Ken Segall: Apple should name their next iPhone, ‘iPhone 6,’ not ‘5S’

“The press has already dubbed this year’s [Apple smartphone] model ‘iPhone 5S.’ Most experts see a narrative in which Apple only produces a major upgrade every other year, and in between we get the ‘S’ model,” Ken Segall, co-writer of Apple’s “Think Different” ad copy, writes for Observatory. “This is the model that delivers only incremental improvements.”

Segall writes, “Whether that’s Apple’s intended message is unknown. But personally, I wish Apple never created a ‘4S.'”

“First of all, it’s an awkward moniker whether you speak it or read it… More important, tacking an S onto the existing model number sends a rather weak message. It says that this is our ‘off-year’ product, with only modest improvements,” Segall writes. “The simplest path is to give each new iPhone a new number and let the improvements speak for themselves. If anyone wants to say that the 7 isn’t as big a leap as the 6, that’s their business. Attempting to calibrate ‘degree of innovation’ in the product name seems like a needless (and self-diminishing) exercise. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re looking for a new car, you’re looking for a 2013 model — not a 2012S.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: BINGO! It’s as if Apple is naming iPhone models solely for their own internal inventory purposes, just so they can keep track of which model is which, with no regard for how the iPhones are perceived by the rest of the world – the media, the customers, etc. – outside One Infinite Loop.

The “S” doesn’t stand for “Speed,” it stands for “Stupid.” Yes, we know it’s the same case design; we know the “S” version is the one you make the big margins on; we get it. Call it the “S” internally if you must, but don’t be so engineer-ish that you insist on calling it that on the box, too!

Before the iPhone 4S, everyone was waiting for the “iPhone 5.” When the 4S debuted, disappointment reigned. All because of the name. Nearly everything else about the phone was an improvement or a new addition (Siri).

You either leak “no iPhone 5” to a credible outlet in order to tamp down anticipation beforehand or you name the damn thing “iPhone 5,” even if you don’t think it worthy, and be done with it. The former is far preferrable to the latter for integrity’s sake, but doing neither signals a worrying degree of tone deafness. Managing the media, not to mention peoples’ expectations, is part of your job now, too, Tim.MacDailyNews, “New Apple iPhone 4S fails to wow investors, fans,” October 4, 2011

There are plenty of numbers in the universe. Infinite, actually. Don’t worry, Apple, you won’t run out. Wonder what the mood would be right now had Apple simply named “iPhone 4S” the “iPhone 5?”MacDailyNews, “Apple underwhelms with iPhone 4S,” October 4, 2011

It’s not about sales figures or the model’s success (as long as “iPhone” is in the name, it will be a success), it’s about setting a tone. In this case, with the “S,” Apple sets a tone that they are just making an incremental update (read: losing their innovation edge) which allows the media and competitors to claim, wrongly, that other companies have surpassed Apple. Why gift the naysayers with the opportunity, Apple?

70 Comments

      1. A. How high do you take the numbering scheme? iPhone 52 sure sounds aged and tired..

        B.Even if Ken’s idea of merly dropping the “S” takes hol with same product cycle, from this point forward the upgrades issued in even-numbered years simply would become known as the minor incremental upgrades.

        For better or worse, it may be better to drop all numbers and just call it iPhone, just as they’ve done with iPad.

    1. Shows what you know idiot. Ken named the iMac, was responsible for some of the best advertising campaigns Apple has ever had.

      He is spot on BTW the S stands for stupid.

    2. HELL NO…
      Apple should name it iPhone 7.

      1) because it would be the seventh phone
      2) so the number syncs with the latest iOS7
      3) the inexpensive model (if it happens) to be named 5s or 6

  1. Everyone needs to STFU you have the Porsche and Porsche S models to. Ithe iphone 4S if named 5 and looked the same as the 4 would have been a shut down of the internet in hell breaking loose.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with birdy. The sh*tstorm would have been 100 times greater if Apple had unveiled the iPhone 4S and named it iPhone 5 instead. People would have lost their sanity because it looked exactly the same as the iPhone 4: “it’s called the iPhone 5 and it looks exactly the same as the last one! Apple is doomed!”

    2. birdy: iPhone 5 was a ‘shut down of the internet in hell breaking loose’!!! It’s only perception! The FsckTard Wall Street analcysts paid ZERO attention to the actual iPhone 5. They only ranted propaganda useful to their desired outcome, that being STOCK PRICE MANIPULATION.

      Naming the iPhone 5S the iPhone 6 won’t create any more illusory damage than that invented by the TechTards than that created by the iPhone 5. Sad, but likely to be the case.

      BizTards will be BizTard,s will be more impressed by an iPhone 6 name than an iPhone 5S name. Not a big deal.

    3. I seriously doubt that naming a handset with a suffix is going to discourage buyers.

      If you are coming off a 2 year contract you are most likely leaving a 4S (or older) behind. It doesn’t matter that the 5 may have been an incremental improvement over the 4S (it was more than that), or that a 5S may only be an incremental improvement over the 5. The 5S will be a large improvement over the 4S.

