When weighing up the branding options for this year's new iPhone launch, Apple may wish to take old-fashioned superstition into account and steer clear of unlucky number 13.
A new survey conducted by the trade-in site SellCell found that almost one in five respondents (18.3%) would refuse to buy a new phone from Apple if it carried the name "iPhone 13" simply because they consider 13 to be an unlucky number. And while they may not be triskaidekaphobic themselves, an astonishing 74% think Apple should choose a different name.
The male section of the tech-buying public seem to be more than twice as superstitious as the female one: 24.9% of men would decline to buy because of the "13" name, while only 11.7% of women feel the same.
There are three main alternatives, if Apple indeed decides not to go with the iPhone 13 branding.
The one that's received the most attention in this rumour cycle is "iPhone 12s", which some sources have already predicted will be the chosen monicker. Alternating between full-version and S-branded updates is an established Apple tradition, going back as far as the iPhone 3GS and extending to as recently as the iPhone XS, but it carries the risk of implying to prospective customers that the new device isn't a major improvement on the year before. Just 13% of survey respondents said that iPhone 12s was their favourite name.
An alternative solution, and the one that proved most popular in the survey with 38% approval, is to call the new model the "iPhone (2021)". This could lead to lower sales after the turn of the year, when it will immediately sound outdated; but Apple has got around this with its Macs and iPads by simply downplaying the year part of the branding. In effect, the new device could be branded as "iPhone", with the year only used sporadically for differentiation.
Finally, Apple could ignore the rules of strict maths and leap forward to a higher number. "iPhone 14" - which 7% of respondents supported - is a somewhat realistic option, with the precedent of a double jump set by the iPhone X, which is pronounced "iPhone Ten" and came one year after the iPhone 8. "iPhone 21", which proved inexplicably popular with 16% of survey votes and very much falls under the "technically correct" school of numbering, is rather less so.
Finally, however, let's remember that Apple sells to a global market, and that the number 13 is only considered unlucky (and the number 7 lucky) in certain parts of it. In Japan, for instance, the number 9 is considered unlucky because it can sound like the word for agony; in China the number 4 is avoided because it sounds like the word for death. Apple will need to take many factors into account when picking the name for its next phone, and will probably be criticised no matter what it goes for.
This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation and additional reporting by David Price.