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(Pocket-lint) - The iPhone 11 was announced in 2019 and in 2020 there was the iPhone 12. But if you've come to this article, you're probably wondering - what happened to the iPhone 9 and/or iPhone 10? 

If you just want to cut to the chase, the iPhone SE (second generation) is the closest thing to an iPhone 9 we'll ever get. The iPhone X (which was actually pronounced as 'iPhone 10') is now completely discontinued.

What happened to the iPhone 10? 

Let's answer the iPhone 10 question first as it's easy. There actually WAS an iPhone 10 launched in late 2017, but it was known as the iPhone X. The 'X' was actually pronounced 10, not "iPhone EX" as most people would say. Nobody ever called it "iPhone 10" (unless they worked in a phone shop or Apple store and had to).

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Here it is pictured, but if you want to buy one you're out of luck as it has been completely discontinued. Its successor was the very similar iPhone XS which was then replaced by the iPhone 11 Pro and now the iPhone 12 Pro. However, the standard iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are also more powerful. 

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iPhone X or iPhone 10 was introduced alongside the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for a very good reason - 2017 was the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's original unveiling by Steve Jobs in January 2007.

What happened to the iPhone 9? 

As we mentioned, in 2017 Apple launched the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. If we're honest, they probably should have been called the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus as, while they introduced several new features such as wireless charging, they were essentially enhancements of the existing iPhone 7.

As we saw with 2018's iPhone XS, Apple usually uses the 'S' suffix to denote a refresh as opposed to a complete redesign.

And, as we said, Apple also launched the iPhone X or iPhone 10. Not only was that name to mark a decade since Apple's first iPhone, but it also represented a new start for iPhone, heralding a new design using Face ID and binning the Home button. 

The iPhone 8 has now been discontinued in favour of the iPhone SE (2020).

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This new handset is almost identical in terms of look to the iPhone 8 and has the same camera, but uses many internal components from the iPhone 11 and has almost the same camera software, too. 

The iPhone SE (2nd generation) is, if you like, the iPhone 9. 

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A final note; it's not that unusual for companies to miss out a sequential number in product names. Sometimes this is done because a number is considered to be unlucky in some countries.

But often it's for the same reason that Apple skipped 9 - because the company wants to signify a new beginning for a product, just as Microsoft did when it skipped Windows 9 and went straight to Windows 10 from Windows 8 (OK, from Windows 8.1 for the pedants out there). 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 12 September 2018.