iPhone 9: Here’s Every Reason It Never Launched (and What Happened Instead)

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iPhone 9: Here’s Every Reason It Never Launched (and What Happened Instead)

Key Points:

  • The product releases of the iPhone iterations have been very predictable, except for the iPhone 9.
  • Apple felt there were some major changes leaving the 8 model and moving to ten might help sell that to the public and increase sales.
  • The iPhone 9 would have been released on the tenth year of the iPhone’s production, so that seemed to be a little inconsistent.

It is almost impossible to talk about technology without mentioning Apple. This tech giant is well-known for its continuous innovations and top-notch products.

However, Apple broke the sequence in 2017 and shocked many expecting the model iPhone 9 but got iPhone X instead. This was confusing, especially since Apple had followed a predictable sequence in naming its products since it released iPhone 4. As if that is not enough, Apple did not give a reason to explain why they jumped from iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus directly to iPhone X.

Nevertheless, some speculations explain why Apple doesn’t have the iPhone 9. What are these reasons, and what happened instead? Continue reading to decode this mystery!

Apple IOS

The history of the iPhone has been predictable until the iPhone 9 was skipped.

History of the iPhone Series

The history of the iPhone series dates back to 2007 when the first iPhone was released. At this time, it was called iPhone 2G to specify the 2G connection. The next edition was in 2008 when they had iPhone 3G, which signified the 3G network connectivity. In 2009, there was the iPhone 3GS, where S meant speed.

In 2010, there was the iPhone 4, and one year later, iPhone 4S. By then, it was clear that the change in number meant aesthetic improvement, and S was a sign of refinement and internal upgrades. This continued for a while, and there was the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S in 2012. However, in the same year, there was the iPhone 5C, with C meaning color. This meant that the iPhone was now available in different colors.

In 2014, they released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In 2015, there were the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Next was the SE model, which meant special edition. This was released in 2016 and there was a special edition for iPhone 5. In 2016, they also released the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but there was no 7S.

These editions were followed by iPhone 8 in 2017 and iPhone 8 Plus the same year. After the iPhone 8 Plus, they jumped to the iPhone X, where X is a roman numeral signifying 10. This got them back to using S, where they released the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR in 2018.

In 2019, they went back to the use of numerical and released the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max. There was an SE edition in 2020, which was at a lower cost than other models released at that time. This was followed by the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone Pro Max in 2020.

In 2021, they launched the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The History of iPhones: Table

iPhone NameYear of Production
iPhone 2G2007
iPhone 3G2008
iPhone 3GS2009
iPhone 42010
iPhone 4S2011
iPhone 52012
iPhone 5C2013
iPhone 5S2013
iPhone 62014
iPhone 6Plus2014
iPhone 6S2015
iPhone 6S Plus2015
iPhone SE2016
iPhone 72016
iPhone 7 Plus2016
iPhone 82017
iPhone 8 Plus2017
iPhone X2017
iPhone XR2018
iPhone XS2018
iPhone XS Max2019
iPhone 112019
iPhone 11 Pro2019
iPhone 11 Pro Max2019
iPhone SE2020
iPhone 12 Mini2020
iPhone 12 Pro2020
iPhone Pro Max2020
iPhone 13 Mini2021
iPhone 132021
iPhone 13 Pro2021
iPhone 13 Pro Max2021
iPhone X
While consumers were awaiting the iPhone 9, it was never released; instead, we got the iPhone X.

Was the iPhone 9 Launched?

It is safe to say that Apple skipped the iPhone 9. The iPhone 9 was neither released nor launched. After producing the iPhone 8 Plus in 2017, they went directly to the iPhone X (or the iPhone 10). After the iPhone X, they moved to the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and even the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. This showed that there was no hope of ever launching the iPhone 9.

Why Was the iPhone 9 Never Launched?

Although Apple didn’t give a reason why it skipped the iPhone 9, there are several possible reasons, including:

It Was Their 10th Birthday

Apple released its first iPhone in 2007 and celebrated its 10th birthday in 2017. This was also the year that the iPhone 9 would be released. For this reason, they felt it made little sense to celebrate their 10th anniversary by releasing the iPhone 9.

To help mark the anniversary, they skipped nine and named the model the iPhone X, where X is the roman numeral, 10. According to them, releasing the iPhone 9 on its 10th anniversary would cause more confusion than skipping iPhone 9.

There Were Significant Changes in the Next Model After the iPhone 8 Plus

Initially, there were no major changes from one iPhone model to the next. However, iPhone X had major upgrades from iPhone 8 Plus. For instance, it looked different from the iPhone 8 Plus because it didn’t have a touch ID sensor but instead used Face ID. Additionally, they reduced the screen bezel, and the screen filled almost the whole front side of the iPhone X.

