Apple released the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and then skipped straight to the iPhone X – so what exactly happened to iPhone 9?
Most of the time, Apple’s iPhones follow a linear progression. You have the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6, and so on.
But what happened to the iPhone 9?
Apple released the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in 2017, alongside the iPhone X – a completely redesigned iPhone.
This lead to the iPhone 8 range being almost completely overlooked, as Apple fans flocked to the fancy, newer looking design.
This represented one of the first instances of Apple releasing three phones within a year.
At the time, this was not common practice, so it was very much headline-making news, especially when people saw the iPhone X.
The iPhone X was a completely different phone than the iPhone 8, and all other iPhones that came before it.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X also launched at a very special time in Apple’s history too…
Why Apple Skipped The iPhone 9
In Korea, certain numbers are considered unlucky. The number 4, for instance, is particularly loathed because it sounds like the Chinese would for “death” – and that’s bad, obviously.
Still, Samsung – a Korean company – has released plenty of phones bearing the number 4; the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Note 4, and so on.
In China, it is much the same – the number 4 is considered evil. This is why we didn’t get a OnePlus 4; instead, OnePlus went straight to the OnePlus 5.
Sadly, Apple’s reasoning for ditching the iPhone 9 isn’t anywhere near as interesting. The reason Apple skipped the iPhone 9 and was because, in 2017, it was 10 years since the first iPhone launched in 2007.
Apple wanted to do something special to commemorate the date, it wanted to get 10 in there somehow, so it opted to use the roman numeral on its fancy, home button-less iPhone, the iPhone X.
Apple never official disclosed why it skipped the iPhone 9; I mean, the iPhone X could have just as easily been called the iPhone 9 – no one would have minded.
But it did, and the most logical reason is because in 2017 it was the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. This is literally the only explanation that makes sense.
The Dawn on A New Age For iPhone
But because the iPhone X represented such a stark change to how iPhone functioned and because it was the iPhone’s 10th birthday, Apple clearly figured something grander was in order.
And that, for the most part, is why we never got an iPhone 9 or iPhone 9 Plus. It has nothing to do with the evil connotations of numbers, superstition, nor Apple making a mistake when branding the phone.
It is purely because Apple wanted to do something special for the iPhone’s 10th birthday. And I think we can all agree that the iPhone X was a pretty special phone.
It was also the first smartphone to break the $1000 wall.
It was the first iPhone EVER to ship without a home button. It was the first iPhone to use an OLED display. And it was the first iPhone to feature Apple’s now-standard gesture-based UX.
It was also the first iPhone to feature Apple’s FACE ID too, and that too was a significant development as it prompted nearly every other phone maker on the planet to do the same.
The Roman Numeral Era (It Didn’t Last Long)
Apple’s S-Updates were pretty common back in the day. But Apple’s “roman numeral” era for iPhone didn’t last very long at all – we had the iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
After that, Apple switched back to solid numbers with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.
In 2021, Apple will release the iPhone 13, a number many people feel should be avoided in favor of a new name – iPhone 2021.
Apple also launched a “sub-brand” in 2020 with the iPhone SE. And we’re apparently getting more of these in 2022 – hopefully updated with 5G and based on the iPhone X’s design.
From here on out, though, Apple will almost certainly stick with numbers for its future iPhone releases, meaning the iPhone 14 will follow the iPhone 13, and the iPhone 15 thereafter – unless it brings back its S updates.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.