While Apple has kept understandably quiet about its next iPhones, incessant leaks have painted a picture of what we can expect: a new design with an OLED screen that dominates the phone's front, a 3D sensor for facial recognition and the removal of the home button are all part of Apple's next major iPhone, according to multiple reports.
But one piece of information that's been less consistently bandied by rumormongers is what, precisely, Apple plans to call its next-gen smartphones. On September 12, the company is widely expected to debut three new iPhones: a 10-year anniversary edition iPhone that will incorporate the changes mentioned above, and two new models that update the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models.
Here's what we know so far about what these new phones might be called.
iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus
If Apple follows the naming convention it's established in recent years, updated versions of Apple's current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be called the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. Since the iPhone 4s launched in 2011, Apple has tick-tocked between giving its new smartphones a name with a single whole number and a name with the letter "s" tagged on every other year.
These "s" generation iPhones typically include new technologies while maintaining the same form factor as their predecessors: the iPhone 4s looked just like the iPhone 4 but introduced Siri, for instance. Similarly, the iPhone 5s was the same size and shape as the iPhone 5, but was the first to have Touch ID. As this is a "tock" year, rumors suggest these new iPhones will run on the same processor as Apple's 10th anniversary edition iPhone, but it's unclear if they'll land any of the high-end model's other bells and whistles.
If Apple does release an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus next month, similar logic — calibrated for this being the iPhone's celebratory 10th anniversary — suggests that a rumored premium model will be called the iPhone 8. This would follow from Apple's history of revamping the iPhone's form factor with each singular whole number generation.
But a recent report from 9to5Mac suggests the rumor mill may have this one wrong. Instead of adding an 's' to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus' successors, Apple may instead call them the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, says this report, which cites insider information obtained from third-party iPhone case makers. If true, it means that Apple views these phones as sufficiently advanced to brand them as next-generational, not just iterative updates to the current models.
If the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus' successors are in fact to be an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, where does that leave the rumored premium edition iPhone? According to the same 9to5Mac report, Apple plans to name its 10th anniversary smartphone the iPhone Edition. This isn't the first time someone's suggested as much: back in March, Japanese blog Macotakara reported the same.
Another rumored possible name for Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone is simply iPhone X, where the "X" stands for the Roman numeral, pronounced "ten" just as when you say "OS X." Longtime Apple analyst and Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster believes Apple will choose this name, skipping '9' to ring in the iPhone's 10th anniversary. VentureBeat's Evan Blass, who has a steady track record reporting on unreleased smartphones, also said he's heard iPhone X as a possible name for Apple's high-end iPhone.
Prominent Apple blogger John Gruber suspects that Apple could call the special edition iPhone the iPhone Pro or iPhone 8 Pro. If so, the title would fit with the nomenclature Apple uses for its other premium products, the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. It would thus convey the notion that the company's 10th anniversary iPhone is more for power users rather than mainstream smartphone shoppers.