Apple's iPhone numbering system has faced much scrutiny and criticism over the years for being somewhat confusing and indicative that some year's iPhone upgrades are bigger than others.
From a pure branding perspective, Apple desperately needs to reset the numbers game, otherwise they are at risk at fulfilling the parody sketches of an "iPhone 12 S".
By simply changing to the X scheme, Apple would differentiate this iPhone against previous upgrades, whilst also moving their branding toward a similar style of the car industry, which they have some interest in.
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