A story in 9to5Mac, citing sources at case makers who claim to have "sources in Shenzhen who claim to have seen the new iPhone packaging," recently said that this year's new Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone models could be called iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone Edition.
However, a report from iCulture (via BGR), claims the premium iPhone with OLED display won't be called the iPhone Edition, but will instead go by the name "iPhone X."
The report explicitly says that the device's name is pronounced "iPhone 10."
This name comes from "a reliable source" at a "worldwide operating telecom company." The report further goes on to explain that Apple held a summit in Cupertino, California, "to discuss the launch of the new devices."
Separately, noted leaker Evan Blass tweeted that he's "also heard 'iPhone X.'"
iPhone X sounds silly
If it were up to me -- and, unfortunately, it's clearly not -- the name "iPhone X" (rumored pronunciation and all) would easily lose out to the name "iPhone Edition."
After all, "Edition" is, as I've written previously, an established premium branding for Apple and would be appropriate for a premium device that's supposed to sit atop the standard models in the product stack.
The name "iPhone X" as pronounced seems problematic. For one thing, Apple still needs to sell the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as its current mainstream models. If Apple has an iPhone "10" available simultaneously with the iPhone 8, then the mainstream models will seem two generations behind the premium iPhone model.
Although the premium iPhone will have some advantages over the mainstream versions, the mainstream phones are still going to be class-leading smartphones where it counts. An iPhone Edition in addition to those models doesn't diminish the value of the mainstream models; the name builds up a premium image for the more expensive device.
An iPhone "10" alongside iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus is just plain weird and, frankly, the name sounds ridiculous.
Looking to the future
If Apple does a so-called iPhone X this year, then it'll probably want to release a successor to this device in the future. After all, the concept of building a no-holds-barred phone for customers willing to pay more is a good one that the company should exploit to its benefit in the years ahead.
If Apple goes with the "iPhone X" name for such a model this year, what does it call next year's model? iPhone XI?
That just wouldn't sound right.
However, if Apple goes with the "iPhone Edition" name, then it can release new models each year, and each year the latest premium smartphone can carry the name "iPhone Edition."
It doesn't even have to be "Edition" -- it just needs to be some premium brand that has a relatively evergreen and premium-sounding name. While I don't think "Pro" would be appropriate (it's evergreen but not premium-sounding), Apple's marketing team can definitely cook up something better than "X."