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What Does the Apple Event Invitation Mean?

Deciphering the clues about the next iPhone release

Getty Images/Apple/Ringer illustration

The end of summer is approaching, and with it looms the introduction of another iPhone. On Thursday, Apple sent out invitations to its September 12 event at which, if precedent stands, the company will announce new hardware devices, including the next iPhone model. Now, it’s time to decipher what Apple’s purposefully vague, teasing invite means. Everyone knows there will be iPhones, and in most cases, these guesses credit Apple with being more clever than it deserves. But that is the game, and we’re going to play it.

A New Color Scheme

The Apple rumor mill has been focused on new colors. The font on Apple’s invitations for the September 12 event (and previous rumors) hint that a bronze or copper-hued phone is on the horizon. I think Apple may call this color something like “bronze gold,” sticking with its slight misnaming of metallic hues. That “rose gold” phone is just plain pink. There are suggestions this could be called the “copper gold” iPhone, which, hopefully, will be incorrect. Either call it copper or call it bronze; choose one.

Related: The metallic pigments market is booming.

The Home Button

One of the most persistent rumors leading up to last year’s iPhone announcement concerned the home button. Speculation suggested that Apple would get rid of the home button altogether, a decision that aligned with the company’s anti-button design choices. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus aren’t entirely free of the iconic circle, Apple did take the “click” away starting with the iPhone 7, making the shape more of a symbol than a functional tool. The “button” (is it a button if it doesn’t click?) offers a tactile pulse when pressed instead of a mechanical click. The iPhone X, however, is devoid of any home button whatsoever, and the edge-to-edge display is circle-free.

The circle on Apple’s invitation suggests something is going on with the home button. It’s most likely that the new models will join the iPhone X in home button–free design, and that FaceID will be a primary mechanism for unlocking

Then What Does “Gather Round” Mean?

It seems strange to focus on the circle and the phrase “gather round” if the subsequent announcement is about axing something round from the iPhone. The coming announcement could have something to do with Siri, though there aren’t many rumors to corroborate that. Typically, new software updates are made in the spring at WWDC, Apple’s developer conference. But in the spirit of pure speculation, The Ringer’s Alyssa Bereznak offers up the idea that Siri may be implemented into other smart-home products, like Alexa or Google Home.

Or Maybe It’s Just About Logistics

It could also be nothing more than a bad joke referring to the circular theater on the Apple Park campus that the September 12 event will be held in. This, being the most obvious hint of them all, feels the truest and most obnoxious.