Apple has always pronounced 'X' as 'ten' -- so get ready for the iPhone X

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Michel Porro/ Getty Images.

Thanks to a blockbuster leak, we now know the name of the redesigned iPhone Apple will reveal on Tuesday.

Apple’s new high-end iPhone will be called iPhone X, barring any last-minute changes.

That leaves one question: How will Apple pronounce “iPhone X?” 

Is the “X” actually the Roman number 10, or is it just the letter “X,” one of the coolest letters and a word that’s frequently used in product names like Microsoft’s Xbox One X or Motorola’s MotoX?

There are some reasons why Apple might pronounce it “ecks.” It’s an easy-to-pronounce symbol recognised around the world, and Apple sells a pair of headphones called BeatsX — and those aren’t called “Beats 10.”

But there are even more reasons why Apple may call its new flagship phone the “iPhone 10.” It’s the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone, which was launched in 2007. 

Plus, there’s also a long history of Apple using “X” to fill in for 10.

For over 15 years, Apple’s main piece of software for Mac computers was called OS X, which was pronounced like “oh ess ten” by Apple, including late CEO Steve Jobs. Not only was it the 10th version of Apple’s Mac operating system, but the X was also a nod to NeXT, the company that Jobs founded before it was bought by Apple and he returned as CEO. 

Watch Jobs introduce OS X in 2000. He says the name about 10 seconds in: 

Other Apple executives faithfully called the software “oh ess 10” in public as recently as 2016, and to this day, Apple voice software installed on the Mac will pronounce OS X as OS 10. (Apple changed the name of OS X to “macOS” in 2016.)

Of course, lots of Mac users never knew that saying “X” was not official Apple style, including your author, who said “X” for years until he was corrected by an Apple employee. 

So here’s one possible pronunciation outcome for the iPhone X: Apple will call it the iPhone 10, and the world will simply say the name the way it reads. 

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