In 2017, Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X but omitted the iPhone 9. In the following years, no iPhone 9 appeared. Why didn’t Apple release the iPhone 9? Let’s find out why.
Leap to iPhone X
During its September 2017 iPhone event, Apple announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are major upgrades over the previous configurations of the iPhone 6 and 7. In particular, these iPhones come with a Home button. like all iPhones released before that.
At the end of the presentation, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced “one more thing” and launched the iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”), marking an impressive new direction for the iPhone line. The iPhone X with an edge-to-edge screen without a home button, an OLED display, an improved camera, and Face ID debuted among other features.
During the presentation, Cook highlighted the huge technological leap ahead of the iPhone 8, saying that the iPhone X is “the biggest step forward since the original iPhone.” He also mentioned the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone launch in 2007: “The first iPhone revolutionized a decade of technology and changed the world in the process. Now, ten years later, it is fitting that we are here, on this day, to unveil a product that will drive technology for the next decade. ”
The press often interprets this saying to mean the name “iPhone X” (with “X” being the Roman numeral for “10”), as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the iPhone (in line with previous rumors). announced), but Apple never specifically said that. In fact, the technology for the iPhone X has been in development for two years, and the iPhone’s 10th anniversary is a “great coincidence.”
Aside from the anniversaries discussion, there are some obvious marketing reasons to get ahead of the iPhone 9. The iPhone X introduced a new premium lineup alongside the much higher-priced iPhone 8 and 8 Plus ( $999 base price versus $699 for iPhone 8). If Apple released “iPhone 8” and “iPhone 9” at the same time, would it be confusing – because it instantly renders the iPhone 8 obsolete?
What about the iPhone 9?
Apple could easily go back next year and release the iPhone 9 as a successor to the iPhone 8. But the company hasn’t done so. Instead, Apple ditched the iPhone X and released the iPhone XR as a slightly lower-spec flagship phone (after the iPhone 8) and the iPhone XS as a premium flagship phone (completely replacing the iPhone X.) Neither of these names necessarily mean anything but have been considered by Apple’s Phil Schiller to be related to sports cars. Instead of introducing the iPhone 9, Apple continued to sell the iPhone 8 for several years and discontinued production in 2020.
In that sense, the second generation iPhone SE (launched in April 2020) launched shortly after Apple dropped the iPhone 8 can be seen as the spirit of the “iPhone 9”. It retains the iPhone 8’s form factor, including the legacy Home button with Touch ID.
People have speculated about Apple avoiding the number 9 for superstitious reasons (similar to the Windows 9 rumor) or using the “X” as a marketing ploy to encourage upgrades, but both theories are all speculations. In the end, a name like “iPhone 9” was just a marketing term and Apple never saw a need for it, so it was born.