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Apple iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr names are 'needlessly complicated', says former creative director

Did Apple really fail to get the name of iPhone right?

  • Published: September 29, 2018 11:12 AM IST
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Image Credit: Rehan Hooda


Apple arguably makes the most simplest and useful piece of technology in the world. Every year, in the month of September, Apple introduces new iPhone models that set the tone for the mobile industry, in areas like new technology and overall software experience. At this year’s iPhone event, Apple did introduce new and improved iPhone models but seems to have complicated one simple thing.

While most critics, including our own, appreciate the new iPhone models for their design and performance, the industry has been unanimously criticizing the names of new iPhone. Apple calls its new iPhone models as the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr. While the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are the ‘S’ year updates to last year’s iPhone X, it is not clear why Apple chose to call the large-screen model as Max and not Plus, like it has done in the past. It is also not clear what ‘r’ in the name of iPhone Xr stands for.

In fact, we are not alone to believe that Apple has complicated the names of new iPhone models. Ken Segall, a former creative director of Apple, believes the Cupertino-based company has “needlessly complicated” the iPhone names.

Segall is famously associated with for Apple for coming up with the name for the original iMac and was also closely involved with the famous “Think Different” ad campaign. In a new blog post, he writes that Apple is “waging a war against common sense” with each new iPhone name. Ken, who begins the blog post, with “Every September, I eagerly await the unveiling of the new iPhones” goes on to write “I also feel a sense of dread, wondering what Apple is going to call them.”

In his blog post, Ken argues that Apple set new standards for complex iPhone names, when it launched three new iPhone models – iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X – last year. He says, the lineup of iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and iPhone SE, is made up of two numbers, one roman numeral, one pairing of letters, plus an odd numerical gap when you jump from iPhone 8 to iPhone X.

Watch: Apple iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr First Look

He, like most other tech enthusiasts and Apple analysts, wonders how a family of only four products could end up with such needlessly complicated names. He adds that the company which wrote the book on “simplicity” should get rid of its problems with iPhone name every year.

In the blog post, Segall adds while all three models introduced this year, share a common identifier in the form of X, he does believe that Apple is mired in four naming problems, despite dropping iPhone SE this year. He says Apple has lost the point by unveiling an “S” model every other year which creates misconception that they are “off-year” models. He also notes that by calling the new iPhone X and not iPhone 10, Apple has confused even its mainstream customers.

He says the third problem is the introduction of R model, which does not imply a specific meaning to a normal customer. Then, there is the styling of the S, which varies from a big S to a small s, in Apple’s own product material. “In Apple literature, it’s a small s. In ads from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Best Buy, it’s a big S. Can we hold Apple responsible for its partners’ ads? Hell, yes. Apple makes and enforces a ton of rules for anyone authorized to sell its products. The devil is in the details,” Segall writes.

The criticism from Segall is the one most other people have vocally shared on platforms like Twitter. It is the one that needs to be seen from a lens where Apple led the innovation not only in the form of products but also in the form of naming its products, be it iMac, iPod, iPhone or iPad. Now, the company seems to be not only making its products more expensive but also hard to spell, correctly.

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  • Published Date: September 29, 2018 11:12 AM IST