In about two weeks, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will finally unveil its trio of next-generation iPhones. While quite a lot has leaked about the features and specs of the new phones, the branding of the new phones is still very much unknown to the public.
The two upcoming iPhones with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have often been referred to as the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus," respectively. The premium iPhone with OLED display has been commonly referred to as the iPhone 8 or the iPhone X.
One report from Mac Otakara back in March suggested that Apple could very well call the premium iPhone the "iPhone Edition."
Here's why I think that name would be perfect.
It's an established, luxury Apple brand
Apple first introduced its "Edition" branding with the original Apple Watch. The "Apple Watch Edition," at least back then, referred to the $10,000 Apple Watch model with a gold casing (actual gold, not gold colored).
That product apparently didn't sell very well because when Apple introduced its second-generation Apple Watch family, known as the Apple Watch Series 2, it didn't offer it in a gold casing.
Apple did, however, continue to offer products under the "Apple Watch Edition" branding -- Apple Watch Series 2 models in premium ceramic casings.
Since Apple already has an established brand that it uses for the highest-end models in a product lineup, it would make perfect sense to apply it to this year's highest-end iPhone, as well.
There's a catch, though...
Applying the Edition branding to an ultra-premium iPhone product during this coming product cycle makes sense, but I don't think Apple would want such an iPhone Edition to be a one-off product.
If Apple introduces an iPhone Edition this year, it'll likely want to continue to use the brand name for future phones, as building, maintaining, and growing brands is neither easy nor cheap.
Keep in mind that Apple would only apply the Edition branding to a phone that's truly a cut above the rest of the iPhone lineup in meaningful ways. Just, say, adding a larger version of the iPhone Plus without any distinguishing camera, display, or internal technology features likely wouldn't cut it.
I think given that Apple truly benefits from being able to offer smartphones at higher price points (since it has a much larger bill of materials budget to play with to add in more features), it'll continue the practice, and each year it'll have an iPhone Edition to sell alongside the more mainstream iPhone/iPhone Plus products.
The only question in my mind, then, is just how Apple plans to differentiate next year's iPhone Edition (or whatever it ultimately calls it) from this year's. I can't wait to find out.