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Last-minute leak says the rumored iPhone 11 names we’ve all been using are wrong

Published Sep 10th, 2019 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 11 Pro
Image: Hasan Kaymak

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Apple last year launched three new iPhones, the successors of the iPhone X and iPhone 8 series, and we were all wondering what these devices will be called. After skipping the “S” generation a year before — there’s no iPhone 7s between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 — Apple returned to it and introduced the “R” iPhones as well. The cheapest iPhone became the iPhone XR, while the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max represented the premium iPhones, identical phones coming in two distinct sizes. Naturally, when iPhone 11 rumors started coming out, we started asking ourselves what these devices will be called? iPhone 11R, iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Max — or iPhone XIR, iPhone XI, and iPhone XI Max — seemed like the more logical options. But then we learned Apple is going into a much different direction: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Yes, it’s even more annoying than before, but at least the roman numerals were gone. An insider now believes we’re getting an even simpler naming structure.

The same Mark Gurman, who at one pointed predicted Apple would choose iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro (5.8-inch) and (6.5-inch) for this year’s iPhones is back with a different one:

Gurman thinks the iPhone 11 series will have three models, including the iPhone 11, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Pro Max. This is labeled as a prediction, so it can’t be a leak.

Having Apple ditch the numerals entirely from the iPhone name is the dream. Unfortunately, it can’t happen, not anytime soon, and not unless Apple stops selling older iPhone hardware.

Of course, the latest iPhones will be the most exciting devices for iPhone buyers looking to buy the best available iPhone models. But whenever Apple launches a new series of devices, the older ones become cheaper. And it’s easy for a customer who has some knowledge of Apple’s way of releasing new iPhones to tell that an iPhone 7 is much less expensive than an iPhone 11.

The problem with the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max names is that they might hurt Apple down the road. In two or three years, people might have a harder time telling the difference between devices. It’s easy for Apple to use simple names for iPad and MacBooks because whenever the latest Pro model of either product is launched, the old-gen version is discontinued. There’s really no confusion in Apple stores. That doesn’t happen with the iPhone.

Should this prediction come true, then what are we to expect from 2020 iPhones? What will Apple call the Pro successors? iPhone Pro 2? iPhone Pro 2020? iPhone Pro S? What about 2021 iPhones?

Yes, iPhone 11 Pro Max is an annoying name, and Apple should definitely figure out a more elegant naming scheme for iPhones. But completely ditching the numeral might not be it, for the time being.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 11 series on Tuesday, at which point it’ll tell us exactly what its 2019 handsets will be known as.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.