iTunes Announcement: Wordplay

See? Now this is how an entire day’s worth of productivity goes to hell. I can’t leave this Apple iTunes announcement alone.

Read this morning’s blog post if you haven’t already. I’ve been pacing the floor ever since. I’ve been sitting on the sofa, actually, but this episode of “Columbo” has been on pause for two hours and that really should carry some weight

Regardless: I still lean towards the conclusion that fundamentally, the announcement relates to an expansion of content availability.

Why? Look at the nature of the thing: Apple’s making an announcement and not hosting a live event. You don’t need to demo the availability of new content on the iTunes Store. All you need to do is issue a press release. Something as broad as “stream your iTunes library and/or your purchases to anyplace in the world” implies new features that require a live presentation.

Secondly, I find it hard to believe that a “stream your content from iTunes” feature could be done without a new edition of iTunes and (if Apple wants it to reach all the way to the iPhone and iPad) new updates to iOS. There’s been an unexpected delay in the release of iOS 4.2, a fact that would be more interesting to us today if not for the fact that Apple went ahead and released iTunes 10.1 last week. New Apple releases are usually examined pretty closely for signs of future products and services and so far, nobody’s found anything in the new iTunes to tip off anything as big as this.

Thus my money’s on “expanded content.” That’s based on a lot of assumptions, o’course. But hey, we’re just speculating while we run down the clock to 10 AM.

Just a few days ago I was speaking to a couple of different user groups in Philadelphia and I found myself talking about previous Apple media events. I explained that the people who compose the invites seem to love puzzles. There’s usually an double-meaning to the text that remains hidden until the actual announcement makes everything clear. “Back To The Mac,” the invitation to last month’s event said in big bold letters. Everyone thought “Aha! So they’re going to show off the new edition of the Mac OS!”

And everyone was correct. But it also meant “A few years ago, we brought OS X from the Mac to the iPhone and iPad. Now, we’re bringing concepts that worked so well in iOS and the iDevices back into the Macintosh operating system and hardware.” See? Clever.

I’ve been thinking about this all morning, and re-examining today’s tagline. “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.” I feel a little bit like one of those desperate treasure-hunters who examined every line of “Masquerade” looking for hidden meanings. It’s a trite phrase and usually, Apple does better. It encourages me to sift through its atoms for additional clues. Is the news related to things that are scheduled, and things that iTunes will be able to do for you automatically so that you don’t forget?

Clearly, I’ve been spending way too much time on this. I had a flash of insight and was so excited by it that I rushed here to write a new blog post instead of just Tweeting about it but thankfully, I took a moment to re-examine the wording. Oh, dear: “You’ll remember where you were” isn’t anywhere to be found. So much for my “There’s going to be just one global iTunes store and localization won’t be an issue any more” theory.

Nonetheless, I do note that all of the clocks point to the same day. Perhaps that explains why the announcement happens at 7 AM in Cupertino (which seems early) or 10 AM in New York (why not 9?). It seems as though they were solving for the variable “Midnight in the largest world market city farthest East from San Francisco” came up with the answer “Tokyo,” and then (after one or two geography-challenged Apple employees verified that Japan is east of China) they worked backwards from there.

Ugh. I should put this away before I find myself downloading the graphic and searching for embedded EXIF information.

54 thoughts on “iTunes Announcement: Wordplay

  1. ghoppe

    This is why I love Apple — they’re so great at the art of the tease.

    A day I’ll “never forget” implies some kind of paradigm shift. More content doesn’t shift my paradigm.

    “Remember the day I could finally buy X on iTunes?”

    Nope, doesn’t cut it.

    “Remember the day I could finally stream my favourite TV shows from iTunes?”

    Maybe.

    “Remember the day when I could finally browse and shop the iTunes store from the browser?”

    Now we’re getting there.

    “Remember the day when I could subscribe/buy music/tv on iTunes and listen and watch whenever and wherever I want?”

    Could be memorable.

  2. darph

    that little back to the Mac double-meaning-wordplay could also apply here.

    That, as an anapher, can refer to two things.
    1) the day. Meaning: “Tomorrow is just another day; but that day you will not forget. Evar.”

