then The New iPhone :))

  • iDevizes

    You’ve confinced me that it will be just The iPhone 🙂 Drop the numbers and get to the basics. iPhone 20 did it for me!

  • Jared

    I want it to be called a number, like the iPhone 6 or something. I call my iPad an iPad 3 because by it being called just an iPad you have to specify.

  • That’s not a very good case at all. The point is the logic he puts out there doesn’t actually match up. iPhone 4 was called that because it’s the 4th generation; why would they call it iPhone 5 if it’s the 4th generation? The logic is flawed there. The point is it’ll not be called iPhone 5 because that could actually cause more confusion as the 4S was called the 5 for awhile before it launched, too. It’ll just be called the new iPhone and/or just iPhone (2012 or 6th Gen) as mentioned in an earlier comment, which would make more sense and go along with other Mac product naming schema. But anyhow, I don’t care what it’s called, I’m just excited to see what, if anything, is redesigned. I’m thinking it’ll look like the 4/4S and just have a bigger screen with maybe a smaller dock/charger port and bottom headphone port.

  • Nope. It didn’t.

  • Annod

    What customers insights do you believe apple paid attention to in the redesign of its ipod???