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Thoughts About 2018 iPhone Naming

Do Apple's 2018 iPhone names make sense?


Apple have recently announced three new iPhone models. They are similar in many ways, and all three benefit from performance increases, thanks to the latest A12 Bionic chip.

iPhone XS is an update to last year’s iPhone X.

iPhone XS Max is a larger version of the iPhone XS, and has the largest ever screen on an iPhone.

iPhone XR is a lower cost version of the iPhone XS. Differences include a slightly larger but lower-resolution LCD screen compared to the XS, and only one rear-facing camera.

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Looking at the new names

Appending an ‘S’ to the name of a previous model is nothing new, so the XS name makes sense, at least at first glance.

You might expect the largest model to be called XS Plus, but Apple decided to call it XS Max. Given that the screen size of the XS is already similar to older Plus models, such as the iPhone 8 Plus, it makes some sense to use a different name, such as Max.

The most puzzling choice of name is the XR. What does the ‘R’ stand for? Is it Regular? Was it chosen because it comes before ‘S’ in the alphabet, meaning it’s not quite as good as the XS?

When Type R is not as good

As someone with an interest in cars, it seems even more confusing, because I’m used to ‘R’ being better than ‘S’. As an example, the Honda Civic Type R is faster than the Honda Civic Type S.

What about 2019?

Then there’s the question of what names they’ll use next year. Will they increment the roman numeral and have the XI and XI Max. And what could they call next year’s XR? To call it the XIR would not make sense, given that this year’s ‘R’ model isn’t called the XSR.

Perhaps next year’s models will be called the XS2, XS2 Max and XR2 — which reminds me of a car I owned in the late 80s…

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