What if Apple called it iPhone 4GS?

What if Apple called it iPhone 4GS?

What if, instead of iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S, Apple decided to call the new device iPhone 4GS? Confession: I used to love those old Marvel What If? comics, like what if Captain America were discovered today, or what if Conan appeared in the 20th century, or what if Jean Grey didn't die? (You know, before they retconned that into reality.)

So let's pretend for a moment that there's no big new redesign this year and that means Apple doesn't want to go with iPhone 5 as the name, and iPhone 4S just doesn't do it for carriers who, now touting HPSA+ as 4G are eager to slap that faux-logo on every box they can. AT&T and others would almost certainly want to market an HSPA+ iPhone as 4G, the way they do their other HSPA+ phones, so having 4G or 4GS in the name would be perfect for them.

Of course, Verizon (and potentially Sprint) don't have HSPA+ networks, and the new iPhone likely won't support LTE 4G until next year. That would leave Verizon at a significant marketing disadvantage. Would Apple be willing to do that to Verizon? Either before or after Verizon took Samsung's side in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung patent dispute?

That's the problem with "what if" speculation -- it can get out of hand quickly. iPhone 5. iPhone 4S. iPhone 4GS. iPhone 4G. Anything is possible when no product has even been announced yet -- and no announcement has even been officially announced yet.

Personally, iPhone 3GS always sounded un-Apple-like to me -- like a way to recover and get back on the generational tract. I can't see them going with iPhone 4GS unless they're backed into a similar branding corner, but would it make sense, given the HSPA+ carriers, to have 4G in the name?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 22 comments. Add yours.

Jymn Edwards says:

No one would care. And I would hate it. So I guess I would care. Dang.

Derek says:

It would be not only like the iPhone 3gs, but also like the Apple IIgs. At that time, the "gs" stood for "Graphics and Sound". I would be bummed. We need more of an update when waiting an additional 4+ months.

johncblandii says:

I could see 4Gs but not 4S.
I'd still hedge my bet on 5 though.

Jeremy Gerrits says:

It would never be '4G' anything if it wasn't an actual 4G phone. Can you say class action lawsuit?

dloveprod says:

I think they need to stick to iPhone 5, it will avoid confusion and people will know for sure that it is a new iPhone.

Uzair says:

This is awesome. You just made an article out of nothing and to top it; you disagreed with your own original hypothesis. Love it.

myonlinelifenow says:

I'm actually going to put my money on the fact that the numbers will be left off with the exception of iOS5. I think just as you've seen no "numbers" after the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and other Apple products (expect the iPad 2), Apple will come out with an iPhone (aka the 4G/4GS) and iPhone Pro (the 5)

ricbon says:

lets go with model years like cars....the 2011 iphone, the 2012 iphone....and theeeeen thats it if the aztecs are right :P

Nick Powers says:

iPhone 5. iPhone 4GS wouldn't go over well. I really hope it's a true iPhone 5, as well. Not that any upgrade isn't welcome, but I'm holding out hope that this is, as has been in the past, the most substantial incremental update yet. Especially with Apple throwing off the standard yearly update cycle.
I'm calling it now, as I have over the past month or so - iPhone 5 with major update/case redesign, and iPhone 4S with updated internals to replace the iPod Touch at the same price points as the current iPod Touch. iPod Classic going away, iPod nano getting a minor update (but hopefully a major one, with it being BT-enabled for pairing with iPhone for at-a-glance notification). Nothing spectacular on deck for the iPod Shuffle.
We'll see what happens.

Binja says:

I saw iPhone 4 as a return to simplicity. Apples marketing techniques of late focus on the lack of reason for consumers to concern themselves with technical specifications. These tacked on letters phone manufacturers plaster all over their phones are used to signal internal modifications. If Apple truly wishes to differentiate itself in the Sea of Android, it's best tactic is a laser focus on simplicity. This means they need to title the annual upgrade via a single numerical modifier. Or, better yet, just call it iPhone and delegate the technical specs to a hidden corner on their website. There is no reason for non-developers to concern themselves with these details. A lack of modifiers clarifies this stance.

Rylan Carpena says:

The obvious way to go is to stick with the "iPhone 5" name and hopefully they have enough internal improvements to justify naming it that even if the design is similar. The wireless carriers' technology will not be able to keep up with the number iterations of the iPhone.

DeLeon Hughes says:

iPhone 5 sounds muuuucccchhhh better. :D

Thorndy says:

So the iPhone 5 will really be a 4th gen iPhone with more speed? If it has a hardware bump why wouldn't we consider this a higher gen iPhone? Let me think. Well I guess it could be called something like.... Um.... iPhone 5!!!
Can we drop this silly question already? It's like we are playing chess with someone still looking at pieces he lost 5 moves ago.
I'm betting it will be called the iPhone 8MP Galaxy Curve before it's called iPhone 4GS. What the Frak? Good GODS People!
Back to viewing iPad Live 75: Big @$$ tablet

Jon says:

I agree with you that it probably won't be called 4S, but for the sake of argument do you remember what the media said about the name "iPad"?

BuddyD says:

This is a blog, if you want an iPhone "news" site go to The iPhone Addict. This is a blog where we talk about anything iPhone.

Tom says:

Then there's also the slim possibility that they are putting LTE chips in, and they just call the next one iPhone 4G; no "s" involved in any way, shape or form. I think the only thing we can really count on is that it'll probably be called "iPhone." :)

Savea Dollardad says:

iPhone 5......Thats what we want.....enough of all the hype,rumors,and delay Apple.... Just announce the DAMN phone

cosbin2 says:

Apple via their Mac line has used "gs" back in the late 80's

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