To Plus, or to Max, that is the iPhone 14 question

To Plus, or to Max, that is the iPhone 14 question

Apple’s “Far Out” event is just days away. We’re expecting the company to reveal the iPhone 14 lineup and Apple Watch Series 8. That’s in addition to other potential products — such as the AirPods Pro 2, Apple Watch Pro, and Apple Watch SE 2. We’ve been hearing rumors about the iPhone 14 series for a year now — quite literally. In fact, the first whispers revolving around this line started surfacing prior to the iPhone 13 launch.

One of the notable details we learned about this year’s release is Apple potentially discontinuing the Mini variant. Instead, the company would seemingly go for a larger, 6.7-inch regular model. In this case, we’d get two 6.1-inch models and two 6.7-inch ones — with each having a regular and a Pro variant. At first, the iPhone naming assumption was 14, 14 Max, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max. Of course, that would make sense — since Max refers to the larger screen size, while the Pro label distinguishes between their capabilities. Plus, there’s already precedent for the more ridiculous-sounding Pro Max.


Back in July, a report claimed that Apple will revive the Plus branding for the larger, non-Pro iPhone 14. Of course, not everyone took this report very seriously. Why would the Cupertino overlord bring back a dead tag it hasn’t used in years? In an unexpected turn of events, some leaked photos surfaced online a few days ago. They portray alleged cases for the larger iPhone 14 model. Surprise, surprise — the case labels it as Plus, rather than Max.

So, will it be the iPhone 14 Plus or Max? It could be either of them, and we likely won’t find out for sure until September 7. However, here’s why I personally think it would make more sense for Apple to revive the Plus branding.

iPhone 14: What Plus and Max insinuate

Earlier this year, we learned that Apple could start including the latest chip solely on Pro iPhones. So the regular iPhones would stick to year-old chipsets. This potential change allegedly aims at further distinguishing between the regular and Pro iPhones. By increasing the Pro exclusives, undecided customers could go for the more expensive model. So how is this relevant to the Plus/Max branding?

iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Mini

iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 Pro Max

Put the words Plus and Max side by side. The former points to something additional, while the latter goes for a maxed-out item. Plus is more, and Max is the most. The larger iPhone 14 offers more screen, but it’s not maxed out in terms of technical specifications and features. By keeping the Max branding exclusive to the larger Pro model, Apple further distinguishes between the regular and Pro variants. Plus is inferior to Max, and despite it sounding irrelevant, it could make a lot of difference in the marketing department.

Would Apple revive a retired branding, though?

Apple doesn’t oppose digging its own (brand) grave

side profile of Apple MagSafe charger connected to the iPhone 12

MagSafe charging on the iPhone

So, some might wonder — why would Apple re-introduce a branding it hasn’t used in years? The answer is quite simple — the company doesn’t care. When the Cupertino firm initially retired the MagSafe on the Mac, it then reintroduced it on the iPhone later on. Another example is iBooks — the company brought back the term (which used to refer to a hardware line) as a now-retired app name. Just because we haven’t seen a Plus since the iPhone 8 doesn’t mean the Plus is gone forever.

A less-confusing iPhone 14 series

iphone 13 series

iPhone 13 series

Apple is all about simplifying people’s lives with its devices. It tends to avoid long product names that mean nothing to customers. Its branding is straightforward — for the most part, at least. By going for iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max, the company eliminates a common factor/term that could cause confusion amongst customers. This way the lineup is self-explanatory. Otherwise, people might not be able to tell whether the iPhone 14 Max or the iPhone 14 Pro is the higher-end model. In fact, it might seem like the 14 Max is more powerful than the 14 Pro — even though it’s the other way around. Plus hints at an extra, and Max is much more than just that.

If Apple calls it the iPhone 14 Max, the entire line might appear more streamlined — 14, 14 Max, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max. Just two suffixes shuffled around, depending on the device specs. However, taking the semantics into consideration, the company could go for a more distinct branding. Ultimately, we will get an official look in just a few days. In the meantime, we can endlessly speculate and observe how the stars are aligned, in a hopeless attempt to find out early.

Do you personally think it will be called the iPhone 14 Plus or Max? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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