If you haven’t already noticed, take a look at some Apple adverts from the past few years. If you can’t be bothered to do it yourself, here is a helpful article from The Atlantic. As you can see, it seems that 9.41 a.m. is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s favorite hour of the day, and as you would expect from the marketing-savvy tech giant, it’s not just a coincidence.
The influence of Steve Jobs
The origins of the fixed clock can be found in the keynote speech delivered by Steve Jobs at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. Around 40 minutes into a speech that began at 9.00 a.m., Jobs ushered in a new age in mobile phone technology when he uttered the famous line, “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.”
As he did so, a picture of the first-generation iPhone appeared on the screen behind him. The time at that exact moment? 9.42 a.m.
Now, the attentive among you may be wondering why the specific time I am talking about has changed by one minute. Allow me to explain.
In the marketing literature for the first iPhone, the displays read 9:42 because that was the exact time the product was unveiled, linking the product to the speech and therefore to Jobs himself.
Apple ads legacy
This tradition has been upheld with every big new product released by Apple. Company executive Scott Forestall explained:
“We design the product launch 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. 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.
The new iPhone 6 displays 9.41 a.m. because of this tradition. Mystery solved.
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