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iPhone 9 may launch this week as cases hit retailers (Update)

(Image credit: @OnLeaks/iGeeksBlog)

The iPhone 9 might be revealed to the world this week, based on the shipment of compatible cases for the phone to a U.S. retailer. Some predicted that the launch could happen as soon as today, March 31, but now it looks as though the device could launch anytime between April 1 and April 5.

The source is a leaker speaking to 9to5Mac, who sent in a photo (shown below) of an Urban Armor case designed for "New iPhone 4.7", 2020", sent to Best Buy. Since rumors have said the iPhone 9 will be based on the iPhone 8, which has a 4.7-inch display, we can safely assume that this is the phone this description refers to. 

The vague name is likely due to the uncertainty around what Apple will call its new budget handset, with rumors oscillating between iPhone 9 and the iPhone SE 2. The low-cost iPhone SE is this new phone's predecessor, which had a 4-inch display.

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

We were expecting the iPhone 9 to debut in March, but that was before the coronavirus pandemic hit and threw the world into disarray. Previous rumors have said that Apple wasn't going to miss its deadline since it had already begun mass production, but getting those handsets from the Asian production facilities and around the world is a big ask at this moment in time.

However, the fact that case manufacturers feel confident enough to ship their accompanying products is an interesting sign. Urban Armor and other case makers are unlikely to let their stock languish in a retailer's warehouse for ages just in case Apple makes a move.

9to5Mac's source claims that the stores can't sell the cases until April 5, but since that's a Sunday, it might be assumed that the iPhone 9 will be revealed this week.

Since one rumor had pointed to a March 31 reveal and April 3 sale date, that could mean we hear about the iPhone 9 today. This isn't the most reliable rumor we've seen, but it might end up being more accurate than we expected.

Whenever we do see the iPhone 9 make an appearance, expect to see a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version, running on Apple's latest A13 Bionic CPU, with a single rear camera, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor (potentially mounted on the side of the phone) and a starting price of around $400.