When Apple replaced the first-gen iPhone with the iPhone 3G, it wasn’t really thinking about numbering phones sequentially – the 3G simply referred to the handset’s support for high-speed UMTS data (how far we’ve come). But after that the company’s phone branding really started taking shape: it would tack on an “S” for the next year’s incremental upgrade, before going with a new number the year after – and that’s how it’s continued ever since. Even the phones that have broken from this trend like the iPhone 5c have been named in such a way that at least suggests awareness of it. Now we’re looking forward to the launch of a new four-inch iPhone, and after rumors bounced around the name iPhone 6c for a while, they’ve largely settled on calling this device the iPhone 5se – again, breaking from tradition a little, but at least acknowledging the basic number+letter structure. But today a new rumor arrives to shake things up, suggesting Apple could drop that number entirely and launch the phone simply as the iPhone SE.

That idea makes enough sense in the right light: while the hardware we’ve heard described may take a few design cues from the iPhone 5s, its internals sound like they have more in common with a current-generation iPhone – and there’s the risk that keeping that 5 in the name could have shoppers thinking that they’re paying too much for older hardware.

What’s also interesting is that we’re hearing about this new name as the iPhone SE with capital letters, and not something like the iPhone “se,” mirroring the lower-case style that Apple’s used with its phones for years. Without the preceding number, though, we can see how lower-case characters would look a little odd, so it’s understandable why Apple might take this direction – consistency be damned.

This is only the second rumor of new expectations for Apple hardware names in as many days, following yesterday’s report that the new iPad may not be the iPad Air 3 at all, but could instead launch as a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Both that and the iPhone SE are expected to launch at a March 15 Apple event.

Source: 9to5 Mac

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