A Brief History of Those Apple Event Invites

Let's prep ourselves for the January 27th event by remembering how Apple alerted us to previous product launches.

Posted by  | Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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Apple may be the world’s most famously secretive tech company, but it’s impossible to be completely secretive about a press conference if you want the press to show up. So the week before the company holds one of its product launches, it issues invitations. With an Apple event that supposedly involves a tablet computer a bit over a week away, it’s instructive to review past invites and how the world reacted to them.

These invitations aren’t a comprehensive record of every interesting product Apple has released–some of the biggies have been announced at Macworld Expo and Apple’s own WWDC, which are held sans cryptic invites. And I haven’t attempted to document every invite here–just a bunch of representative highlights.

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Slides: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

12 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave McCall Says:

    Not only is the latest invite colorful, it is also going outside the lines. Does this indicate outside the box thinking or some new kind of display not limited to the normal bezel? Or perhaps a new piece of software to compete with Photoshop?

  2. Mathieu Says:

    Apple Canvas ?

  3. Alan Levy Says:

    Thanks for the recap. Following the structure you showed–there’sat least one clue in the words and one clue in the visuals—and knowing that it’s a tablet–I think you are spot on about the color being used to distinguish Apple’s product from the Kindle et. al. I also think the multiple colors symbolize the multi-gesture aspects of the new product.

    But more importantly, Apple uses the word “creation” in the tagline. Given Steve’s preference for creating rather than consuming (hates TV so no products have the native capability to receive TV signals, for example) I believe that we will see a major push on the 27th for the product’s ability to easily create artwork. MacDraw/MacPaint 10.0 here we come!

  4. CaptainWhizz Says:

    Did I miss the launch of the iPhone in all of this? What happened Jan 2007?

  5. Harry McCracken Says:

    @CaptainWizz: The iPhone was unveiled at Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo keynote. As far as I know, those generally have not involved teaser invites, although the Apple.com site has sometimes previewed news with graphics in a similar format.


  6. IcyFog Says:

    There was no invite for the MacBook Air?

  7. NanoGeek Says:


    I believe there was. If I remember correctly, it showed one of Apple’s buildings with clouds in the sky, and it said something like “There is something in the air.”

    I’m not completely sure though.

  8. Sam Says:

    I reckon maybe the paint/ink splashes refer to a new kind of screen that works a bit like the greyscale electronic ink screens that the kindle etc have, but in colour. Colour electronic ink?

  9. HD Boy Says:

    Notice that the latest art has a subtle outline of a box — or a screen, just as the #11 slide showed the subtle corner of an aluminum screen that morphed into the spotlight on the Apple logo and signaled the introduction of the unibody MacBook design.

    Clearly, this invite depicts colors replacing underlying gray values. It signals a color touchscreen tablet that will replace existing e-Reader concepts that the rest of the industry wasted energy and resources on…

  10. LoByte Says:

    The paint at the box edge also suggests something about the dimensionality of the surface. Maybe it won’t just be 2D? Something completely new like a surface with programmable tactile feedback as in detectable edges for keys?

  11. robinson Says:

    Ah, shucks! I was hoping that this story was going to show us a series of past invites– you know the actual invitations, with the graphics, the tease, the caption rather than a generic overview with a random pic from the event!

    Or did I miss something?!

  12. Harry McCracken Says:

    @robinson: The first few items have images from the events, because I couldn’t find the invites (and as far as I can tell, there weren’t any of the graphical emails that Apple now uses). For the later items, the invites are there.


2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Interpreting Apple Invites Says:

    […] about Apple invites as we wait for next week’s Apple product event to come around. “A Brief History of Apple Event Invites” recaps eight years of such invitations: what they said, what people thought they said, and […]

  2. And That’s What You Missed on Technologizer Says:

    […] Prompted by Apple’s invitation to what turned out to be the iPad launch, I examined the tough-to-interpret artform known as Apple event invites. […]