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.)