Just on the heels of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X announcement, it might sound ludicrous to start pondering on the 2018 line up. As Tim said though, always go where the puck is going to be. Here’s the simple reason why I think we have reached the end of the line for iPhone.

Counter to what most news outlets will have you believe in the wake of Apple’s latest keynote, Apple not only made one, but two bold and weighty decisions when they named the new devices unveiled on Tuesday morning inside the maiden Steve Jobs Theatre.

Of course there is the attention hogging iPhone X, its pure lustre, its branding and everything unconventional about it. Yet despite the justified euphoria around model X, incidentally well earned presupposing that hype on the internet is proportionate to innovation (not always a sequitur), something else has been neglected almost entirely. Something pretty monumental, that is: a decade after its birth (let’s simplify this argument a little bit), Apple is consciously busting its well-established and received tick tock bubble.

So, why would they do it? Sure, the go-to answer is that 8 sounds better than 7s and one of their main competitors has launched devices carrying the 8 tag already. If they can’t one-up the competition, at least they should square with them, right? Right. I’ve been thinking about the ramifications of this for a while though, and the more time I spend on it, it’s dawning on me that 7s might have been more sensible (i.e. accurate), safe (it is a pattern Apple customers accept and buy) and, most importantly, it would have postponed a debate that is to be had eventually for another year.

There’s no doubt that Apple knew all of the above. Despite themselves, they willingly fast-tracked an issue that is invariably going to force their own hand on the iPhone branding strategy. Think about it: no matter the spelling, Apple are unleashing an iPhone eight and iPhone ten to the market this year. Now let’s briefly ponder on their line up for 2018. See where I’m going? If Apple had stuck with what’s tried and tested, and released a 7s and the iPhone X this year, iPhone 8 as a product name would have been a no-brainer for next fall. The fact it’s not that clear cut now to me indicates that perhaps they have very different plans.

As it stands, we’re facing a bit of a dilemma come next year; one they could have easily deferred until 2019. Obviously, Apple comprehend that releasing an iPhone 9 next year would be an unbridled marketing disaster. How do you sell on stage – let alone explain to the average buyer – that iPhone 9 is the latest and greatest, when a year earlier iPhone 10 had been plugged? Go grab your 2018 iPhone 9, comfortably wedged between the iPhone 8 and iPhone 10 from back in 2017?

You get the picture. In other words, something tells me that both naming decisions, iPhone 8 and iPhone X, were made in tandem with the executive call to rebrand the entire phone line in 2018. A gutsy prediction? Maybe. Maybe not. They could have gone down many other paths this year – be it with the 7s tag, or maybe iPhone Edition in lieu of iPhone X to avoid prematurely capping the yearly numbers game – and suspended a scenario like it this early.

Instead they went for it, guns blazing, and I have a feeling when they did it, they knew that the jig was going to be up for the iPhone name in 2018. I’m not expecting an iPhone 9 next year, and neither do I believe in a return of roman numerals like we’ve seen yesterday (e.g. XI). Such being the case, the only tenable conclusion I arrive at is that 2018 will herald in a completely fresh start.

What do you think? How likely are Apple to hang up the iPhone boots? Could 2018 become the year of Apple Phone? Or are we going to see iPhone 8s, 9 or even iPhone 11? Gossip away in the comments!

  • Mayank Mehrotra

    It seems pertinent that there are bound to be frowners no matter what they call the phone. However, the name iPhone is iconic and I am sure Apple is in no mood to give it up altogether. Rather a iPhone, iPhone Plus and iPhone Pro would make more sense. No numbers. No confusion. Just like they run their Macbooks and iPads – normal and Pro…maybe Edition. But I think Edition more suits something thats a throwback than a refresh. Having said that no matter what the name they come up with, it is bound to sell like hot cakes !

