Which Apple iPhone models will face retirement after tomorrow’s event?

When Apple introduces new iOS devices, it also typically retires older models. Expect more the same after the company unveils three new iPhones tomorrow, Sept. 12.

Current lineup

At both Apple retail stores and online, you can select from eight iPhone models currently, including the:

  • iPhone X (announced in 2017)
  • iPhone 8 (2017)
  • iPhone 8 Plus (2017)
  • iPhone 7 (2016)
  • iPhone 7 Plus (2016)
  • iPhone SE (2016)
  • iPhone 6s (2015)
  • iPhone 6s Plus (2015)

As far back as January, reputed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple planned on retiring the iPhone X when new models are launched. Given that this year’s iPhone lineup is expected to include a second-generation iPhone X, the so-called the iPhone Xs, this rumor makes sense.

We’re also almost certainly going to see the retirement of the 2015 iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It doesn’t make sense for Apple to keep either model around after tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I don’t believe the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will survive another year, given their similarities with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. However, it’s possible Apple could keep them around to become low-cost models, so stay tuned.

What’s less certain is the fate of the iPhone SE. Earlier this year, it looked like Apple was planning on releasing a new 4-inch handset to replace the iPhone SE sometime in 2018. However, those rumors have died down in recent months. With no 4-inch iPhone on the horizon, Apple could feasibly elect to keep the iPhone SE around for another year or no longer produce a handset at that size.

Proposed new iPhone lineup

Here’s what is likely to be the new iPhone lineup after tomorrow’s event:

  • iPhone Xs (2018)
  • iPhone Xs Max (2018)
  • iPhone Xr  (2018)
  • iPhone 8 (2017)
  • iPhone 8 Plus (2017)
  • iPhone SE (2016) (possibly)

What does this mean?

If you own one of the devices that Apple retires tomorrow, don’t be overly concerned. Years ago, when Apple retired an iPhone, it meant that iOS support was ending soon too. However, that isn’t the case anymore.

Apple has already said iOS 12 will support the iPhone 5s and newer devices. Therefore, even if you own an iPhone 6s, for example, iOS support for your device should continue at least for another year or two.

We should know soon enough. Tomorrow’s event begins at 10 a.m. PDT from the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park Campus. This year, Apple is providing live streaming of the event through various outlets including, for the first time, Twitter.