Next iPhone will be the iPhone 5, not the iPhone 4S

It makes no sense for Apple’s next handset to be branded with a meaningless S

Even though it’s not expected for over a month, there’s already a lot of tattle about Apple’s next iPhone. Questions and rumours graze fictional (and occasionally fantastic) spec sheets in search of answers. Will the next iPhone have a dual-core processor? Yes. Will it have NFC? Unlikely. Will it enable time travel? No.

Oh, and what will it be called?

It will be called the iPhone 5. The other option being bandied about is “iPhone 4S”. Which is exactly what the next iPhone won’t be called. Why? Because consumers – that’s you and us – are easily confused.

When a car enthusiast buys a car, he understands the name of his new purchase is a combination of engine capacity, series number and fuel type. But most people buying a mass market car either don’t know that or don’t care.

The same applies to gadgets. When Apple brought out its second iPhone, it was called the iPhone 3G. It had 3G. The small but rapidly growing number of tech enthusiasts evangelising Apple’s new smartphone understood that. With the release of the third iPhone – the iPhone 3GS (the ‘s’ was for ‘speed’), the iPhone really took off with the mainstream. Did many people know what the ‘3GS’ bit meant? No. Did they care? Definitely not.

Apple has infiltrated the mainstream by building computers, phones and – more recently – tablets that people find intuitive and easy to use. It is not a company that likes to cower behind indecipherable product names.

The iPad 2 was not called the iPad S. The labels on Apple’s computers are more akin to the naming conventions of Fiat hatchbacks than Audi saloons. It is not going to confuse and alienate its massive, and still growing, customer base by calling its next phone the iPhone 4S.

If it does, its sixth phone will be the iPhone 5, followed presumably by an iPhone 5S and an iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 would be its eighth phone. Confusing, isn’t it?

Apple’s next phone will be the iPhone 5. In 2012, it’ll be the iPhone 6. And so on. If you can buy an iPhone 4S from Apple this year, we’ll eat our micro SIM cards. Promise.


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