What's in a name? iPhone SE or iPhone 9?

iPhone SE 2 Fake Mockup
iPhone SE 2 Fake Mockup (Image credit: iMore)

Will this be the week Apple sends out a press release about the long-rumored iPhone SE successor? If the company does, will the handset be called the iPhone 9, Phone SE (2), or something else? Hint: It really doesn't matter, especially in times like these, but its official name is a vital piece of the puzzle that comes along with any new Apple device release.

I do have some ideas, however.

Where Things Stand

On April 1, a rumor by Jon Prosser said Apple would reveal an "iPhone 9" next Wednesday, April 15 with a release date one week later. Just a day later, the Apple website temporarily listed a Belkin InvisiGlass screen protector for an "iPhone SE." The page remains, but it now only lists the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 (opens in new tab) as the supported devices.

This leak is significant nonetheless because those devices each have a 4.7-inch display versus the 4-inch screen found on the original iPhone SE (2016 to 2018). Whatever its name, the iPhone 9/SE has long been rumored to include a 4.7-inch display.

Because of that leak, it's increasingly likely Apple has decided to call its newest iPhone the iPhone SE. Given there was already an iPhone SE, and Apple doesn't repeat names for new devices, this doesn't make any sense. However, when you consider SE means Special Edition and this would-be handset is likely to get released outside of Apple's typical iPhone release schedule, it makes slightly more sense.

Naming the device iPhone 9 has a tidy ring to it. After all, there's been an iPhone 8 and iPhone X (called 10), followed by the current iPhone 11 series. However, this year is likely to see the arrival of an iPhone 12 (and iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max), despite my better judgment. Any iPhone 9 vs. iPhone 12 discussion that follows would instantly sound like one old vs. new, no?

If I ran Apple, and of course I don't, the new 4.7-inch handset would be called the iPhone 11 SE. Fresh and timely, the name would confirm to buyers it was a brand new handset. The name would also tie nicely to the current lineup the names iPhone SE or iPhone 9 could not.

With all this being said, the name Apple selects isn't all that important. Even bringing another iPhone SE to the market sounds better than Samsung's decision earlier this year to follow up the Galaxy S10 series with the Galaxy S20. At one time (hmm, two months ago), this made sense, given the start of a new decade. However, thanks to the coronavirus, 2020 is forever going to be remembered for mostly wrong reasons. Probably not.

Therefore, as long as Apple releases an iPhone SE, iPhone 9, or iPhone 11 SE versus any variance that includes "20" in the title, the company will be fine.

What do you think?

Which name should Apple select for the next 4.7-inch handset? Let us know in the comments below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

  • Yeah, on it's surface it seems like 'who cares', right? Having said that, I do often get confused looks from people who don't follow Apple technology like I do whenever I tell them I have an iPhone SE. More often, they say "Wow! You still have an iPhone 5?!" and I say, no, it's actually the SE. So, something like 11 SE would be nice because the "everyman (or everywoman)" would know right where it slots in given the number.
  • I don't think it should be called an SE. The SE, standing for Special Edition, was special because many people wanted a small iPhone that still a modern phone and it had the classic design. This is just an improved iPhone 8 as far as I can tell from the rumors. If it's going to be 4.7 inch then it no longer retains what made the special edition, special.
  • Nope to iPhone 11 SE. They'll have very little in common. iPhone SE (no number to go with), does make sense, although for less confusion SE2 is fine as well. I do agree that "9" is less attractive because this will be a special edition phone.
  • No on the iPhone 11 SE since 1. It looks nothing like an iPhone 11 (the original SE had the same design language of the 5/5S). Just call it the iPhone 4.7" (2020).
  • I highly doubt anybody would name a phone by the screen size unless it was a whole number, plus not everyone measures by inches
  • Lol it doesn't matter what everyone else measures in, it would simply be for when ordering cases/accessories and the like. There are references all over the internet (especially amazon) that include the screen size. Still a better name than 11 SE.
  • It’s going to be called iPhone se. that’s it no 11 no 9. Se.