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Why did Apple skip the iPhone 9?

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  • 3 min read

In the sequence of iPhone releases, one noticeable gap catches the eye: the absence of an iPhone 9. When people anticipated a follow-up to the iPhone 8 in 2017, Apple surprised everyone by skipping straight to the iPhone X. This decision left fans and tech enthusiasts puzzled, wondering why Apple broke away from the expected numerical order.

Wondering why Apple skipped iPhone 9? This article discusses the possible reasons why Apple skipped the iPhone 9.

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Celebrating a decade with an “X”

Apple aimed to make a strong statement with the iPhone’s 10th anniversary around the corner in 2017.

Releasing a standard iPhone 9 wouldn’t have been appropriate for such a significant milestone. Instead, the company opted for a high-end flagship device with an innovative design and features. The iPhone X, featuring an edge-to-edge display (with the notch), facial recognition, and a powerful A11 Bionic chip, marked a substantial leap forward, providing a valid reason for breaking away from the usual numerical sequence.


Avoiding customer confusion

Releasing the iPhone 9 and iPhone X simultaneously might have confused consumers. Managing two models with consecutive numbers could have made it difficult for people unfamiliar with Apple’s product lineup to tell them apart. By skipping a number, Apple made distinguishing the anniversary edition from its more standard offerings easier.

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Marketing and brand image

Numbers can carry strong meanings in marketing, and Apple excels at leveraging this to its advantage. The “X” in iPhone X evoked excitement, mystery, and exclusivity, enhancing the perceived value of the device compared to a numbered sequel. It signalled a new iPhone era, aligning with Apple’s commitment to pushing boundaries and constantly innovating.


Simplifying the product lineup

Apple has consistently shown strategic thinking in providing iPhone models that suit different budget ranges and user preferences. The decision to skip the iPhone 9 played a role in simplifying their lineup, avoiding potential confusion with existing models such as the budget-friendly iPhone SE and the iPhone 8. This simplified approach made it more straightforward for consumers to select the iPhone that best suited their requirements.

Although the exact reason for Apple’s leap remains somewhat mysterious, these factors explain why the iPhone 9 never materialised. Whether celebrating a decade of innovation, steering clear of confusion, or shaping brand perception, Apple’s decision ultimately served a strategic purpose.

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Akash Singh

Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here: singhakash95@pm.me

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