    2) the whole previous sentence, the fact encoded there. “You will never forget, that the day in question (tomorrow) was, in fact, just another day.”

    Does this change our life so profoundly that we will forever remember that day? Or will it be so subtly better our lives that we will later say “I don’t even know how we got there, it seemed just another, normal day.”

  3. Fred

    If it’s just more stuff I can buy in exactly the same way as the old stuff, this will go down in history as the most overhyped event in the history of technology. A day you’ll never forget, which is exactly like the day before only with 37% more stuff to buy!

  4. Chris P.

    More and more the rumor that it the Beatles coming to iTunes is sorta making sense.

    http://www.tuaw.com/2010/11/15/itunes-announcement-11-15-the-likely-and-long-shot-possibilitie/

    I think Apple and Steve are such big Beatles fans that they would go this far. It also shows that Apple is still committed to artists and their music.

    I know it’s like looking into tea leaves and reading palms, but those who are pointing out the clocks and wording point to Beatles albums is interesting.

    What do you think Andy?

  5. John Baxter

    A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate out times…

    (I miss Walter. I miss Ed.)

  6. Jim Schmidt

    “That you’ll never forget”… maybe the data center goes live tomorrow, and you’ll be able to do Time Machine backups over the network to it?

  7. Josh

    Fred—I agree with you unless Chris is right. Beatles. That’s huge, and easily the biggest omission from the iTunes Store. And it’s been in speculation for years.

    The only other content announcement would be a sweeping agreement allowing all movies and tv shows to be bought or rented, so you don’t have to worry whether iTunes has it or if this can or can’t be rented, etc. But that sort of thing requires a lot of coordination with a lot of labels, and it strikes me very likely something would have leaked.

    But we’ll all find out tomorrow.

  8. Gavin

    I hope we could even get a itunes store. Here in South Africa, there is ZERO music/TV/Movie content AND there is no GAMES category in the App Store. You guys should just appreciate that you live in the US !

  9. razmataz

    Couldn’t streaming be accomplished with a new URL such as streamingitunes.com and just log in? This would not require another iTunes update.

  10. perfect face for radio

    Does’t Apple usually time it’s announcements around 10am local time? The 10am local time for this announcement is EST… Perhaps Jobs will be at the new data center for the announcement?

    My two best guesses?

    1. Streaming.. something.. that, frankly I couldn’t give a wet fart about, considering (a. I prefer to own, not rent anything I care to not wait to watch via scheduled/dvr’d cable, and (b. my limited ISP choices.. suck.. making streaming anything in decent quality a stuttering pixelated mess..

    2. Expanded content deals.. NASCAR, NFL, MLB same day (11:59pm PST) downloads.. in their entirety.. shrug.. NASCAR is the only reason I still have cable, so this would be something I’d actually get excited about. (yes, I guess I have cable for WRC races too, so, same day WRC would be a must as well.. hmm)

    And just for sniggles and ghits, let’s say..

    3. The Beatles!!! (and a Merlin Mann Edition Yellow Submarine iPod Touch)

    ;-)

    PS – Andy.. Maybe Steve *finally* got CBS to agree to let us buy/download TBBT in HD same day on iTunes?

  11. James

    Cloud based backup and streaming of your entire music library. So you would never forget your songs, either by leaving them at home or because your hard drive crashed.

  12. Bingo

    Remember remember the 16th of November
    iTunes subscription and cloud
    I stream my library
    On wifi and 3G
    To my TV, tablet and ‘pod

  13. BJ Wanlund

    Well, reading betwixt the lines is my specialty. I have to do it ALL THE FREAKING TIME with GOG.com, who drive me absolutely insane with their impenetrable subtlety!

    So, here’s my ideas on the really clever wordplay at work here:

    1) You will *never forget* what goes down *tomorrow*, which is *just another day*. Guessing it’s a life-altering change in the iTunes experience in this instance.

    2) You will *never forget* to back up your iTunes library, because it’ll be backed up to the cloud using the expertise of the recently acquired Lala.com (and possibly even a little bit of Dropbox acquisition lovin’ as well, since they do cloud storage better than Apple does?).

