Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup will be available in just two months, and while leaks have revealed everything from battery capacities to potential price increases, one surprising detail has been overlooked: a new name.
Apple is expected to announce a less expensive version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max in September, which was widely assumed to be called the ‘iPhone 14 Max.’ A detailed supply chain report from analyst Omdia, on the other hand, uses a far more logical name.
Omdia senior research director David Hsieh refers to the new device (and iPhone 13 Mini replacement) as the ‘iPhone 14 Plus,’ breaking with previous leaks. This makes perfect sense. It pays homage to Apple’s previous branding for its largest phones and distinguishes two 6.7-inch models.
Aside from that, the name ‘Max’ is problematic. A max-version of any device implies that it is the best of something beyond its physical size, which is why phrases like “to the max” are used. The connotations associated with ‘plus’ are not as strong; ‘plus size’ is a long-standing association, and the word implies’more’ rather than ‘best.’ Because standard iPhone 14 models will miss out on most major iPhone 14 Pro features, this would be a better fit.
Apple’s most recent branding also demonstrates a desire to keep Max exclusive to high-end hardware. The M1 (and soon M2) range consists, in ascending order, of:
Max is seated above Pro. Yes, Apple’s branding has long been chastised for causing confusion (just look at the ‘Apple Watch Edition’), but releasing an iPhone 14 Max that is less expensive and slower than an iPhone 14 Pro would be bizarre even by Apple’s standards.
The detail of Omdia’s report, which breaks down iPhone component suppliers, supply distribution, and order volumes for the next two years, adds weight to Hsieh’s language. The sheer number of high-profile leakers who have been talking about an iPhone 14 Max for months goes against this. It would be surprising, but not unprecedented, for them to be wrong so close to launch.
Yes, there are bigger questions surrounding the iPhone 14 lineup, such as their shocking battery capacities, camera differences, and generational chipset gap, but getting the messaging right around these phones is critical for Apple. And it all begins with a name.