NSFW: The September Apple Event, Kremlinology and blind luck

NSFW: The September Apple Event, Kremlinology and blind luck

NSFW is a weekly op-ed column in which I talk about whatever's on my mind. Sometimes it'll have something to do with the technology we cover here on iMore; sometimes it'll be whatever pops into my head. Your questions, comments and observations are welcome.

Apple sent out invitations to journalists to attend a special event in September, ostensibly where the company will announce the iPhone 6. The second the first image of the invite hit the Internet, the Kremlinologists jumped into action to dissect it, trying to attach meaning to whatever they could. And that's about when my head hit the desk in frustration.

For the uninitiated, Kremlinology is a term that harkens back to the Cold War, the Soviet Union was largely closed off from the west. Intelligence analysts in the west had little choice but to examine the smallest minutae to learn what was happening inside the walls of the Kremlin — looking at photos of high-ranking officials at parades and gleaning information from their seating arrangements, examing words and phrases and even the arrangement of articles in Pravda, and so on.

Today Kremlinology has taken on a new meaning. Apple is secretive with new product introductions, and it loves to surprise the public (and the press, which it knows will be watching and reporting) with new product announcements. And who can blame it? Mainstream and tech publication media coverage is worth a lot, even to as high profile a consumer electronics company as Apple.

So as soon as invitations to Apple events go out — whether it's WWDC or a special event like this upcoming one — people take it upon themselves to examine every pixel, every placement of an image, every word, every letter, every number and every nuance, and try to derive meaning from it.

So far I've read some whoppers. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The date is 9.9.2014. And 9.9 upside down is two sixes. Therefore there will be two iPhone 6 models.
  • The curve of the Apple logo in the background represents a sine wave, and has something to do with health tracking.
  • "Wish we could say more" has something to do with voice recognition and tracking.
  • The logo casts a shadow, which means a sundial, which is like a watch, so iWatch.

It goes on and on and on.

It's foolish. And it's annoying. And I wish you would all stop doing it. I'm laughing at you. And what's more, the graphic designers and marketing folks responsible for making this stuff at Apple are laughing at you. Because it's ridiculous. It's like reading tea leaves. It's total hokum.

To be sure, information finds a way out of Cupertino when Apple wants it to. I'm sure it's no coincidence that only a day before Apple's September event went "official," Re/code's John Paczkowski reported that Apple will introduce a wearable at the event. Paczkowski was also the source for the news that September 9th was the day for the iPhone 6 event; he reported that in early August.

Though in fairness to our own Rene Ritchie, he predicted that Apple would "announce the iPhone 6 on or around September 9 or 10, 2014" back in January, so anyone who's been paying attention to what iMore has been saying shouldn't have been surprised, at all. But Rene was using his finely honed deductive skills to figure that out, not an inside source at Apple.

People are wired to try to find patterns in noise. Ask anyone who's lost a bundle at Keno or the state numbers lottery thinking they could predict what numbers were going to come up next. Or anyone who's seen a face in the wood grain of a tabletop. Or in a more extreme case, ask any schizophrenic patient who begins to experience an onset of delusional thinking, mistaking the experience as some sort of revelation.

So go ahead. Have your fun if you must. But let me tell you this: If you do happen to guess — and I emphasize guess — any details about what Apple announces on September 9th, you've done it using blind, stupid luck. Not any advanced deductive skills.

We all love to attach meaning to things. But to paraphrase the apocryphal story about Sigmund Freud and his love for cigars, sometimes an Apple invitation is just an Apple invitation.

OK, now that I've thoroughly admonished you, if you've got a whopper, don't let me stop you – I want to hear the absolutely most ridiculous ideas you have based on the invitation. Lay 'em on me. But remember the first rule of satire: It has to have at least a grain of plausibility. (If you need a reminder, you can view the unaltered invitation image here.)

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

NSFW: The September Apple Event, Kremlinology and blind luck

23 Comments

Oh, I don't know: it's seems plausible that the use of the word "more" is a reference to Steve Jobs and his famous "one more thing" line--but just as something fun, not necessarily indicating a new product line.

By that logic, they don't have a "one more thing" this time either, which has been the case for all of the presentations since Jobs' death.