    3) *Never forget* is the exact opposite of *always remember*, so there must be some major Earth-shattering iTunes news of some variety. Interesting…

    4) It could always be a major release of the ONE Star Trek show that has surprisingly never been available for sale on iTunes, Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’d guess that’d be pretty Earth-shattering in conjunction with a 2nd, even more major announcement.

    There’s 4 different theories.

    BJ

  14. Rory

    What about automatic iOS syncing? Never forget to plug in your iPhone again. Happens automatically every day.

    I completely agree that there must be some meaning to the text. I think it’s interesting that the second sentence is a fragment. Why is it separated from the first? I think “just another day” and “never forget” must refer to somewhat separate concepts.

    Also, I’m not sure why you suggest this announcement will be “a press release.” The last line on Apple’s homepage clearly says to check back *here*.

    No, there won’t be a Stevenote to a room full of journalists or developers tomorrow, but there will likely be a more than just a boring block of text and a headline. They may have demo videos, multiple pages of information, new web services, software downloads, and other “live” web content that would highlight the new hotness.

    I’m not sure about iTunes in the Cloud (or even what, precisely, that would mean) but I agree with others that this will be a fundamental shift of some sort, a break point between The Old Way and The New Way. Definitely feels like way more than just new content.

  15. Mark McGloughlin

    It seems to be a global announcement, with something planned in countries with limited or almost zero content; i.e., content provision is NOT uniform globally, therefore I do not think this is content. It has to be some sort of functionality, like streaming or wireless sync.

  16. jo

    Because they use words like “Tomorrow”, “day”,”never forget”, it seems to all be related with time.

    And because it’s “something you’ll never forget”, it almost feels like a tagline for Time Machine where everything is automated and you don’t need to think about it.
    Seeing all the clock pictures also have a Time Machine feeling.
    So it points me toward a Backup thing.

    But I don’t get why they then say in smaller print “exciting announcement from iTunes”. iTunes????
    I want to backup the whole computer, not only iTunes…

  17. Jer

    I think you shouldn’t limit it to something that doesn’t need a press conference. If you were rolling out some awe inspiring streaming something or another, wouldn’t a perfect way to announce it be to stream it LIVE to everyone’s iTunes?

    You probably wouldn’t forget that…

  18. Steve

    The Beatles? Hardly a day I’ll never forget. When I see ‘never forget’, I find myself thinking about data loss/backup, so an online backup solution or some form of cloud storage seems as good a guess as anything.

  19. Dave

    With the Back to the Mac event there was also another clue in the invite – the entire thing looked like a Magic Trackpad implying increased multitouch integration. And sure enough…

  20. Jay P.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Apple event invitations have *never* had “hidden” info in them. Ever. Every time an invite goes out to the media, forums all over the internet explode with people trying to ascertain a secret meaning.

    Remember all the crazy speculation from the iPad invite? Everyone knew it was the tablet announcement, but people were coming up with theories on names and functionality based on the invite itself.

    The only time one has come close is for the last event, where they showed the picture of the lion, obviously meaning that the next OS was going to be named “Lion”.

  21. HarryLime

    I think it will have something like to “Gone with the Wind”, from where Tomorrow is another day became popular.

  22. Tracy Rotton

    Why not 9:00 AM EST? You said it yourself in your earlier blog post. The stock market doesn’t open until 9:30 AM, so to get the maximum vertical line on the stock chart, you want to make your announcement AFTER the market opens.

    But it does seem rather early for an Apple announcement. I’m so accustomed to them coming out at 1PM here on the East Coast, that this will seem strange. Also, I don’t recall Apple ever teasing something quite like this, with just a prominent web page teaser < 24 hours before the fact.

    And no, I don't think it's the Beatles catalog.

  23. maddog_uk_69

    As others have said, I can’t see a simple expansion of content warranting such earth-shattering intimations.

    This (had better be!) about iTunes in the cloud.

  24. Alan B

    Andy. It may be time for you to step outside for some fresh air. Clear the brain a little. Or, then again, maybe just have one of those fancy Cokes with the real sugar.

  25. Harry

    I think the link to the Beatles is tenuous at best since it was McCartney who had the song “Another Day” and that is already on iTunes. To think otherwise is madness who by the way do have a song called Tomorrow(Is Another Day) but alas they too are already on iTunes. I think it will be a Zune-pass like deal for iTunes.

