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The recent  announcement of the iPhone 4S was met, pretty universally, by disappointment. People were expecting the iPhone 5.

However, the release of the 4s is quite consistent with Apple iPhone releases.

The initial iPhone (with a monikor) was released in June 2007 and was followed up by the 3G – simply named because it had 3G data capability – in July 2008.

In June 2009 they didn’t release a new version, but improved the 3G and released it as the 3GS.

In 2010 we get the iPhone 4 and this year the iPhone 4S.

This pattern of releasing a new phone one year and then improving it the next is a good idea – particularly when iPhone users are usually on 2 year contracts. If the year after they buy a newly released iPhone they launch another brand-new must-have version then users would probably get annoyed quite quickly. An interim improved phone is the logical conclusion.

So, we have a pattern, which means that the next big iPhone release will be next year. But what about the number?

The 3G was not the third phone. However, the iPhone 4 WAS the 4th iteration (after the original, 3G and 3GS). So that means that next year’s phone will be the iPhone 6. And for a company that works so hard on these intricate details would they really get the numbering wrong? Logically, no. But something tells me the next phone will be the iPhone 5.