Reader answers last nagging question re: iPhone/9:42

Who, what, when, where, and ….?


A post here April 7 finally got almost to the bottom of a three-year mystery by explaining that most every promotional photo of the iPhone carries the precise time 9:42 because that was the time Apple first unveiled the gadget publicly and the company wanted to make sure that the time on the picture shown on stage matched the time on the watches of audience members.

Trivial matter, you say? Well, you're absolutely right, but you should also known that the post revealing this information is now the single most-read item in the four-year history of this blog.

What that post failed to address, however, was the question of why. Why did having the time on the photograph match the time on audience members' watches matter to Apple? The Apple exec who explained the practice to another blogger didn't say and I didn't have a very good guess.

Stepping in to fill the void, thankfully, is G. Lanning, senior programmer at The American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Ky. Here is Lanning's attempt at an explanation:

It's all psychological. It's like a reverse subliminal. And it's really not a little thing.

Imagine giving a presentation to a room filled with elementary children. One of the images shows their school name misspelled or during a scene placed at lunchtime the clock on the wall shows the wrong time. Small things, but you can be sure there would be some acknowledgement among the audience members, disrupting their attention for a small or maybe even large amount of time.

Now imagine giving a presentation to a room full of developers, nerds and geeks.

When the image of Apple's new device is shown to them at 9:42 in the morning and the clock on the device says, "4:44 PM" they are going to notice. They will then have to register in their minds that this is just an image, so it's OK, most clocks are inconsistent, anyway. But, of course, this is way off. I wonder why?

At best you've lost their attention for a few seconds. Worse, you have half the audience battling its OCD and the other half lost on a wave of ADD - the critical characteristics that make them who they are and good at what they do. At worst, there's an undefined something gnawing at them that something isn't right and since it's undefined it may be with the product itself, or with the company, or the presenter.

Or maybe it's me. Do I smell? Can't be. I used my Axe antiperspirant yesterday. Maybe it's just too hot in here. What was that guy on the stage saying, anyway? Why do I feel nervous and unsettled? I think it was that young lady handing out name tags. I think she kind of liked me. That sure was a short skirt. Hmmm.

What were we talking about?

That works for me until someone comes up with something better.

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