Mark Gurman: Five ways of looking at Apple's 'Far Out'

From Gurman's "What Apple’s ‘Far Out’ Event Invitation Tells Us About Sept. 7 iPhone Plans" posted Sunday by Bloomberg:

“Far out” could refer to the event literally being far in the future: Apple announced the launch two weeks before it’s set to take place, which is more notice than the company has given in the Covid era. Of late, Apple has announced launches only about one week in advance.

There’s also the space motif, which builds on a theme in iOS 16. One of the main new wallpaper sets for the update lock screen is the Astronomy option. It includes two views of Earth, two of the moon and one of the solar system. If you slowly swipe through the different views, you get a cool virtual look at space and stars. This wouldn’t be the first time that an Apple invite’s theme is as simple as a reference to wallpapers on a new device...

But I do think a more significant meaning is possible. For one, the space theme could be a reference to satellites. I first reported over a year ago that Apple is planning to add significant satellite capabilities to its devices, including an emergency texting feature and a mechanism for reporting major incidents in places without cellular service...

That’s a step up from the current iPhone and Apple Watch feature for quickly calling emergency services and providing them with your location. The features also will give stand-alone satellite-based devices, such as the Garmin inReach, a run for their money...

T-Mobile US Inc. and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, meanwhile, are making their own steps toward bringing satellite service to the masses. They announced plans last week to offer T-Mobile service through SpaceX’s Starlink satellites starting next year. Customers on most T-Mobile plans would get the service for free.

It’s not clear if Apple will indeed launch this kind of functionality on Sept. 7 or if the features are more far out (sorry). But GlobalStar Inc., the long-rumored partner for Apple’s satellite push, has spent much of this year laying the groundwork for a major new initiative.

Another possibility is that Apple is hinting at enhanced photography capabilities or a feature that could rival Google’s long-existing astrophotography mode. A new version of the iPhone’s night mode, which first launched in 2019, could also be in the offing.

Another plausible theory is that the lit-up stars at night represent the upcoming “always on” mode, which will let the iPhone show new lock screen widgets—like weather info or upcoming appointments—while keeping the rest of the display off. It’s not a stretch to say lit-up stars against an otherwise dark night could be teasing that.

My take: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." -- Attributed to Sigmund Freud

See also: Evercore's Amit Daryanani: What to expect at Apple's Sept. 7 event


  1. Fred Stein said:
    Just having fun speculating…

    All the data from James Webb is in the public domain. Imagine a 3D viewing device from Apple that lets you travel in space, virtually.

    Cue the intro to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.

    August 28, 2022
  2. Steven Philips said:
    German’s “speculations” feel like they were just written to fill space. (No pun intended.) None feel right. Bets that they’re not even close.

    August 28, 2022
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Actually there are 6 ways to look at Apple’s far out, the 6th being something NOBODY thought of, except Apple.

    August 28, 2022
  4. Rodney Avilla said:
    Apple’s goal is threefold:
    1. Mask it enough so that it’s not obvious. Check.
    2. Create lots of speculation. Check.
    3. When it’s revealed, everyone says, “I should have guessed that”

    August 28, 2022
  5. Bart Yee said:
    This is how Apple marketing works –
    1. control your product secrecy as well as possible,
    2. create buzz around introduction events by being a bit mysterious
    3. let the tech & business media and press speculate all they want for free (see #2.)
    4. Create videos for use in the event which also delight and inform yet again on repeat viewing on YouTube and Apple Newsroom.
    5. Introduce superior products to high demand, measured availability, which creates yet more buzz and FOMO.
    6. 2-4 weeks in “We are very pleased with the demand for our products and we are working hard to fulfill that demand” (or make sure everyone who wants one will get one, eventually.)
    7. Keep mum about exactly how many units built or sold – see #3.
    8. Let word of mouth and reviews (for better or worse) be your best advertising.
    9. Ride the wave.
    10. Ditto for AAPL investors.

    August 28, 2022
  6. Bill Haymaker said:
    I’d love to hear them say the Titan Project is “far out” but we’re working on it.

    August 28, 2022

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