If we’re to go by Scott Forstall’s explanation as to why Apple sets the time to 9:42 on its iDevice promos, the next iPhone should be announced some 40 minutes into the WWDC 2012 kick off.
Renewed interest in the time mystery has spawned a report quoting former Apple executive Bob Borchers as saying that 9:42 is the time when Apple launched the original iPhone.
According to Borchers, "if you ever see an Apple ad, print or TV, you look at the time and it’s always going to be 9:42 and 9:42 is when we launched the iPhone."
But the story is somewhat incomplete.
In fact, the mystery has been solved since 2010, when Apple iOS Chief Scott Forstall explained
that the 9:42 reference was Apple’s attempt to set the time on its keynote materials to match the time the audience saw on their watches.
During a chat with Jon Manning, lead developer at Secret Lab, Forstall said: "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."
"So you add a couple of minutes?", Manning asked.
"Yeah!", replied Forstall. "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."
Knowing how Apple (and Scot Forstall, for that matter) pays attention to details, there’s no reason not to believe the same marketing method will be applied to this year’s iPhone announcement.
And there has been some indication that Cupertino is trying to get its iPhone refresh cycle back on track
for the annual Worldwide Developers Conference. But don’t hold your breath just yet. Apple has a certain tablet computer to refresh in the meanwhile.