11 January 20169to5Mac:
An unlikely report from Chinese site MyDrivers accompanied by an even unlikelier-looking graphic claims that Apple’s new 4-inch phone will not be named the iPhone 6c, as expected, but will instead be dubbed the iPhone 5e. The letter ‘e’ supposedly stands for ‘enhanced.’
The report also claims that the spec of the phone will be lower than previously rumored, having an A8 processor and 1GB RAM rather than the expected A9 and 2GB. This would essentially give it the same internals as the latest iPod touch.
I don’t buy it. The branding is just wrong. Apple will gimp itself if it releases a new product with an old number — 5 is old news. There was enough disappointment when Apple released the ‘iPhone 4s’ instead of the ‘iPhone 5’, purely based on the naming suggesting it wasn’t a big upgrade. In addition to the awkward suffix, ‘5e’ harkens back to old iPhone models. Taking it literally, the iPhone 5 was a 2012 device. The fashionability of iPhone buying is forfeited completely if you associate it with a 3-year old phone.
Even taking it at face value, it makes no sense. The MyDrivers report claims the device has A8 internals, but an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s never shipped with an A8. The A8 chip first shipped in the iPhone 6. On this basis, the most logical suggested name is in fact 6c. The ‘5e’ moniker is weird, confusing, and associated with old tech.
KGI, as do many other sources, suggest that the 4-inch phone comes equipped with an A9 chip and NFC for Apple Pay. Taking this reliable path, the obvious naming choices is iPhone 6c or iPhone 7c. Out of these two, I think its a bit of a toss up as to what Apple would go for. 7c feels newer but it has the potential of upstaging the real iPhone 7 due in the autumn. However, it also has much better longevity as a name and will align nicely on store shelves next to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
That being said, if I had to bet, I would say iPhone 6c. It links to the likely internal specifications of the device (6s : 6c) and still feels connected to this generation of iPhone, not an ethereal future version. After all, the iPhone 6s has only been on the market three months. It’s still pretty ‘new’ in its own right.