Apple’s iPhone Event Invites: Hidden Clues or Just Like…Invites?

This keeps coming up on podcasts this year, so let’s look at the last 10 iPhone event invites and see what clues they held.

2019

Announced

iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Arcade (new info)
Apple TV+ (new info)

Connection

I give this one a decent, if imprefect connection. The iPhone 11 does indeed come in a green, and yellow, and purple, and a red, but all of them are in notably different hues than are in the invite. Also, there is no blue iPhone, despite showing up here. But hey, this is a tease, not a product shot, so maybe that’s fine.

Speculation at the time

People speculated that these could be the new colors of the iPhone 11, or they could be a hint at the return of the 6 colors logo.

Some may argue that the invitation also teases one of the wallpapers seen in promo shots of the iPhone 11, but I’d say that’s not what any of us are talking about when we talk about these invites being “teases.”

2018

Announced

iPhone XS
iPhone XS Max
iPhone XR
Apple Watch Series 4

Connection

Nothing, it was just their new campus. Ish suggested this could be to tease a gold phone, but there has been a gold iPhone every generation since the 5S, so I‘m skeptical. Alex Walker suggests it is the ECG sensor on the Apple Watch.

Speculation at the time

People were all over the map on this one, but some people did suggest it meant gold…things (which again, I am not impressed with since all iPhone gens minus the X had a gold model since 2013). No one suggested anything to do with a health sensor on the Apple Watch as far as I can tell.

2017

Announced

iPhone X
iPhone 8
iPhone 8 Plus
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple TV 4K

Connection

Ummmm, nothing I can see, but Alex Walker suggests the colors line up with the iPhone X’s default wallpaper.

Speculation at the time

As far as I can tell, no one had good ideas about this one and certainly no one was saying this was going to be the wallpaper on the new phone.

2016

Announced

iPhone 7
iPhone 7 Plus
Apple Watch Series 1 and 2
AirPods

Connection

We finally have a connection! The iPhone 7 Plus got a second camera and they used it to debut Portrait Mode.

Speculation at the time

This one was pretty spot on, as people were positing that the second lens on the iPhone 7 Plus would let you create fake bokeh, which indeed came to pass.

2015

Announced

iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s Plus
Apple TV
iPad Pro
Hermes Apple Watch Series 0

Connection

The only stretch of a connection I can make is that the new Apple TV had Siri in the remote. It’s a stretch, but it’s something.

Speculation at the time

A few people did guess that Siri was coming to the Apple TV.

2014

Announced

iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
Apple Watch
Apple Pay

Connection

Uhhhhhhhh…

Speculation at the time

The general consensus at the time seems to be have been that there was no clue, and I would agree.

2013

Announced

iPhone 5S
iPhone 5C

Connection

This one’s gotta be the iPhone 5C.

Speculation at the time

People were onto the idea of a colorful iPhone line.

2012

Announced

iPhone 5

Connection

This one gets the award for most on the nose: that’s the iPhone 5, folks.

Speculation at the time

And everyone at the time knew it too.

2011

Announced

iPhone 4S

Connection

The event was on October 4, at 10AM, at the point on the map, and uh, they’ll notify us about a phone…

Speculation at the time

No speculation, this was also right on the nose about the event, but not the announcements.

2010

Announced

iPhone 4
iOS 4

Connection

It was WWDC, soooooo…

Speculation at the time

Sooooooo…


Well, this brings us to the end of the road, as we are now to the point when iPhones were announced at WWDC. So with 8 total dedicated(ish) iPhone events we can look back on, this is what I’ve got:

  • 2011: super on the nose, it was the date, time, and place, but not what this whole clue thing is about
  • 2012: the 5 was for the name “iPhone 5”
  • 2013: the first clue one, teasing colorful iPhones
  • 2014: nothing
  • 2015: Siri added to Apple TV
  • 2016: definitely a clue for Portrait Mode
  • 2017: nothing, but technically a wallpaper
  • 2018: maybe gold, maybe ECG
  • 2019: probably the iPhone 11 colors

By my count, that’s 2 completely on the nose, 3 where people guessed what the clue was, 2 with tenuous clues no one guessed, and 2 with no real clues at all. Let me know what else you see!