They're going to compete against gillette with leaf-shaped razor blades made from recycled Apple equipment. See how that leaf can nicely shave the contours of that apple? And imagine the ergonomics of handling that leaf shape.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Wow. To say people saying this stuff is stupid than you shouldn't be writing for this site. Apple has provenly always done this stuff with their invites and releases! They like having fun with tech fans. They like the creativity. They like to KEEP PEOPLE GUESSING! Which is exactly what this does. If you really hate Apple so much just stop writing on a damn Apple focused website then too! Hah.

There's missing the point, then there's this.

This is like getting in a plane,
flying over the point, crashlanding in North Korea, sitting in prison for ten years, getting rescued by British SAS, then claiming you're a time traveler from 2290 and can't understand satire.

Come to think of it, the last part seems quite true.

The "9.9.2014" is an international nod. Here in the USA we put month-day-year and in many other parts of the world they put day-month-year. Because the month and day are the same number they can put it this way without confusion. We could read into this simplicity and elegance, I guess.

The sine wave is more traditionally related to music, not health. And if you want to get literal that is a cosine wave. Cosine. Cosign. Beats. A partnership. That could also go to their continued push to diversity. We're all in this together. It is so easy to take this rorschach test!

The white on white theme so obviously implies flatness of theme. But where then is the translucency?

The two upside-down sixes is funny.

I've looked at invites after keynotes and have not been able to make any real sense of them, even after the fact. This one is particularly easy to project meaning onto. I have generally quit reading articles on leaks because even when they are right they ruin the surprise. Patience adds to the delight and surprise.

What's foolish Mr Cohen, is you trying to put people down for their opinion, by using your own entitled opinion.
This has been the trend for years and guess who started it all : APPLE.

^^^
Agreed 100%.

Peter you have really been coming across like a know it all as of late.
You "laugh at people" for having a bit of fun and figuring out what the invites could possibly mean.

I personally love this time of year. News sites are full of rumours and news. Plenty of speculation and it's so enjoyable to look into things, make predictions and have discussions with like minded people.

You have been fortunate enough to have been given a voice via the iMore show.
Rise to the occasion.

Kind of a weird article since imore has done its share of analyzing past invites. Then you insult your readers for doing the same? Didn't your last article have something to do with not being a dick?

Not to mention we already have a good idea of what will happen as we have for the past ones.

Ha forreal. Last week it was "don't be a dick" this week it's "I'm laughing at everyone analyzing the invite" pot meet kettle

Sent from the iMore App

The number nine is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so the 9/9 date means that the new iPhone will be available immediately in China.

My theory is outrageous. I believe that the "9" implies September, the other "9", while shady, implies the 9th day of September. This may seem like a witch hunt to you. The Mayans did in fact predict that Sept 9th, 2014 would bring us an iPhone 6, or loosely translated, " iPhone ... 6". Also Jimmy Hoffa and Tupac are expected to be at the event, as well as Bigfoot and a Chupacabra

I think that people are overthinking it. For example this years WWDC invitation didn't show anything specifically about what they announced. Yet the icons all next to each other could be a nod to blurring the lines across platforms or apps in iOS 8 and Yosemite working together through extensibility. The invitation might say something about what they're going to announce but it looks like it could be an invitation to any kind of Apple event. If Apple was going to announce a tv or a watch at this event they wouldn't hint about a tv or watch but about something new. Hence we wish we could say more. They may only show the new iPhone(s) or they might show something new. We probably won't be able to tell though until after the fact.

Sent from the iMore App

Ok, I'll bite. Doesn't the cylindrical object in the upper right look something like a flattened pixel? Wouldn't that imply that the event will introduce things for wide screen(flattened) TVs? Since Apple TV runs iOS under the covers, maybe its Phone/Watch/TV ... both tiny, mobile, and big screens. Now I just have to convince myself...

"Wish we could say more" means it's all about using Siri more with the new wearable to accomplish tasks and communicate with the iPhone. "Say more" implies the importance of speech is going to be elevated with these new announcements.

Clearly "Wish we could say more" is an anagram of "Hydraulics Meow Woes" and refers to the new mechanical iCat breaking down constantly... or something...

Or... or... and hear me out here... It's an anagram of "Wily Cad Somehow Sure" and it means that Apple is not releasing a phone this year, and Tim Cook will just be coming on stage to try to sell us a cardboard box with the words "iPhone" on it instead...

i've had a few serious musings like the fact wish we could we could say more imply that more than one major product is going to be revealed also because usually has more to them than this it's minimalistic even for apple as for satire
the apple logo is so zoomed in that the top of the apple forms hills as in running therefore integrated health tracking confirmed