Apple just announced a trio of new phones with pretty silly names. On top of being kind of…not good names, they’re also confusing to type: is it iPhone XS or Xs? Xr or XR? So how do you actually capitalize these confusing names? We decided to take a closer look.

It’s worth noting that these names are some of the most awful Apple product names in years. They remind you of early-era Android phone names like “Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch” or something that Microsoft would put out. Saying them out loud is even more ridiculous.

So Are They Uppercase or Lowercase?

To figure out the proper answer, we started digging through the Apple website. At first blush, I assumed it was “Xs” and “Xr,” because of the casing used on the phone’s landing page, which deceptively looks like lowercase.

Yep, looks like Xs to me.

However! upon further inspection, Apple was using uppercase in places like its store. The plot thickens.

That’s most definitely an uppercase S…

So which is it? At this point, it seems like Apple is just as confused as everyone else. But that’s not the case (I got letter jokes, y’all)—the proper casing was truly revealed on the page for the iPhone XR:

Look at that sneaky little big “R”

The “R” is smallcaps—it just so happens that S is a terrible reference letter to tell the difference between smallcaps, uppercase, and lowercase, because…S always looks the same.

R, on the other hand, makes it pretty clear. All instances of either name on the phones’ respective landing pages clearly use smallcaps. In the store or similar places where it makes significantly less sense to try and stick with that format, it’s all caps all the time.

Just to confirm, we checked the actual code on these pages. And sure enough, the “S” and “R” are, in fact, smallcaps. Seriously—the official Apple website actually wraps each instance of the S or R in separate code in order to render it smaller. That’s such an Apple thing to do.

Apple making developers earn that pay

Of course, it’s absolutely not practical to use small-caps every time you want to type the name of a phone—hell, it’s not even possible in many instances (like on phones).

Yes, the iPhone XS and XR Use Uppercase Letters

So, the proper way to format the new phone names is:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR

All caps!

And you know what? Let’s talk about how to actually say these names while we’re at it. It’s not “iPhone Ex Es” or “Ex Are,” which is how the brain seems to want to read these names—nope, it’s “iPhone Ten Ess” and “Ten Are.” Or, iPhone Tennis and Tenner, if you’d prefer.

As a long-time Android writer, this takes me back to the early days of Android phones, when manufacturers gave devices the worst names possible. All sorts of mostly meaningless numbers and letters just thrown about, full device names in ALL CAPS…it really was the wild west of phone name.

Still, I don’t think anything will ever be worse than the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, so at least there’s that.



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