We thought we’d had it all figured out.
When Apple bucked the trend of numerically naming the iPad by calling the Retina iPad the “new iPad” instead of the iPad 3, we thought it was a sure thing that they’d do the same thing for the next iPhone. The next iPhone, then, would be “the new iPhone” or the “2012 iPhone”, not the iPhone 5.
It made total sense, in a way: Apple doesn’t add a numeral to the end of its other products, like the MacBook Pro or the iPod Classic. They don’t even do it for the iPod touch, which is basically the most current iPod with all the phone guts stripped out. Why continue setting apart the iPhone as a sequel to the handsets that have come before when you can position it, not as an incremental update, but a timeless product in its own right: the Mercedes of smartphones?
That’s the way Apple handles the rest of its products, but with the invitation for today’s, and now Apple accidentally spilling the official name of the next iPhone on their website, it now seems clear that Apple is going to call the sixth-generation iPhone the ‘iPhone 5’ after all. Why would they do that?