Page 2 – The Tech News Debris for the Week of September 5th
Is Apple’s iPhone Naming Scheme a Mistake or Genius?

iPhone 7, black

iPhone 7 in black. Image credit: Apple

It’s true that there are logical dilemmas with Apple’s iPhone naming scheme over the years. Apple has never formally explained the reasoning for its nomenclature, and so journalists have taken their best shot at explaining the logic of the “S” years and the contrived, presumed “tick-tock” cycle. Then, when Apple breaks the mold, the analysis gets even more confusing.

Perhaps Apple delights in this. After all, the average customer seldom inquires deeply into the iPhone names. All they know is that the iPhone 7 is newer and better than the iPhone 6s.

Marketing is Everything

However. From a purely marketing and logical standpoint, one can argue that the naming system, over the years, is manifestly illogical and counter-productive. This is what Ken Segall claims in: “Apple’s self-inflicted naming dilemma.” Choice words:

Even when an S model introduces a breakthrough feature, it comes in the context of “this is an off-year.” I’m trying to think of any marketer who has ever chosen such a course before, but I’m coming up blank.

This entire conversation wouldn’t even exist had Apple chosen a simpler path at the start, or did a mid-course correction years ago. Just imagine if every model was judged on its merits, without any pre-conceptions about major and minor years.

My own thinking is that Ken is right in principle. In an alternate universe, Apple might have chosen a simple, logical sequence: Apple iPhone model 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…. over the years.  But then, a certain dash of playfulness and irrationality does give us something to write about. If Apple can keep us puzzling and talking about model numbers, maybe that’s the marketing angle right there.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.

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It’s easy to understand hacks who foment all this negative hysteria to get some attention but what I can’t fathom is why tech journalists from supposedly reputable publications like WSJ and NYT are joining in on the panty-twisting over the discarded archaic headphone jack. Albeit, they twist their panties in subtler, less frenzied language. But they twist them nonetheless.


I just like how Apple is like, “Yeah HTC was courageous to make the very first Android handset without that outdated stereo jack, we should do that too!”


The last phone I bought without a head phone jack was the HTC Dream (aka T-mobile G1). It too had an USB adapter for head phones. And not being able to charge it while using headphones was an issue, until I bought a wireless stereo headset (Motorola S9) and use that to listen to music while I worked.


Once an industrial design is fine tuned over many years, it may be very hard to come up with “new”. Look at HDTV’s. They have all become basically a thin screen with a thin bezel. There’s not much you can do, other than make a curved screen, which is different, but I’m not sure how useful it is. Samsung has a screen that wraps around the edge, which doesn’t seem that useful to me. But it is different, and some people like it. Apple doesn’t do change for the sake of change. They do change because they think it’s better… Read more »

Lee Dronick

iPhone names?

“In Cantonese, the Chinese dialect spoken in Hong Kong, “seven”, or “chat” is a mild euphemism for the male member.”


The real clock bait headlines from writers with nothing to say is to this day, inserting “Steve Jobs.”

IMO most of the writing about Apple is worthless drivel. The “rumor” sites are a joke. Can you imagine your daily job is to write about rumors of Apple? Pathetic

I don’t click on most articles about Apple because the writers have nothing to say or inform.


+ One almost cannot write about those making a living “smacking Apple around” in the tech (and popular) press without also mentioning The Macalope, who makes a living smacking around those who smack around Apple. As The Macalope has been around since the glory days of “the Apple web” (RIP AtAT, CARS, etc.) I had to give a quick nod to “the ‘Lope.” As for the iPhone naming scheme: It has worked well, I believe, up until now: An iPhone model number sans “s” meant a now form factor from the previous generation, plus new features, while a model number… Read more »


But not as bad as some of the backlash here, by a certain person, from no Flash on the original iPhone. Maybe Apple does know what they are doing.


And here I thought the backlash over Apple dropping the floppy drive was bad, but this headphone jack issue is like everybody is running around yelling “Apple is killing puppies!”