Are you still calling Apple’s third generation iPad “the iPad 3”? You are not alone, but that’s not the official name according to Apple’s website. It’s the new iPad or when shopping for iPad accessories, it’s given the designation “iPad 3rd generation”. This was a break from numerics as part of their conventional product naming strategy, with the new one simply being the new one. It makes sense that Apple would follow this trend with the new iPhone, so why are all the Apple blogs calling it the iPhone 5?

new iPhone vs iPhone 5

To date, we’ve seen the following iPhone models:

  1. iPhone
  2. iPhone 3G
  3. iPhone 3GS
  4. iPhone 4
  5. iPhone 4S

Even my poor math shows the next model to be the sixth iPhone. So why aren’t we calling it the iPhone 6? There was no iPhone 2, but the 3GS (S is for speed) helped get them back on track. Perhaps if Apple didn’t release a 4S, they could theoretically stick with naming it the iPhone 5.

But here we are at the sixth generation? They couldn’t possibly call it the iPhone 5, could they?

No. Apple cannot in good conscience call it the iPhone 5, nor will they jump to iPhone 6. At some point, marketing executives at Apple had to think about the future product naming challenges and aim to destroy the monster in which they created. Continue down this path and one day when you’d be able to purchase an iPhone XIIS. That’s almost as bad as the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE.

The iPad 2 remains the only model among their tablets that bears a numeric association. That won’t change. When we get to the fourth generation iPad, it will be then be known as the new, new iPad. The smaller iPad will be mini. When the second generation comes along, they’ll call it the new iPad mini. This all makes tremendous sense. Could you imagine shopping for a MacBook Pro 11? No, you simply want the new one.

So with the writing on the proverbial wall, then why are all the smartest Apple blogs calling it the iPhone 5? (Yes, we’re including ourselves in the mix). In a word, traffic. That’s the somewhat of a dirty little secret. Consumers have yet to be informed of Apple’s move to drop numerals. Even if they were, where does that leave them? Are they supposed to remember it’s the sixth generation iPhone? Not only is that a huge search term, but results are likely not going to be to their liking. Type ‘iPhone 5’ into Google and you’ll get plenty of results. Blogs, forced to get caught up in Apple’s naming scheme, have to call it the next logical number. Thus ‘iPhone 5’ as a search term was born. A fictional product that will be forever known as the new iPhone (sixth generation) come early September.

At the end of the day, consumers are searching and finding the content they desire, so no harm no foul. We end up with funny looking blog titles and you find information about Apple’s next generation iPhone. Let’s just hope this doesn’t lead to iPhone 6 blog posts in 2013, but I wouldn’t bet on “the new iPhone: seventh generation”.