Mystery: Why Apple Ads Use 9:42

Did you notice that Apple always use the time 9:42 in Apples iPhone Keynote and iPhone ads? Well that’s not just a random choice, but it actually got a reason “sort of”. While Jon Manning from secretlab was waiting for his iPad, he happened to see Scott Forstall wander in to the store. While he was planning on going up to him and saying hi he noticed something. The time on the images of the iPad had changed. Instead of 9:42 it was showing 9:41. So he decided to ask Scott Forstall about it.

He wandered up to Scott, who was leaning against a table showcasing the new device, Jon introduced himself, and got right down to business.

Jon: “Why’s the time changed? Heck, why does the iPhone show 9:42 in the first place?”

Scott look around and said: “You want to know the real reason for that time?”

“We design the keynotes so that the big reveal of the product happens around 40 minutes into the presentation. When the big image of the product appears on screen, we want the time shown to be close to the actual time on the audience’s watches. But we know we won’t hit 40 minutes exactly.”

Jon: “So you add a couple of minutes.”

Scott: “Yeah! And for the iPhone, we made it 42 minutes. It turned out we were pretty accurate with that estimate, so for the iPad, we made it 41 minutes. And there you are – the secret of the magic time.”

Jon: “So what you’re saying is that you picked a number close enough to suit your needs, and used it in the keynote and all promotional images.”

Scott: “Yep! It’s as simple as that.”

Mystery Solved!

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