iPhone 9 or iPhone SE? One name just appeared on a mobile carrier's website

iPhone SE
The iPhone SE from 2016 (Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 9 has been reportedly seen on a Verizon website, adding more fuel to rumors that the affordable Apple handset’s release date is imminent.

The ‘iPhone 9’ was mentioned in a list of phones that Verizon accepts for trade-in value, alongside leading flagships like the iPhone 11 series, Samsung Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note 10 series, and Pixel 4 phones. 

This could have been a case of Verizon jumping the gun - and the iPhone 9 has now been removed from the list - but you can see the mention for yourself in a snapshot tweeted by FrontPageTech’s Jon Prosser:

The now-deleted reference to the iPhone 9 was apparently in an ad in the My Verizon mobile app. From its main screen, tap the ad to ‘Get up to $550 off the latest iPhone’ and then tap ‘Offer details’ to bring up a paragraph identical to the text above... but minus 'iPhone 9'.

Some replies to Prosser’s original tweet question its authenticity, but it doesn’t appear that the iPhone 9 text was photoshopped in. And while we were initially skeptical that the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones were left out, checking out trade-in details for any Verizon phone listing (click or tap ‘See the details’ near the $550 off text for this iPhone XS Max listing, for instance) shows the same list of eligible phones.

Thus, it’s plausible that Verizon yanked the mention after enterprising leakers found the iPhone 9 mention. Or it could be very elaborate fakery by someone eager to see ‘iPhone 9’ trend higher than ‘iPhone SE 2,’ which had been the leading name for the affordable Apple handset until recently.

What’s in a name?

Apple has been long-rumored to be developing a follow-up to the popular iPhone SE, which was both affordable and physically small, suiting small wallets and small hands.

Rumors started swirling that Apple was working on an iPhone SE 2 back in 2018, but we haven’t heard anything concrete about a release date since then. Recently, that naming convention has been called into question, with the iPhone 9 and even iPhone SE (2020) in the running for potential names. 

While previous release dates have come and gone, the most recent rumor suggests a potential unveiling on April 15 with the phones available to buy on April 22. We’ll wait to see whether that date ends up being the one that, at long last, brings a cheaper iPhone to the world.

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David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.