iPhone 10 or iPhone X – How Do You Actually Say It!?

Some people call it the iPhone 10, while others say iPhone X – but which is the correct pronunciation? Let’s settle this once and for all…

The iPhone X got a release date on November 3, 2017, and it changed the entire look and feel of Apple’s iPhone, removing the home button and TouchID. It also introduced FACE ID, IP67 waterproofing, and a new gesture-based navigation for interacting with iOS.

This was confusing enough for most, but when it came to the name of the device, things got even more confusing. Do you call it “iPhone ten” or “iPhone X” (as in the letter)?

How Do You Say “iPhone X” 

Most people – like 99.9% of people – call it the iPhone X (using the letter), but this is incorrect. The proper way to pronounce the name is “iPhone 10” and the reason is simple: the X is a Roman numeral, and it stands for the number 10, not the letter X.


The iPhone X was the handset that celebrated 10 years of iPhone; this is why Apple used the Roman numeral X for its branding. Subsequent releases like the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, therefore, are actually called the iPhone 10 R and iPhone 10 S.

Why Did Apple Use “X” Instead of “10” Then?

I don’t work at Apple nor do I know anyone that does. Plus, Apple never even bothers answering emails from journalists. But my best guess as to why Apple branded the iPhone X instead of iPhone 10 is because X looks better than the number 10 – both written down and on marketing materials. It takes up less room and, generally speaking, looks smarter.

As you can see below, the X makes the branding more punchy and eye-catching which is actually what you want from your branding:

  • iPhone 10 or iPhone X
  • iPhone 10S or iPhone XS
  • iPhone 10R or iPhone XR

The X-branded names look better, right? I think so, and so too does Apple apparently which is why the X brand name stayed around for two years before being replaced by the iPhone 11 range.

Apple Prefers Roman Numerals For The Number 10

Back when Apple’s Mac OS X came out, once again, we had a case of people referring to it as Mac OS X (using the letter X). This is perfectly understandable; nobody uses Roman numerals anymore. But, again, this was incorrect because the correct way to say it is “Mac OS Ten” – again, the X just looks better on marketing materials.

What happened to the iPhone 9 then? Well, the iPhone technically should have followed the iPhone 8. But seeing as 2017 was the ten year anniversary of the iPhone, Apple opted to switch things up for the big event, skipping iPhone 9 and moving straight to iPhone 10 (or iPhone X). This continuity could be set right (sort of) in 2020, however, with the release of the iPhone 9 which is said to be launching before the iPhone 12.

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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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