Starting with 2009's iPhone 3GS, ending with 2015's iPhone 6S line, and then returning with 2018's iPhone XS models, Apple's naming strategy for its handsets was to tag an "S" onto the name of the device every other year. While most of the time there was little difference in the design between an iPhone and its "S" variant, occasionally a new feature would be added such as Siri in the iPhone 4S and 3D Touch in the iPhone 6S. While most of us media types have been calling the 2021 series the iPhone 13, it actually could be named the iPhone 12S.
Will Apple give in to the Triskaidekaphobics in its customer base?
While the design of the upcoming iPhone models might look the same as this year's, there will be some major differences, especially with the Pro models which should feature the 120Hz ProMotion display that refreshes up to 120 times per second. This will allow for buttery smooth scrolling, improved animation, and more. And with the addition of LTPO technology, the refresh rate will be variable depending on the content being viewed on the screen thus reducing the drain on the battery life.
We also expect upgrades to the camera system including improved ultra wide-angle camera capabilities on all four models and Portrait Mode for video. Despite these changes and the addition of the ProMotion display, back in January Bloomberg pointed out that Apple engineers were calling the additions "minor."
So if we don't get an iPhone 13 this year, we will in 2022, right? Not so fast. Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, is a real phobic condition that affects more people than you might think. When was the last time that you saw a 13th floor on a hotel?
According to CNET, Apple could skip the iPhone 13 and jump straight to the iPhone 14 line in 2022 worried that sales might suffer due to fears over the use of the number 13. While Apple didn't change the labeling of the A13 Bionic chip on the iPhone 11 series, and still released iOS 13, the tech giant might not want to gamble with its most important product. Apple also might be setting things up for a massive design change in 2022.
You might recall that Apple skipped the iPhone 9, not because of any phobias over the number, but to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the device by offering the redesigned iPhone X. Something like this seems likely as that aforementioned Bloomberg article from January points out that a working prototype of a foldable iPhone has already been built by Apple. The next big redesigned iPhone could include an in-display fingerprint scanner and more changes.
Skipping the iPhone 13 and going straight to iPhone 14 could be done by Apple to mark the new iPhone design which could arrive by 2022 or 2023. Reliable TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects a shake up in the iPhone's looks to take place in 2023.
Of course, there is always the chance that Apple will decide just to go ahead and give the 2021 or 2022 models the iPhone 13 name figuring that most people aren't going to let their smartphone purchases be controlled by superstition. The bottom line is that we will have to wait for Apple's event this September to see whether we get the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12S name for this year. And if Apple goes with the latter, we will have to wait until September 2022 to discover whether Apple will give in to the Triskaidekaphobics among its faithful.
If you're curious about anything pertaining to the 2021 Apple iPhone models, you can check out our preview here. You should also bookmark it too since this preview is updated often. While we are a week away from closing out April leaving approximately 4 and a half months until the 2021 iPhone series is announced, from past experience you know that this time period usually flies by.