Apple’s iPhone 14 range is just two months away and, while leaks have revealed everything from their battery capacities to potential price increases, one surprising detail was overlooked: a new name.
In September, Apple is expected to announce a more affordable version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which was widely assumed to be called the ‘iPhone 14 Max’. But a detailed supply chain report from analyst Omdia, uses a far more logical name.
Breaking with leaks to date, Omdia senior research director David Hsieh refers to the new device (and iPhone 13 Mini replacement) as the ‘iPhone 14 Plus’. This makes a lot of sense. It harks back to Apple’s previous branding for its biggest phones and creates greater delineation between two 6.7-inch models.
Beyond this, the name ‘Max’ is also problematic. A max-version of any device implies that it is the best of something ahead of its physical size, hence phrases like ‘to the max’. The connotations around ‘plus’ are not so extreme, ‘plus size’ is a long-standing association and the word implies ‘more’ rather than best. This would be a better fit, given standard iPhone 14 models will miss out on most major iPhone 14 Pro upgrades.
Apple’s most recent branding also shows a desire to keep Max reserved for premium hardware. In ascending order, the M1 (and soon M2) range is comprised of:
- M1 Pro
- M1 Max
- M1 Ultra
Max sits above Pro. Yes, Apple’s branding has long been criticised for creating confusion (look no further than the ‘Apple Watch Edition’), but releasing an iPhone 14 Max which is cheaper and slower than an iPhone 14 Pro would be bizarre even by Apple’s standards.
Adding further weight to Hsieh’s language is the detail of Omdia’s report, which breaks down iPhone component suppliers, supply distribution and order volumes for the next two years. Going against this is the sheer number of high-profile leakers who have been talking about an iPhone 14 Max for months. It would be a surprise for them to be wrong this close to launch, but certainly not unprecedented.
Yes, there are bigger questions surrounding the iPhone 14 lineup — including their eye-opening battery capacities, camera differences and generational chipset gap — but for Apple, getting the messaging right around these phones is critical. And that all starts with a name.
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