The iPhone 13 might not be Apple’s next flagship, thanks to superstition

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

until Apple Marquee Event in the Fall, will continue the guessing game on the name of the next iPhone family. At CNET, we’ve referred to the next-generation iPhone family as the iPhone 13 for the sake of continuity, but a recent wave of reports suggests that we may never get an iPhone 13.

Of the possible names, the iPhone 12S is rumored to be this year’s series favorite. A January Bloomberg article citing Apple engineers says only minor updates are planned for the next line, which will likely be an “S” version of the iPhone 12. Frequent leaker Jon Prosser also pointed toward an iPhone 12S. We’ve seen Apple use this naming scheme in the past with the 2015 iPhone 6S, which replaced the 2014 iPhone 6, and again with the 2018 iPhone XS, a continuation of the 2017 iPhone X.

But if other reports are accurate, there won’t be an iPhone 13 in stores next year. either: Apple is expected to make the leap to an iPhone 14 in 2022, excluding “iPhone 13” from its nomenclature entirely. This is why.


Patrick Holland / CNET

The name iPhone 13 may be bad for optics

It’s no secret that the number 13’s association with bad luck has real-world answers. Ask the real estate developers who skip the 13th floor of their skyscrapers, the crowds of couples who avoid getting married on the 13th, or the psychologists who treat patients with triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13.

Apple knows that this less than favorable perception could scare customers out of buying an iPhone 13. Apple has not shied away from marking its products with the number 13 in the past, after launching the A13 bionic chipset and the iOS 13 software update, for example. However, this is a more important branding exercise, as we are talking about a consumer product rather than a component or software. Additionally, the iPhone is Apple’s flagship product, responsible for generating nearly 50% of Apple’s billions of dollars in revenue, and it is also one of the most popular consumer products in history.

read more: Apple’s iPhone 12 generated the highest revenue and profits in its company’s history

iphone x iphone 8 8 plus

The iPhone X (center), released in 2017 alongside the iPhone 8 (left) and iPhone 8 Plus (right).

Sarah Tew / CNET

The iPhone 12S paves the way for a big update

By opting for the iPhone 12S name and omitting the iPhone 13, Apple could also be setting the stage for a radical design overhaul when the iPhone 14 or 15 comes out, just as it did with the iPhone X. You may remember that Apple skipped the name of the iPhone 9 in 2017, instead of following the iPhone 7 of 2016 with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X. And don’t forget, it was the iPhone X that redefined design standards and paved the way for the modern iPhone.

By some accounts, the iPhone 14 or 15 (or whatever Apple decides to call it) could be the company’s long-awaited entry into the world of folding smartphones. To be clear, we cannot say for sure if a foldable iPhone It will see the light of day, but we are hopeful that it can happen next year. A Bloomberg report, released in January, said Apple already has a working prototype of a foldable iPhone screen, but did not confirm a launch. Other outlets, such as Taiwan’s Economic Daily, for example, singled out 2022 as the year the foldable iPhone will come to fruition. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pointed to 2023.

Until Apple’s fall event, there are no guarantees on what name will be placed on this year’s iPhone. But if you’re interested in finding out more about what we expect from the Phone 13, or Ahem, iPhone 12S family, read our roundup of some of the juiciest rumors about the iPhone.

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