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!