Cases for the ‘iPhone 9’ Begin Arriving at Best Buy

iPhone 9 UAG case Credit: MacRumors
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We’ve been expecting the so-called “iPhone 9” — Apple’s spiritual successor to the 2016 iPhone SE — to land any day now, with rumours earlier this year predicting a launch in March, and although March is all but over, it does seem that the new iPhone model remains just around the corner as retailers begin stocking accessories for it.

In fact, some carriers really jumped the gun back in February, starting pre-orders for the “iPhone 9” long before there was any solid evidence of when it would be arriving, and of course while the novel coronavirus pandemic has thrown the world into chaos — and Apple’s supply chain with it — reports had suggested that things in China have recovered enough to keep the new iPhone on track.

While we already know that some companies have been making cases for the new iPhone, that news wasn’t especially surprising, since it’s to their benefit to get ahead of the curve and have the cases ready for launch day. To that end, however, it looks like big box retailers are actually now beginning to stock these cases, with 9to5Mac reporting that Best Buy has actually received stock from at least some well-known case makers with instructions to not to inventory them until Sunday, April 5.

One example shared by 9to5Mac is an Urban Armor Gear case that’s labelled for the “New iPhone 4.7-inch, 2020” which is a common naming convention that’s been used by case makers since the iPhone 8 and iPhone X kind of threw Apple’s whole naming standard into chaos.

What’s in a Name?

You see, we actually still don’t know what this new low-cost iPhone is going to be called. Since it’s going to follow the design of the iPhone 8 very closely — in fact, it’s rumoured to be identical save for a new A13 CPU and the elimination of 3D Touch — our money is on “iPhone 9” but other reports have suggested it could be the “iPhone SE 2” since it follows the pattern the 2016 iPhone SE established of taking an older model and simply upgrading the internal specs. The original 2016 iPhone SE was an upgraded 2013 iPhone 5s, and this new 2020 iPhone will be an upgraded 2017 iPhone 8.

So while some case makers have been betting on one name or the other, many of the more established ones are avoiding the controversy altogether by simply describing the year and size of the iPhone, which is arguably all that they need to do right now. We saw the same behaviour back in 2017, when we received a mixture of pre-release samples of cases with labels that includes “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” as well as “New iPhone 4.7-inch, 2017” and “New iPhone 5.5-inch, 2017” (it’s worth mentioning that nobody actually guessed “iPhone 8” back then).

A Clue to the iPhone Release Date?

Despite Best Buy and other retailers holding these cases back from their inventory systems until April 5, it seems very unlikely that this is the specific release date for the new iPhone, since it’s a Sunday. Naturally retailers don’t want these cases to appear in their inventory or be available for purchase before Apple’s official announcement, but if they have inside information from Apple — and that’s a big “if” — it could suggest that the new “iPhone 9” is expected to arrive either later this week, or very early next week.

Since Apple can’t hold any kind of event for the new device, any announcement will be made via press release on Apple’s website, and the new iPhone would probably be available for customers to order on the very same day. With Apple Stores around most of the world still closed down, Apple doesn’t have to worry about stocking its stores right now, making any lead times or delays for new cases less of an issue right now.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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