Why Is It Always 9:41 in Ads for Apple Products?

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

If you want proof of the creative perfectionism of Apple founder Steve Jobs, look no further than the company's advertisements. What you'll find, almost universally, is that every advertised Apple product shows a screen time of 9:41.

In Apple ads, devices always display the same time: 9:41.
In Apple ads, devices always display the same time: 9:41.

The use of that exact time is an homage to Jobs' announcement of the iPhone at MacWorld 2007. Jobs believed it worked best to unveil new products at roughly 40 minutes into a presentation, and he cleverly came up with the idea that the iPhone shown on the giant screen behind him would mirror the real time of his announcement.

The extra minute -- 9:41 rather than 9:40 -- was a way of playing it safe. If Jobs was exactly on time, the screen shown would be only a minute early. If he was slightly late -- which he was -- the screen would be exactly on time. The notion worked so well that all Apple products except one continue to be advertised with a screen time of 9:41.

Ironically enough, the Apple Watch is the only device to display a different time. It uses the watch advertising standard of 10:09, because on an analog watch -- an option the Apple Watch offers -- the hands offer a "V" shape into which the company name fits perfectly.

How polished is Apple?

  • Apple's 1984 commercial introducing its first Macintosh computer is widely considered the greatest ad of all time; it was directed by Alien helmsman Ridley Scott.

  • In 2011, it was announced that Apple had more operating cash than the U.S. government, at $76.2 billion USD to $73.8 billion.

  • After returning to Apple after being fired, Steve Jobs slashed his pay to $1 a year and kept it like that for more than a decade.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education.

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