Apple is widely expected to release a smaller 4-inch iPhone as early as next month. It is believed that the handset, often dubbed the iPhone 5se, will essentially be a clone of the iPhone 5s Apple released in 2013 but with modern (faster) internal hardware.

Sources reportedly familiar with the matter are now telling 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman that Apple has decided to drop the "5" from the handset's name and focus on the special edition moniker, thus calling the device the iPhone SE.

If true, it would be the first iPhone since the original to arrive without a number in its name.

From a marketing standpoint, it actually makes a lot of sense for Apple to ditch the digit with this phone. Launching a "new" iPhone followed by the number five when the latest models carry the "6" suffix implies that it's a technological step backwards (which is technically somewhat true). Those in tech circles would likely know better but the average consumer that doesn't lust over hardware like the rest of us would almost certainly be left scratching their heads.

The new iPhone SE is expected to replace the existing 5s in Apple's lineup and assume the same price point. The handset will probably be powered by Apple's A9 SoC alongside an M9 chip and feature an 8-megapixel rear camera, NFC for Apple Pay, Live Photo capabilities and the company's latest Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular hardware.