iPhone 12s or iPhone 13? What Apple will call this year’s iPhone

iPhone 12 Pro review
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A few things already seem likely about the iPhone 13, even though nothing’s official yet. The new models will arrive this fall, there should be four models once again, and an A15 chip will almost certainly power the new devices. But one thing is very much up in the air — what Apple plans to call its next iPhone.

Early rumors, of course, used iPhone 13 as the likely name to refer to the 2021 releases. After all, last fall, Apple jumped straight from the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models to the iPhone 12. Logic dictates that would happen again.

As of late, though, rumors about the new iPhones have started referring the models by a different name. Whether it’s leaks about the upcoming iPhone Pro models getting LTPO displays or the return of Touch ID, a growing number of iPhone rumors refer to Apple’s future devices as the iPhone 12s.

GizChina goes even further, reporting that its sources say that Apple is releasing the iPhone 12s in the fall. Likewise, a prominent Apple leaker thinks the same thing about the iPhone’s upcoming name.

If this ends up being the case, it would be a return to Apple’s old way of naming phones prior to the iPhone 7. (If you recall, in 2017, Apple went straight from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.) Back then, Apple would release a phone — say the iPhone 6 in 2014 — and then follow that up a year later with an “S” version —like 2015’s iPhone 6s — that offered some improvements, but kept the same basic design.

(Apple did momentarily revert to that pattern in 2018, when it followed up the iPhone X with the iPhone XS. But that year also saw the iPhone XR, so naming conventions were all over the map then.)

There’s another reason why Apple may want to put off introducing an iPhone 13 or skip over that number entirely. There’s a long-standing superstition about the number 13 being unlucky. Consider that many high-rise buildings don't list 13th floors, and you could imagine that Apple might follow suit.

In the end, there's no clear-cut answer right now for what we can expect the new iPhone to be called and what that could imply about Apple’s plans for an update. We imagine the picture will become more clear as more rumors surface in advance of the launch this fall.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.