A source of intrigue related to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the coming year will be whether it chooses to call its next smartphone the iPhone 7 or iPhone 6s. Media is seemingly completely split on the subject, with many outlets already describing the next generation Apple handset as the iPhone 7, but an equal number are seemingly opting for the working title of the iPhone 6s.

Will Apple Opt For iPhone 7 Or iPhone 6S?

Previous strategy

Assessing which one of these will turn out to be accurate is an interesting undertaking. If we look at Apple’s previous strategy, then in recent years they have both marked out iPhone releases as being an entirely new generation, and also as an evolution over previous devices. This doesn’t give us a huge clue, but what it does do is outline the ethos of either potential name.

The iPhone 6s would indicate that the new Apple handset was very much an evolution from the iPhone 6, while if Apple chooses to name the device iPhone 7, then the implication is that this will be a massive change from previous devices. The latter name would obviously require Apple to produce some significantly innovative features, and possibly beef the spec of the device up beyond what would otherwise be necessary.

Earlier iPhone 6s?

Another intriguing prospect is that Apple could even conceivably release two separate devices with both names attached to them. Media is already speculating that an iPhone 6s could hit the stores relatively early in 2015, to be followed by an iPhone 7 later in the year. This would be a bold and surprising strategy, and it would look to be a long shot in all honesty, but it is interesting that numerous sources are reporting this as being a possibility.

Will Apple Opt For iPhone 7 Or iPhone 6S?

Dual Apple Watch release

In line with this suggestion, it has been reported that Apple may release the iPhone 6s simultaneously with the forthcoming smartwatch – the Apple Watch. Apple has been pretty quiet about this device, despite the fact that it has eventually confirmed its existence, but we do know that is pencilled in for an early release in 2015.

At one time it looked as if the Apple Watch could be delayed, but reports in the last 24 hours have stated that the production is now back on track, and this will enable Apple to release the Apple Watch sooner than was anticipated. It is therefore suggested that an iPhone 6s could accompany this smartwatch, and that the new smartphone may have specific functionality built into it which collaborates with the Apple Watch.

This is a possibility, but it must be stated that expecting Apple to release two completely new products in conjunction with one another would seem to be misplaced. Although the consumer electronics giant may choose to innovate with its next generation of products, there is no pressing need for Apple to take chances given that it is miles ahead of its competitors in the mobile marketplace.

iPhone 7: Evolution or revolution?

So this really poses the question of whether or not the next iteration of the iPhone series will be a mere evolution over the existing iPhone 6, or whether it will represent a genuine revolution. Both views are certainly possible. On the one hand, as mentioned previously there is no particular requirement for Apple to do anything drastic. At the moment everything it touches turns to gold, and there have been absolutely no indications from sales of either iPhone 6 device that the company needs to change tack; indeed, they have all sold like hotcakes.

On the other hand, sometimes the best opportunity to innovate is from a position of strength, and Apple is certainly in that position at the moment. With its stock trading well above $100, and the company’s valuation reaching a new record high of $700 billion recently, Apple is by far the pre-eminent manufacturer of electronic devices in the world. Indeed, Forbes rates it as the company with the highest market value on the planet, and Apple’s market cap has increased by almost 50 percent since Forbes last released its rankings.

This would put Apple in a very strong position to release the sort of device with the next generation iPhone that was strongly rumored for the current generation. This could include a large raft of massive innovations and structural changes, and we may finally get to see the Sapphire Glass finish which was so strongly linked with the iPhone 6 series.

Such a notion points to the idea that Apple will definitely name its next smartphone the iPhone 7, and create a device which is significantly different from the iPhone 6. If this is the case, then a release date around September to October 2015 is an absolute certainty.

But Apple may also choose to build on strong sales of the iPhone 6 with a small upgrade and spec increase enabling them to concentrate on other products. A natural name for such a device would be the iPhone 6s.