Moreover, the price of the iPhone X sky-rocketed, and it was the first phone to exceed the $1,000 mark. To help show the customers that this was not just another iPhone upgrade, Apple had to skip the number. It also helped massage the high price into the customers’ minds and prove that it was worth the high price.

For Better Marketing

Apple is more interested in making a product more appealing to its customers than keeping up with a sequential naming system. Given the significant increase in the phone price, they needed a more appealing name for their customers.

If the iPhone X were called the iPhone 9, it would not have created the impression that they wanted it to create on their customers. This is because, in the customers’ minds, the iPhone 9 would just be newer than the iPhone 8, and the high price would not make sense.

However, the iPhone X’s marketing gimmick was that this is not just a newer version, but one with more exciting features. This helped the iPhone X attract a lot of sales.


Although Apple is not superstitious, when marketing, they need to consider their superstitious customers. The number 9 has negative meanings, especially in Asian and Japanese languages. In Chinese, its translation means literal curse, and in Japanese, it means agony and torture.

With a large number of their target audience being from these countries where the number 9 is unwelcome, Apple likely considered skipping the number.

On the other hand, the letter X means crossing-over, transmigration, or transformation in the human mind. So, what other letter was better than X to signify a major change in this iPhone model?

iPhone 13 in starlight

The iPhone 13 (pictured in Starlight) is powerful phone with many great features.

What Was Released Instead of the iPhone 9?

When Apple skipped the iPhone 9, they moved directly to the iPhone X. There were speculations that the iPhone SE released in 2020 was the iPhone 9 since it looked like an upgraded version of the iPhone 8.

However, Apple stated that there would be no iPhone 9. The iPhone SE model released in 2020 was a budget model since it cost less than most models released that year.

Additionally, it would not have made sense to release iPhone 9 in 2020 after releasing iPhone 11 in 2019. This would have been poor marketing since, in the customers’ minds, the model would already be three years old.

What Happened to the iPhone X?

Apple skipped the iPhone 9 and released the iPhone X, one of their best innovations. For this reason, it shocked many people when Apple canceled the iPhone X less than a year after its launch. However, there were reasons why Apple discontinued the iPhone X.

The iPhone X was one of the best models that Apple had released since they began the iPhone series. For this reason, when the next model iPhone XR was released, it was tricky to discount the iPhone X by $100, as was the usual trend when a new model was released.

If they discounted the iPhone X and sold the iPhone XR at $100 more and the two models had almost similar features, it would have meant poor sales for the iPhone XR. After all, why would one buy an iPhone XR when one could get the same features with the iPhone X for $100 less?

Therefore, they saw that the most logical decision was to discontinue the iPhone X, even if it was one of the best iPhone inventions.

Is This the First Time Apple Skipped a Number?

If you are still bummed that Apple skipped the number 9, you will be surprised to know that this is not the first time they skipped a number. Apple did not release an iPhone 2 but instead called it the iPhone 3G. This was in line with the 3G network, which was a hot topic at the time. 

Therefore, naming the phone 3G instead of iPhone 2 made the phone sound more modern, thus having better marketing.

Do You Support Apple’s Reasons for Skipping the iPhone 9 and Launching the iPhone X?

After the iPhone 8 Plus release, iPhone fans expected the release of the iPhone X instead. They did this to commemorate their 10th anniversary, to show a significant change in the new model, and for better marketing. 

Nevertheless, the iPhone X was such a great model that it helped fans make peace with the tech giant for skipping the iPhone 9. Although the iPhone X was later discontinued, it remains one of the best innovations from Apple.

Up Next…

We have plenty more articles about the iPhone right here for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will there ever be an iPhone 9?

There will never be an iPhone 9. After iPhone X, Apple released the iPhone 11, 12, and 13. This sequence proves that Apple can’t go back to number 9.

Is there an iPhone 10?

The iPhone 10 was released in 2017 and it was written as the iPhone X but pronounced as iPhone 10. Apple discontinued the model several months later for cost reasons.

Why did Apple skip the iPhone 2 and 9?

Apple skipped the iPhone 2 and produced iPhone 3G to be in line with the 3G network that was upcoming. They skipped the iPhone 9 since it was their 10th anniversary, and it made more sense to release the iPhone X then. Skipping the two numbers helped them with their marketing.

Which iPhones have been discontinued?

iPhones that Apple has discontinued include the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Is it pronounced as iPhone 10 or iPhone X?

The model after iPhone 8 Plus is pronounced iPhone 10. The X in iPhone X is the number 10 written in roman numbers. Although many people may pronounce this model ‘iPhone EX’, the inventors expected it to be pronounced as ‘iPhone 10’.

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