Apple just killed the iPhone 9. What now?

With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in the books, Apple might be prepping for change.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica led CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
James Martin/CNET

Hello, iPhone X . Goodbye, iPhone names as we know them.

When Apple announced the iPhone X (pronounced "ten," not "ex") with no home button, the electronics giant might have also subtly prepped us for a major sea change in how Apple phones are named.

Stick with me here.

Last year we got the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus . This year we should have seen the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, if Apple had followed the pattern it started since the iPhone 3GS back in 2009. On even years, a heftier upgrade; in odd years, a slighter upgrade followed by the suffix "S." If Apple had stuck to that plan, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus would have lit up the stage in 2018, not now in 2017.

The iPhone X shook it all up.

As Apple's special edition phone, it marks the 10th anniversary of the very first iPhone in 2007, and makes some bold design choices, like removing that home button and making your face the key to unlocking the phone. (The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus keep their home buttons, by the way.)

But what to name it? 

By calling it the iPhone X, Apple has fast-tracked us beyond the point of no return. The 8 and 8 Plus are already upon us; with an iPhone "10" in the mix, the iPhone 9 is already past due.

So what comes next? It's possible that Apple will adopt a totally new naming convention.

After all, the company's been naming  MacOS  after wildcats and California's natural landmarks for years, as with MacOS Mountain Lion and Yosemite. We could see Apple take a similar turn next year. (iPhone Sequoia, anyone?) Or, maybe more likely, Apple takes us down the iPad road and simply calls the next iPhones "iPhone" and "iPhone Plus." (Which we would immediately refer to as "iPhone 2018," etc.)

We have a year to speculate. Let the guessing games begin.