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If we're getting an iPhone 13, it's safe to say the 's' years are no more

Iphone 13 Bronze
Iphone 13 Bronze (Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

It's looking increasingly likely that the 2021 iPhone will be called "iPhone 13". It's what we've all been calling it anyway, but there had been some suggestions that Apple could go with "iPhone 12s" for various reasons. But if that isn't happening, it seems safe to say that the 's' year iPhones are a thing of the past.

Apple could have gone with the iPhone 12s name this year because we don't expect a big new design change. Historically, that has been a good reason for Apple to roll the 's' out, but not this year. Another reason to select the iPhone 12s name is the number 13 is considered unlucky by some.

Why does it look like we're getting iPhone 13 this year? New footage appears to show a pile of iPhone 13 Pro Max cases, complete with Apple and MagSafe branding. If legitimate — and they do appear to be — this is as good as confirmation that iPhone 13 is the name. That means it isn't iPhone 12s,

In reality, it's a good few years since we were treated to an 's' iPhone. 2018's iPhone XS was the last one. Since then, we've seen the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. The arrival of the iPhone 13 would be a trend — and one that seems unlikely to be broken next year also. With other phone companies incrementing their digits annually, Apple likely won't want to be left behind in that regard. Of course, realistically, the numbers mean nothing, but who knows how these things play out in marketing terms.

There was once a time where people seemed to actually prefer the 's' years, with some saying it gave Apple a chance to work out the kinks of any new design before they threw down their hard-earned cash. The iPhone 6 was bendier than a bendy thing, for example. iPhone 6s, not so much. It's just one example, but it's an illustrative one.

All that really matters is that each new iPhone is the best iPhone ever, and the numbers have no bearing on that in reality. We're now just days away from when I expect Apple to announce iPhone 13 — and I, for one, can't wait.

Can you?

As a reminder, the iPhone 13 event kicks off online on Tuesday, September 14, beginning at 10 a.m. EDT.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

3 Comments
  • “ All that really matters is that each new iPhone is the best iPhone ever”. It will be the best ever. If someone upgrades from an 11 (as I will be) or X down to 6, they’re certainly getting a great upgrade. Camera, speakers, mic, antennas, display, battery will all likely be a very nice upgrade. But How much better will 13 be than the previous year, the 12, is the big question. Imore is imho one of the best places to get feedback on it after next week.
    Of course so much depends on iOS 15 and its follow up minor and maintenance releases. Make everything work together very nicely! Watch, Airpods, AppleTV — even iPad and Mac. All great devices on their own but the more flawlessly the individual devices work together? It’s what hugely separates Apple from someone collecting differing parts from differing
    companies (whose devices will play together on only a basic level).
  • “Camera, speakers, mic, antennas, display, battery will all likely be a very nice upgrade.” Except that the cameras have not changed in 6 years. They have been 12 MP since the iPhone 6s.
  • Then why not adopt a naming convention that REALLY means something - iPhone 21 (or 2021) - it is so much easier to determine release dates when the date is in the release number instead of hunting through weird model numbers to determine when a device (phone, tablet or laptop) was released.