In an earlier post titled Name That iPad, I ventured that Apple would drop the numeral in the next iPhone launch:
For what it's worth, I also believe that the next iPhone will simply be called "the iPhone" for similar reasons. At one point, the race towards the next device launch was iterative, and the naming took that into account. Now, it is just a natural transition like new versions of the next luxury vehicle in a line. People use a descriptor which is not part of the make/model name, like the year, or 2-door/4-door to specify which version they have. It works just fine, so why would the company that is always advertising "simplicity," complicate it?
After seeing this image from the invitation that just went out for the September 12th event, my prediction is obviously wrong:
The next iPhone will almost certainly be called the iPhone 5, by both Apple and the press at large. Now that I know the future (or at least have a strong indication of it), I find myself working backwards towards the solution.
It makes sense that Apple sees value in continuing the tradition of including a number in the name to denote versioning with the iPhone, but not the iPad. While the iPad is massively popular, the iPhone is something that likely has a very different upgrade path for most consumers. This is mostly due to the cell phone contract tied to the subsidized pricing model. Carriers probably like having the number as well, since it makes marketing the update much easier for those that aren't hearing of the launch via various news outlets.
I do, however, stand by my prediction regarding the name of the smaller iPad that rumors indicate is forthcoming in the near future. There's still only ONE iPhone. Meaning that while there are different colors and storage capacities, there is still only one parent product to which these attributes are associated. If Apple had stuck with the numbering of iPad releases, and the 3rd-generation iPad (yes, the one with the retina screen) had been called iPad 3, the smaller version is now a bit more complicated. I'm still betting on the smaller iPad not having a qualifier after it (either in numeric or "Mini" format).
I doubt this post will be read widely enough to cross the path of the tech press elite, but I'll sit back and quietly wish for a famous Jim Dalrymple "Yep." anyway.