      By using the S suffix Apple holds expectations in check. Let’s face it, the media (and fanboys both) always EXPECT a self-levitating, cold fusion powered product in Apple’s next release.

      Apple has always been an under perform/over deliver Company. Its success at over delivery makes it more and more difficult to satisfy fringe expectations. No need to imply more with a model number.

      1. Nah. I bought my 4S the first day it was available. In October 2011. I didn’t upgrade to the iPhone 5 and will not upgrade to a 5S. I’m waiting for the larger iPhone. And yes Greg, it is coming. But unfortunately for me and Apple shareholders that may not be until next year. That is a huge mistake. Very, very, costly.

  2. I’ve always felt that adding an ‘S’ behind every second evolution of the iPhone to be particularly retarded. It gives off the wrong image. It’s retarded basically because most consumers associate the ‘S’ with SHIT. And image is everything in the consumer market.

    1. Most consumers associate the ‘S’ with SHIT. Is that right? Where did you gain your insight? Did you conduct a massive survey of most consumers? Perhaps you commissioned one? Pretty nonsensical there BLN.

    2. You get what you are looking for…
      The other point of view would be that Apple refined the product, the fit and finish is better, the kinks of production have been worked out, the device is over all a higher quality device, it will have fewer problems AND last longer. 😎

      Are you the guy that buys a newly redesigned car? You’re just asking for trouble, and end up being disappointed.

    3. I associate the S iPhones with having the “bugs” worked out of them and a speed bump. That being said, I have only ever owned S phones (3GS, 4S) and therefore may be biased. 🙂

    4. Frankly, if I had any influence at Apple (I don’t), I’d drop the alpha/numeric designation altogether and just refer to the next iPhone as The New iPhone (7th Generation).

      A “Generation” moniker implies nothing in the way of improvements other than it came after the prior release. It would then be up to the consumer to determine whether their 5th Generation iPhone (coming off a 2 year contract) needed upgrade, without the expectations of an evolutionary (vs revolutionary) improvement in the New iPhone. This would force an examination of benefits of the new model.

      It would also deny the idiot talking heads at CNBC (and here) a platform to compare model numbers vs comparing capabilities.. Gee, what a concept.

    1. I agree with you. Calling it a 6 instead of a 5S would not fool anyone. Previous S upgrades, while bringing only small hardware upgrades, are necessary as Apple uses their single flagship model. It gives consumers upgrades more frequently, therefore more chances for people to switch without waiting for 12 months, and for those that could not switch to 5 because of contract timing, it provides an incentive to upgrade without waiting for the 6.

  3. What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So iPhone 5S would, were it not iPhone 5S called, retain that dear perfection which it owes without that title.

  4. I disagree. I feel that an incremental update to an existing model is a better way to go. The pressure to “innovate” at an insanely-increasing speed is getting out of control. The word is losing its meaning. People need to remember that progress is made on two separate fronts – the hardware and the software. Sometimes these updates are in sync, and sometimes not. My only wish is that Apple stays true to their values and doesn’t give into the pressure to go faster, faster, faster. Solid and reliable – that’s what I want in my devices.

    1. I ENTIRELY agree. Listening to the ignoramus blahblahblah from Wall Street TechTards makes zero sense.

      However, this is a marketing question.

      We already live in an age when actual, factual 4G phone technology is available NO WHERE ON THE PLANET, not apparently until this December in New Zealand, of all places.

      Therefore, why not make the analcysts all happy in their delusions by simply NAMING it the ‘iPhone 6’. The number of improvements that will be included will be well beyond any change list in an incremental update of Chrome or Firefox. It’s just a number. It’s just a perception.

        1. I’ve been taking my information from the ever-evolving 4G page at Wikipedia:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G

          Recently, the editing of the page has been fast and furious as actual 4G approaches. Here is what it currently says about Canada:

          Telus and Bell Canada, the major Canadian cdmaOne and EV-DO carriers, have announced that they will be cooperating towards building a fourth generation (4G) LTE wireless broadband network in Canada. As a transitional measure, they are implementing 3G UMTS network that went live in November 2009.

          Meanwhile, I see that New Zealand’s turn-on date has been moved up:

          4G will be live in parts of Christchurch in May, and parts of Wellington in August/September 2013.

          It has become increasingly more difficult to sort out what is 4G the-marketing-term and what is 4G that actually matches the defined standard specification. LTE Advanced is going to fit the standard at 1 Gb/s download and 500 Mb/s upload. It’s not clear when any of the carriers will implement it. But the general consensus is that the companies are aiming for the end of 2013.

  5. Seeing as dumbass Google VERSION JACK Chrome every frickin’ three months, why not increment iPhone versions with every actual major update!

    iPhone 6 in 2013!

    It’s a perceptual game. Make the Analcysts happy. Make the Apple fans happy. All at the same time! 😀

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