Names

9to5Mac Needed iPhone-Scoop Sources

On Aug. 30, the long-running website 9to5Mac broke what it said was an exclusive find of a new iPhone photo and a new model name.

The Apple-enthusiast public took it as a scoop, along with a similar article about a new watch Apple is expected to announce today.

The iPhone article and photo have driven extended discussion among the Apple faithful since.

The enthusiasts should not have put great belief in the report.

The article contains a basic journalistic flaw of having no source. There is no “who,” “where” or “how.” Such facts are ground-floor requirements in a news article: They are who, what, where, when, why and how — the five W’s and an H.

On Aug. 30, 9to5Mac published an article saying that the photo above shows new iPhones to be announced today, without explaining how it knew the photos were accurate or how it learned the model name. The article provided no sources for the information.

In the article, “Exclusive: This is ‘iPhone XS’ — design, larger version, and gold colors confirmed,” Guilherme Rambo wrote, “We believe that the new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones will both be called iPhone XS.”

Also, Rambo wrote, “we can report with certainty that iPhone XS will be the name, the OLED model will come in two sizes, including a larger version, and each will be offered in gold for the first time.”

Nowhere in the article did Rambo or the website say where the information was obtained or how. It was attributed to no person, no leak and no process of digging out digital details from computer code, for which Rambo is respected.

Rambo should have known better, as should the editors of 9to5Mac. Readers should have been more discerning as well.

John Gruber wrote on his Daring Fireball website, “I suspect Rambo, who is extraordinarily clever at finding things, somehow discovered them through a URL that was exposed publicly but should not have been.”

Monday, Rambo provided the source on Twitter — 12 days after his article published.

“So, about those marketing images: They came from the recap section of the special event website,” Rambo wrote. “I used the URL pattern from the last event and guessed the device’s names. Apple took them down immediately after we published.”

Regardless of whether every detail reported Aug. 30 proves correct during Apple’s product announcement today, Rambo and 9to5Mac were wrong to publish the Aug. 30 article without sources.

Glenn Marston has been a newspaper managing editor twice, editorial page editor twice and assistant editor three times, and is an author. He studied journalism at the University of South Florida, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications.

Article Podcast — Tech Geek Fact

New iPhone Numbers: What Makes Sense

Series: Sense of iPhones

Part 3 of 3

Apple is facing a crisis befitting a kindergartner.

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3, except that the series has stretched into double digits and, worse, into Roman numerals with the iPhone X (say 10).

The solution is to do away with the old system and replace it with a familiar, sustainable model-year approach.

After all, the digit deviation stumps adults as well as 5-year-olds.

Apple should avoid Roman numerals and double digits when it announces new iPhones today. Three models are expected. Using names suggested by the first article in this series, Apple should use model years and names such as 2019 iPhone, 2019 iPhone L and 2019 iPhone Plus.

Apple should avoid Roman numerals and double digits when it announces new iPhones today. Three models are expected. Using names suggested by the first article in this series, Apple should use model years and names such as 2019 iPhone, 2019 iPhone L and 2019 iPhone Plus.

Enthusiasts and a few others know to say “10” when speaking of an iPhone X. Few are clued-in on the secret. They say what they read: “ex.” The haters say ex with a jubilant sneer.

Take the past four years. The larger iPhone 6 of 2014, led to the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8, each with a larger Plus variant. Apple skipped the iPhone 9.

The company should clear up the confusion by using the system employed by automakers and television programmers for decades.

When announcing the fall lineup, simply add the coming year as a prefix to the model name.

Today, Apple would be smart to call the iPhone X’s successor the 2019 iPhone. If not this year, then next, when extending the old numbering scheme would be even more confounding.

This provides a marketing advantage to Apple, as well, although the most valuable publicly owned company has plenty: Buyers in September through the end of the year would hear that they are buying next year’s iPhone.

Indeed, over a new model’s year, the bulk of its sale time would take place in 2019.

The system is simple, and people understand how it works. Apple should make a 2019 iPhone, a 2020 iPhone and so on, released the September before the designated year.

Series:

Part 1 — New iPhone Names: What Makes Sense

Part 2 — New iPhone Prices: What Makes Sense

Article Podcast — Tech Geek Fact

New iPhone Names: What Makes Sense

Series: Sense of iPhones

Part 1 of 3

Originally, iPhone names were simple. The first model, in June 2007, was iPhone.

Today, with Apple expected to announce three new top-end iPhones, their names have been the subject of rapidly evolving rumors, speculation and purported leaks.

All the names suggested — including iPhone Xs, iPhone Xc and iPhone Xs Max — would mar Apple’s history of relatively straightforward names.

Apple should follow the spare approach it uses in design for naming as well, if not this year then next.

Call the regular-size phone with 5.8-inch OLED screen the iPhone.

This would keep the iPhone X a one-year special, celebrating 10 years of iPhones and future approaches to the signature smartphone.

Name the extra-large, 6.5-inch OLED version the iPhone Plus. The Plus name fits the size.

The likely lower-cost model, with 6.1-inch LCD screen and only one rear camera, should be called the iPhone L — for LCD.

These suggestions solve an even larger problem: what to do for new phone names in September 2019. An iPhone X2, followed by an iPhone X2s a year later? That would be a greater mess.

The XS Nightclub at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas implies “excess,” which could be undesirable with the suffix for an iPhone Xs, should Apple release a model with that name.

John Gruber, writer of the Daring Fireball website, pointed out additional problems with the iPhone Xs name on his podcast, “The Talk Show.” He spoke Sept. 4 on Episode 229 at about 45 minutes and 35 seconds (in Overcast player). Those who pronounce the X as the letter rather than the Roman numeral are likely to pronounce Xs as “excess” rather than “10 S,” Gruber said.

“I don’t think they want people calling it the iPhone Xs or I would think they wouldn’t,” Gruber said. “There’s a nightclub in Las Vegas at the Wynn. I’m not a nightclub person, but you can’t go to the Wynn and not see the ads for it, called XS. The whole reason they named the night club XS is because it sounds like ‘excess,’ which is what they want associated with their expensive, crazy, big-name DJ nightclub.”

Additionally, writer and podcaster Jason Snell says that those who do pronounce the X as “10” would be just as likely to call a Xs the “tennis.”

The older models used a naming rationale that could be understood easily.

The June 2007 original was iPhone.

June 2008 brought the iPhone 3G, denoting its ability to receive 3G cellular data.

The iPhone 3GS came in June 2009, with the S standing for speed brought by faster components within.

The next year was simpler with the iPhone 4. A numerical cadence seemed apparent.

However, in October 2011, the new phone was called the iPhone 4S. Every other year would bring an S phone.

The low-cost, plastic-body iPhone 5C joined the 5S when they were released in September 2013. The C stood for color, a variety of which were available.

The iPhone 6 brought larger sizes. The iPhone 6 was a regular-size phone but larger than its small iPhone 5S predecessor. The extra-large version was the iPhone 6 Plus.

The clearly named iPhone SE succeeded the iPhone 5S, with essentially the same phone housing and updated-and-faster processing parts inside.

Keep it simple, Apple. There should be no need for a deep understanding of the Roman numeral system, or convoluted combinations of letters and numbers.

Series:

Part 2: New iPhone Prices: What Makes Sense

Part 3: New iPhone Numbers: What Makes Sense

Article Podcast — Tech Geek Fact