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Summary:

When Apple first revealed the iPhone back in 2007, many hardcore fans with a keen eye noticed that the images of the then-new smartphone device displayed a somewhat unusual timestamp. All official images released by Apple showed the time on the iPhone as 9:42.

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When Apple first revealed the iPhone back in 2007, many hardcore fans with a keen eye noticed that the images of the then-new smartphone device displayed a somewhat unusual timestamp. All official images released by Apple showed the time on the iPhone as 9:42, and they still do. However, more recently the iPad’s press images have all displayed a similar trend, showing the time on the new tablet as 9:41. Following the iPhone’s original unveiling fans have been scratching their heads attempting to solve the dated mystery, until now.

A recent blog post from Secret Lab developer Jon Manning has finally shed some light on the time mystery, but try not to get to excited as the reasoning behind Apple’s mysterious love for 9:42 is a rather dull and functional one.

According to Manning’s blog post, while taking a recent visit to his local Apple store he bumped into senior VP of iPhone software, Scott Forstall. During his trip to the busy store Manning decided to ask Forstall about the time conundrum and settle the debate once and for all. Forstall replied by explaining that when a keynote is taking place the product reveal always happens around 40 minutes into the presentation.

So a simple explanation, as others did previously speculate, now clarifies the puzzle. When the product is first shown at a keynote, the time will roughly match the time the product is announced.

Mystery solved.

  1. Really not sure why this story keeps getting reposted, day after day. Apple’s keynotes have typically started at 10am. More recently, the iPad keynote started at 10am, where the iPad was announced around 10:10am.

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  2. The apple event feed on iTunes is still called “Keynotes” even though they are stand alone events and not what think of as keynote events as part of a WWDC or tradeshow.

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  3. It’s actually because the iPad and iPhone were both developed on a super productive day at Apple. The iPad was finished at 9:41 and the iPhone wasn’t done until 9:42. But Apple thought it would be better to hold onto the iPad for about 4 years. (Too much alien technology coming out all at once could make people suspicious. Besides, Apple had to negotiate a contract with AT&T for the iPad, and that alone took most of the four years.)

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  4. It’s really amazing. I’ve seen this posted somewhere else already. As @Joseph already pointed out, the Keynotes start typically at 10 AM PST. How come the explanation for the 9:41 and 9:42 time makes sense to the writers? It sounds pretty cuckoo to me.

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  5. I always notice 9:42 because 9.42 is approximately 3*pi. Perhaps that’s just me.

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