With the announcement of the iPhone 4S, many people are saying they'll skip this generation of iPhone and wait for the iPhone 5. But is there really a difference between what Apple announced as iPhone 4S and what they would have announced as an iPhone 5? If they'd used that name instead, would reaction have been any different? And now that they've gone with iPhone 4S, does that mean you'll have to wait until 2012 for an iPhone 5? Yes and no. There will no doubt be a new iPhone in fall 2012, but I do doubt Apple will call it "iPhone 5".

Let's take a look at the names of each of the iPhones that have been released thus far:

  • 1st generation: iPhone
  • 2nd generation: iPhone 3G
  • 3rd generation: iPhone 3GS
  • 4th generation: iPhone 4
  • 5th generation: iPhone 4S

It needs to be pointed out that the 3G and 3GS names had nothing to do with the generations of the the iPhone. These suffixes were named after the cellular technology associated with those devices. The added 'S' was Apple's way of saying that the iPhone 3GS was a faster, new and improved iPhone 3G.

Then came the iPhone 4. Now, this iPhone was named after its generation. The fourth generation iPhone with the name iPhone 4 made perfect sense. In fact, many assumed, myself included, that Apple would be using this naming scheme from then on out.

Then they announced the iPhone 4S. Just as with the iPhone 3GS, the 'S' implies that the iPhone 4S is a faster, new and improved version of the iPhone 4 - which it is. It's a perfectly fine name, but it throws a wrench into their naming pattern.

Some might argue that it only makes sense to name the 2012 iPhone the iPhone 5, when in fact, it doesn't make any sense. What exactly would the 5 stand for? Nothing. So what then, will the 6th generation iPhone be called?

Perhaps iPhone 6? No, this doesn't fit the scheme, because it skips 5. What about iPhone LTE? Quite possibly, but this may leave out some networks who aren't quite yet on board with LTE. My prediction? iPhone. Just iPhone.

Look at the rest of Apple's product line. There's the iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPod, then iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S sticks out like a sore thumb, and Apple must be planning to drop the suffix to the name eventually. I believe the perfect time for them to make that move will be with the sixth generation iPhone.

This is, of course, is my own speculation. Now tell me yours. What's your prediction for the next iPhone's name?

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