  • No way they’re gonna drop the iPhone name, it’s too powerful a brand name to be replaced with something as dull as Apple Phone or some such. I do believe they’ll drop number suffixes soon becuser they’re becoming confusing. I think we’ll have, just like with iPad and Mac lineups, iPhone and iPhone Pro and that’s it. They’ll be refreshed each year and you’ll say you bought a 2020 iPhone model or a 2019 iPhone Pro etc.

    • askep3

      This seems like exactly what they’re gonna do

    • noracuts

      I don’t think so. Since they keep so many past models in their current lineup, it will be hard to picture people wanting to buy a 3 year old model. Eg. “I’ll take the 2015 iPhone.”

      We’ll have to just wait and see.

  • Steve Olson

    Yeah, I think it’s death to the number, not the iPhone.

    I highly doubt there will be an iPhone 9. I could see them keeping the iPhone X moniker next year (and release the 2018 iPhone X and iPhone X Pro – you know they’ll have a larger one next year too)… but I think it’s more likely they’ll switch to iPhone and iPhone Pro and get it in line with the iPad line and the Macbook line

    • First Name, Last

      I agree. No more number(s). Especially with Samsung making it confusing with similar branding just in reverse. iPhone X will replace the standard 8 as iPhone and a larger size “x” next year as iPhone Pro replacing Plus going forward.

      In fact, they already killed off the numbering with a letter X. iPhone 8 will be the last numbered iPhone.

    • Steffen Reich

      I like your line of argument. The issue I have with the branding right now is that X is pronounced as ten. So if they went in accord with your plan, they would be releasing another iPhone ‘ten’ in 2018 and I dont see that happen. They kinda shot themselves in the foot with the call to not say “X”.

    • Jon20

      Considering the release date of the phone and the limited availability of it, the iPhone X may just end up being a 2018 phone anyway.

  • Stephen Hedger

    Apple have to stop with the numbers eventually.

    Imagine then preparing for the iphone 24 and people saying the 23 before it pale into insignificance.

    The 8 would become the 9. The x or 10 would become the 11

    So the new phones for 2018 would be 9 and 11.

    Oh and the 9 is better than 10…

    I preferred it when you just had 1 phone. Nice and simple.

    Do next year would make sense to have the iPhone pro and plus models.

    Keep it simple.

    • Rowan09

      I agree Pro and Plus model but I personally think they just go back to the iPhone 9 (or whatever it’s called) and iPhone 9+. This iPhone X should have been the name they called it instead of ten is a special edition. They won’t make 3 iPhones every year. They’ll have the iPhone 9/9+ with OLED and 11 (skipping 10) may start with Micro Leds.

    • :D

      Releasing just one phone would make the naming more simple and less confusing but gives consumers fewer options. A lot of people can’t afford the iPhone X but would gladly go for the iPhone 8.

  • 9to5Slavery

    A: This years iPhone!
    B: What?
    A: iPhone 2024
    B: Yes I need to upgrade to 2024! I have an old iPhone.
    A: which?
    B: iPhone 2021

  • Chris Ryan

    wow, y’all have waaaaay to much time on your hands to be thinking about names…lol

  • Altinakis George

    Hi there to everybody!
    Think that the new naming will be like: X1,X2, X3… etc.
    Or drop every previous naming by just adding an exotic word near iPhone name: e.g. iPhone Pegasus, iPhone Altius, iPhone Aurelia etc.
    That’s for the naming.

    I just wanted to point also something about the new gestures on the iPhone X. Before three years or so I bought a marvelous tweak on Cydia called Tage. It did the same and even better job by swiping from bottom to the top instead of hitting the home button. It was a life saviour at that time. Moreover, you could have both mission control and home button swyping from bottom diving the bottom part. Why on earth it can’t be also in iOS 11???? It’s ridiculous. Also why not having the reachability mode also on iPhone x simply by e.g. Swyping the bottom screen from left to right? Reachability is a very important feature.
    Why Apple’s programmers are not doing the right thing? Really sad for this…

    • Rich

      but if they called them X1, X2, X3 it would be pronounced 10 1, 10 2, 10 3…. I highly doubt they will use that system

      • Altinakis George

        Hi Rich, my thought was that they will just be pronounced as: iPhone ‘-eX1’, ‘-eX2’ and so on.
        Of course the ‘-eX1’ is already here, so they will continue with the ‘-eX2’ etc.
        Naming the iPhone with two number as 10, 11,12 etc is tiring, not appealing to the eye as also to the ear.
        My opinion though.

