Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Did You Solve the iPhone Mystery?

This post will certainly require a little audience participation (if you kind folks are up for it). Send me a comment and let me know if you ever noticed this little idiosyncrasy before. In many advertisements for Apple’s iPhone, the time displayed on the phone is 9:42. Sharp-eyed viewers and Apple fanatics have speculated as to the hidden meaning of the clocks always reading 9:42. Is this some sort of code communicated to the masses at the request of Steve Jobs?

According to this article from PC World, the mystery has been solved, and the reason for the repetition of 9:42 in every ad couldn’t be more simple. Marketing, at its core, is the art of making an impression. Sometimes the power of digital suggestion is all that’s required to lend a helping hand to the effort. I’m sure that some people will search for examples where 9:42 isn’t displayed, while others (like the person who responded to the PCW article) will debunk the Apple rep’s explanation.

This isn’t the first instance of consumers speculating over the time displayed in an ad. For example, if I mentioned the time 10:10, would you know where you see it most? For decades consumers have questioned why 10:10 is the time displayed on the face of a watch in any watchmaker’s advertisement. The theories on this are numerous. My personal favorite, which you may have heard before, is that 10:10 is displayed as a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln. People who subscribe to this theory claim that Lincoln died at 10:10 p.m. on April 14, 1865 from the gunshot wound he received from John Wilkes Booth. By various accounts, this is completely inaccurate. Lincoln is believed to have expired at 7:22 the next morning. The most likely reason for 10:10, as far as I’m concerned, is the ability to display the watchmaker’s brand name without obstruction.

One thing about the iPhone that’s certainly not a mystery is the popularity of its applications. Soundview has some great apps for your iPhone, including a FREE “Top Business Summaries” app.


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