Posted by Ashleigh Allsopp 15 October 2014
Why I look forward to Apple media events (hint: It's not just about the products)
I always look forward to the day Apple's sends out invitations to its media events. One reason, of course, is because it confirms that Apple's been working on something new and that we haven't got long before we get to see the new products for ourselves, but the other reason is that I love trying to figure out what the design of Apple's invitation is trying to tell us.
Yes, I know it's super nerdy, and quite frankly a bit sad, but I just can't help myself! Apple is famous for its cryptic invitations, some more subtle than others, and I'm a sucker for a good riddle or puzzle. If you're not sure what I'm on about, here are a few of my favourite examples.
This invitation to an Apple keynote during Macworld Expo 2008 seems very obvious now that we know that the first MacBook Air was launched during the event, but before hand it was still a bit of a mystery, and Apple gave us a huge hint its tagline "There's something in the air."
Apple doesn't always rely on the tagline to give us a hint at what's coming. For the launch of the iPad 2 in 2011, the company used an image of a calendar that's peeling back to give a sneak peek at an iPad beneath it. It's convenient that the date of the iPad launch was 2 March, too.
In 2012, the iPhone 5 got lots of attention before it had even launched thanks to the busy Apple rumour mill, so Apple's "It's almost here" tagline with a huge number 5 shadow cast by the 12 (which stood for the 12 September date of the event) was a clear and simple clue.
Still, I liked it, and believe it or not the seemingly obvious nature of the invitation still sparked debate over what it could mean, with some people suggesting that Apple would launch a total of five new products during the event. In reality, there were four announcements: iPhone 5, new iPod touch, new iPod nano and new iTunes.
I think this one's my favourite. Yep, you've guessed it, this was the invite Apple sent out in October 2012 to invite the media to the event that saw the release of the first iPad mini. Again, it seems obvious to us now that Apple's choice of the word "little" in the tagline was no coincidence, but at the time it was great fun analysing the invitation and what it means.
In September of 2013 came the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C launch event, which used another play on words but also some visual clues about the announcements Apple would be making. The word "brighten" in the tagline was a hint about the colourful backs of the iPhone 5C and perhaps the new, gold iPhone 5S, as were the multi-coloured circles. We think the white circles with grey outlines were a hint at the iPhone 5S's TouchID fingerprint sensor, which looks very similar to those shapes.
A year later, in September 2014, Apple released the invitation for its iPhone 6 event. The shadow reminds me of a sun dial, which we think was a hint at the Apple Watch that the company showed off during the keynote, and it's possible that the two 9s were a hint at the two iPhone 6 models, because if you flip the invite upside down it looks like two number sixes.
As for the latest invite, this one for Apple's 16 October iPad event, the tagline was an interesting one that had us puzzled. We thought it was a hint at a long-awaited update to the Mac mini, which did happen but certainly wasn't a focus of Apple's during the event. Sadly, there was no Apple TV update as hoped, but we did see a Retina iMac and an update to the iPad Air and iPad mini, as well as the roll out of Yosemite.
I hope that Apple continues with its cryptic invite tradition. Sometimes, the anticipation of an event and the decoding of the invitation design can be more exciting than the event itself, particularly for those of us frantically typing up the news as it happens. Plus, it reminds me how brilliantly fun Apple can be.