      • Rich

        I wouldn’t mind the ex1, ex2, etc but just don’t see it happened since the pronounced it as ten
        And I agree 11, 12, 13… won’t happen for the reasons you say
        Guess we will just have to wait and see

      • Altinakis George

        Exactly!

  • Jonathan

    I think it’s going to be iPhone X Jaguar/Cheetah/Tiger…
    Then iPhone X Mavericks/El Capitan/Sierra/High Sierra…

    • Iskren Donev

      That would be a super cool twist! But I can already see the marketing people tearing their hair out when presented with the idea

  • Jurassic

    Yes, I agree that Apple has “painted themselves into a corner” with the naming of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X this year. Not only is there a gap in the numbering, but also a different nomenclature (Arabic vs. Roman numerals).

    I think that Apple’s best move going forward with iPhone names is to keep it simple, and meaningful (putting a single digit number after “iPhone” is not meaningful chronologically).

    A sensible move for renaming the iPhone, would be to use the year as part of the name. This would avoid the current numbering system (which will get cumbersome to keep track of once we get into double-digits).

    Since the iPhone goes on sale at the end of a year, and it is really available for most of the following year, it would be better to have “iPhone 2019”, “iPhone Plus 2019”, “iPhone SE 2019”, etc. This is the way cars, which also come out in the Fall, are marketed.

    I would bet that the new phones next year, if they are named “iPhone 2019” and “iPhone Plus 2019”, will be based on the iPhone X, with the “iPhone Plus 2019” being a larger version of the iPhone X. The type of iPhone we have had in the iPhone 6 to 8, will be deprecated, and that the iPhone X is really the way forward for Apple’s iPhone in the near future.

    • :D

      Only problem with that is the iPhone gets released late in the year, so the latest iPhone will appear a year behind the majority of the time. Nobody wants to buy a new phone that sounds old. Just imagine how many people would get put off buying the ‘iPhone 2016’ between January and September this year, just because of the name.

      • Chris Gaunt

        If they really did use the year in the naming they would probably imitate the gaming industry and use the following year number. Such as Madden ’18 is released in mid 2017. That way each iPhone would look like it lasts 1 1/2 years.

      • :D

        I see, that would work.

  • Kaptivator

    Nice article…Just throwing in my 2 cents.

    It started with iPhone and will end with iPhone X…Next years models may be iPhone (4.7″ screen), iPhone Pro (5.8″ screen) and iPhone mini (the SE model with 4″ screen). Much like iPad, iPad Pro and iPad mini or MacBook air, MacBook and Mac Book Pro. However, we can only patiently wait and see…

    Sucks that we are talking about next years model without this years model in our hands yet.

  • techfreak23

    Does anyone else see the parallel with Microsoft and skipping 9, going straight to 10…?

    • :D

      Tbf Microsoft only used 7 and 8 to begin with

      • techfreak23

        True!

    • James G

      THANK YOU. I’ve been reading stories all week looking to see if anyone else would draw this conclusion and bring it up you’re the first.

      And I read a shit ton of articles.

  • Joonyaboy

    8S (for those who want a Home Button)
    X (same 2017 phone just cheaper)
    X1 or XS or XI (2018 Flagship)

    • Steffen Reich

      the X1, X2 etc idea is quickly becoming my pet peeve, I just dont believe in it. They wilfully chose the roman numeral for ‘10’ and pronounce it as such. X1 would be an abomination in every sense; its not XI (which they would have to declare to be iPhone ‘eleven’, and I dont believe they’ll want to continue down that path) and if they all of a sudden started to refer to it as X-1 (x one) it would confuse the heck out of people who correctly called iPhone X iPhone ten for a year. Plus, final point, Apple have always tried their hardest not to sell product names that sound bloated and techy like their competitors do. X1,2 etc would be a departure from that.

