iPhone XR? iPhone XC? 2018 may be the year of weird iPhone names

Multiple reports point to Apple's new iPhones being called the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. But what about the other one?

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read

How will Apple name its iPhones in a post-iPhone X world?

Josh Miller/CNET

Apple may throw a wrench in its usual iPhone naming scheme by using letters (and Roman numerals) instead of numbers.

Reports say that Apple will call its iPhone X followup the "iPhone XS", with the larger 2018 iPhone model being called the the "iPhone XS Max" instead of using the standard "iPhone ... Plus" moniker.

The "S" in the name implies that 2018 may be an "S" cycle year for its iPhones. Typically these are the years when Apple's new iPhones get under-the-hood updates (like upgraded processors and features) instead of major design changes (think iPhone 6 versus iPhone 6S).

Watch this: 2018 iPhone XS launch event: Everything we're expecting

A recent report from Bloomberg corroborates by saying that Apple "is likely" to use the "iPhone XS" and "iPhone XS Max" names, citing "people familiar with Apple's internal deliberations."

And the third of Apple's rumored 2018 iPhones, the affordable 6.1-inch LCD model? The report says that Apple "has considered" calling that one the "iPhone XR." That hedging phrase leaves the possibility wide open that the iPhone could be called something else.

What else could it be called? Apple leaker Benjamin Geskin claims that Apple may stick to "iPhone XC" for the LCD iPhone. Geskin has a mixed record when dealing with iPhone rumors, so it might be best to take iPhone XC with a grain of salt too. iPhone XC seems to be a throwback to the iPhone 5C, the cheaper counterpart to the iPhone 5S.

So iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR or iPhone XC? We'll have to wait until the Sept. 12 Apple event to find out.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

iPhone XS: 17 most-wanted features

See all photos