BlackBerry skipped 9 and gave us BB10. Windows and Windows Mobile skipped 9 and went from Windows 8 to 10. Apple has skipped 9 too and given us iPhone 8 and iPhone X (the “X” is for 10). There is a simple reason why mobile phone brands are skipping the number 9. There is a reason why there is no BB9, Windows 9, Windows Mobile 9, and iPhone 9. Come with me for the details.
Marketing and Perception
If you want to sell products across multiple cultures, the rule of the game is to understand those cultures and their superstitions. This is the 21st century, but human nature is still essentially the same. For example, even in many places in the West, the number 13 is considered a number for bad luck. Remember “Friday the 13th”? Aha.
Also, in countries like Korea, China and Japan, the number 4 is a synonym for the word “death”. As such, brands active in those countries tend to avoid it. Who wants to buy death?! I remember Nokia avoiding that number in phones they shipped to that region.
Don’t forget it. If you want to sell products (consumer products especially) across multiple cultures, the rule of the game is to understand those cultures and their superstitions. Sometimes, brands take a chance and go ahead to push a product associated with an unlucky/negative number anyway. Sometimes, that is part of the game. But with the consumer public, perception is a factor. A strong factor.
The Number 9 and iPhone 9
So, what’s up with the number 9? It is a synonym for suffering, agony or torture in Japanese. That’s what.
The iPhone pretty much owns the Japanese smartphone market with over 50% market share there. It makes sense for Apple to avoid numbers that can mess up product perception. In marketing after all, perception is everything.
Now you know why there is no iPhone 9. Apple jumped and passed that nasty word in Japan. Or they just thought it would be cool to skip 9.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.