  • Franklin Richards

    I’m actually kind of annoyed they went with calling it “iPhone ten” instead of “iPhone X” “X” sounds so much cooler than 10. And it also reminds me of Windows. Why to tech companies hate the number 9? (Please don’t say because 7 8 9.)

    • Rowan09

      Exactly I thought they should have said iPhone X instead of 10.

    • Jamessmooth

      It may be ten, but I’m saying X!

    • ravinigga

      Well I still calling X. And its show as iPhone X

  • Rowan09

    I’m assuming next years model will have the scanner in the screen and a better wireless charging option since they are working with Qi.

  • I think that they’ll keep the tradition with iPhone 9, then iPhone 10, then 11 and so on. They may do an iPhone X, then IPhone XI, then XII desperate to the modern numbers.

  • :D

    I think it would be either X2, X3, X4.. or a word suffix like iPhone Atlantis etc.

    No way there’d be an iPhone 9.

    • Altinakis George

      It sounds more logical like other cases, until the iPhone X9 model. Then again something else will be planned.

  • bscaine

    Think apple run out of ideas. Good bye to “Think different” Hello to “Go with the flow”

  • jimmy.

    iPhone (Series 2018) & iPhone X2

  • John Newton

    They will probably name it the same way SONY and Samsung do with their television sets i.e. iPhone Uxh36gf438d.

  • Pam Oakea

    I think there will be an iPhone 9 and 9 plus next year. They will be like the iPhone X. The X represent the future of the iPhone. This helps them compete better against the Samsung Gaaxy S9. They can’t be an “s” upgrate because it won’t be a modest update. I think they may stop the “s” updates altogether.

  • Nils Breiter

    What about an iPhone 9 with the internels like the 8 (much like a New iPhone se) for cheap?

    Would fit perfectly!

  • MJB

    I think that now that the A11 Bionic has become so powerful, they will unleash a new integrated product line that will surpass everyone’s expectation. A naming scheme of Apple Phone would completely make sense. The integration of operating systems across the board is imminent.

  • Iskren Donev

    Regarding the iPhone 8 branding – the reason they went with 8 rather than 7 S is that the iPhone hardware was modified significantly (new material, wireless charging). Normally in an S-cycle only the internals are updated and there is an emphasis on software and services. So it makes sense that they would skip the S cycle this time around.

    As for the iPhone X – I agree there, it would be strange to have iPhone 9 next year. And what about a few years later, will we have iPhone 10 in 2020 as opposed to iPhone X in 2017? I do think that the versioning will be overhauled next year, but the iPhone name will stay – it is way too powerful and influential to just kill.

  • james mcgill

    I think Apple is giving everyone 2 years to Adjust to the new home buttonless iPhone, like they said it’s their future. In 2017 they release the iPhone 8 and X, 2018 the iPhone 9(home button) and iPhone X2 (or whatever but home buttonless) and probably a smaller size variant. And then 2019 they will start a new naming system with all phones being without a home button.

  • h4nd0fg0d

    I believe that this will be the final year we see an iPhone with LCD screen, bezels, physical home buttons. All subsequent future iPhones will be ‘X’ based in function and design which should alleviate the naming/branding issues.

  • MSiqueira

    They could just return to a new streamlined iPhone family for the next year.
    In that case, for example, they could cease development and production of iPhone 8 platform,
    updating the family solely based in two models following the iPhone X platform.

    Then, in 2018 we would get iPhone 11 / iPhone 11 Plus (or iPhone XI / iPhone XI Plus sic) – with face ID, OLED Screen, etc. etc.

    Sometimes the simplest is the most likely.

  • Bill

    It’ll be just like how Macs (and cars/trucks for that matter) are named. Starting next year, they’ll unveil the 2018 iPhone. And then the 2019 iPhone. And so on and so forth.