Gadget king Apple is notoriously meticulous and thoughtful when it comes to product design, and the invites it sends out for press events are typically put together with equal care. So on Monday, when the company distributed its latest batch of invites for a Sept. 12 press event in San Francisco, tech junkies immediately began scrutinizing the invitation's design for hints about the next-generation iPhone, which is expected to be unveiled at the event. (See the full invite below.) Industry insiders have long believed that Apple's new handset will be a radically redesigned device with a larger 4-inch screen, 4G LTE, and a handful of other buzzy features. (Read a full rundown of the rumors here.) So what new information can we glean from the "cryptic" invitation? Here, four talking points:
1. There's not a lot to go on here
The spare invite features little more than a prominent "12," a shadowed "5," and the message "It's almost here." The wording, like many Apple announcements, is "typically terse," says Greg Keizer at Computerworld. But unlike last year's invitation, this one doesn't even specifically mention the iPhone by name. "Historically," though, "Apple has been coy about the topics of the events it calls on short notice."
2. The device will probably be named the "iPhone 5"
The 5 lurking in the 12's shadow is likely "Apple's nod to the unofficial name 'iPhone 5' for the next-gen iPhone," says Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica. But calling it the iPhone 5 is weird, says VentureBeat's Meghan Kelly. Many people thought the soon-to-be-released iPhone would "follow the new pattern set by the latest iPad, dropping the numbers and just going with the iconic product name." As far as names go, "the new iPhone" may be the sexy pick, and considering Apple's other product lines, it would certainly makes sense, says MG Siegler at TechCrunch. But "iPhone 5" is a "natural transition" from iPhone 4S, and easy for average consumers to grasp. "At the end of the day, the name Apple ultimately chooses is purely for marketing purposes."
3. But the 5 could have a double meaning
Maybe 5 refers to the "number of announcements at the event," says Dan Frommer at SplatF. "Perhaps: iOS 6, new iPhone, some big new Apple iOS app, new dock connector, some hardware accessories?" You never know...
4. Face facts: The invitation doesn't tell us much at all
"Unlike past invitations, this one contains virtually no clues as to what will be introduced," says Ars Technica's Cheng. The announcement for the "new iPad" earlier this year at least left something for people to speculate over. The same was true for the iPhone 4S. Sigh, says TechCrunch's Siegler. Probably, we're just "over-thinking it."