By John Gruber
Work at Atoms. Make the best shoes ever.
Assuming today’s new high-end iPhone really is going to be called “iPhone X”, there’s one big question we don’t know the answer to yet: is the “X” an “ex” or a “ten”?
I thought they were going to call it iPhone Pro, so take my guess accordingly, but I say it’s an “ex”, not a “ten”. Here’s why:
If it’s a “ten”, many — maybe most — people could call it “ex” anyway. No company knows this better than Apple. I think more people called Mac OS X “oh ess ex” than “oh ess ten”. People see an “X” and they say “ex”.
If it’s a “ten”, that makes the iPhones 8 it is debuting alongside look instantly out of date. In fact, 10 vs. 8 would make it look like they’re two generations behind. Apple’s goal should be to make all three new iPhones look new, exciting, and desirable.
If it’s a “ten”, that strongly suggests it’s a one-off exception in the product line. What would they call next year’s successor? Calling it “iPhone Ten” only makes sense if this is a one-time product, and making a one-time product makes no sense to me. If it’s “iPhone Ex”, on the other hand, Apple could easily call future models iPhone X2, X3, etc. That sounds pretty cool.
If it’s a “ten”, in addition to the problem of naming next year’s successor to the iPhone X, there’s also the question of what they would call the 2019 regular iPhones. It’s certainly possible, if not inevitable, that Apple will eventually stop numbering iPhones, but if the X is a “ten”, that would rule out there ever being an “iPhone 10”.
Racer X was cool as shit.
Yes, I know, it’s the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone, and Apple is going to celebrate that in several ways in today’s event. So X as “ten” would clearly be in reference to that. But even if they pronounce it “ex”, the X-as-10 thing is still there as an implicit reference.
Roman numerals are fucking stupid.