  26. RLH

    It’s cloud syncing. I’ll “never forget” since now I can rest assured that all my contacts and calendars on my iPhone, iPad, and desktop are up to date. I’ll never forget anything “another day”.

    It’s the surprise sneak feature (released with iOS 4.2) but not actually *in* 4.2 or iTunes 10.1. The iTunes backend will configure already existing over-the-air sync capabilities. Essentially this is just flipping the switch on free Mobile Me for everyone.

    That is the one iOS weakness vs. Android. Now it’s gone.

  27. rtteachr

    Maybe wireless syncing from iTunes? but that would require a new iOS…wait that hasn’t been released yet……

  28. Bill H

    An iTunes subscription service is what I want – their catalogue has to be better than anyone else’s, and they will get $15 a month from me guaranteed. Right now I spend $10 on itunes music, and an additional $5 is a big deal when you scale that.

  29. BJ Wanlund

    Dang, just got a major brainwave.

    It IS the Beatles on iTunes tomorrow, because the digits of the month & day of tomorrow’s date, 11/16, all add up to the number “9”, which is huge to the Beatles. Lucky numbers and all that mess.

    And the funniest thing is, I picked my shirt today out of pure luck. It’s one of my favourite lines from John Lennon’s song “Imagine”:

    “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

    Seriously, that was either pure luck or an odd bit of intuition.

    BJ

  30. Tim

    Haven’t you heard? Apple will be putting the LaLa Band back together under the name of iToldYouSo. Which means the new strategy is to lower the cost on adding flash storage to devices and place it squarely on the backs of AT&T’s networks, or any other punk that wants to play the game of becoming the load bearer, just ‘cuz that’s the way Apple rolls!

  31. Ken

    Man, I hope it’s free Mobile Me, which makes cloud syncing painless…

    I’ve looked and looked at the clocks, and though they’re reminiscent of the “HELP” poster, I remain skeptical.

  32. DJinVT

    its going to be Cloud-based storage and syncing of all purchased Music, TV shows, Movies and Games…. also storage of your Mail, Contacts, Calendar and some Disk storage thrown in too…. for free…. Apple is *really* worried about Google and this is their play. Apple after all has the devices to put all of this content to use… and Google doesn’t.

  33. Rodbert

    Why is the clock for London and not, say, Paris or Berlin? Mainland Europe is bigger than the UK.

    For the French and German site the text is translated and instead of 3PM it says 15:00 – as is normal in Europe. But on the Dutch and Swedish website it is not translated and the clocks use AM/PM. I would argue that while the English text is not a problem there, the AM/PM notation is (PM=post mortem, right?). It seems as if they didn’t have much time to prepare it.

    Finally, it says “check back HERE for an exciting iTunes announcement”. Why not iTunes itself?

  34. SlackerDude

    I’m in the cloud syncing/backup camp.

    What to call it? “Backtrack?” “Time Traveler?”

    I guess “Up in the Air” will have to do for now.

  35. larryp

    I didn’t pick up on it until reading a Gruber post, but seems like the McCartney lyrics in the announcement are a dead give-away that it is the Beatles catalog. A little disappointing to me, since I already have all of the Beatles content I’ll ever need; but it fits with the timing and lack of a press event. Oh well, here’s to hoping lots of people have a wonderful time discovering the Beatles for the first time.

  36. joep

    >>> I’ve been thinking about this all morning, and re-examining today’s tagline. “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.” I feel a little bit like one of those desperate treasure-hunters who examined every line of “Masquerade” looking for hidden meanings. <<<

    "Another Day" (main lyric: "It's Just Another Day") is a Paul McCartney song, "written and previewed during The Beatles' Let It Be Sessions in 1969":

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_Day_(Paul_McCartney_song)

    Looks like it's the Beatles tomorrow. I love the Beatles, but seriously, who really cares about this anymore? Seems that "Tomorrow is just another day" after all.

    After the excitement about streaming- what a let-down.

  37. Lamar

    The Beatles? Honestly? Sure, I like the Beatles well enough. I can see where getting their catalog in iTunes is a big deal for Apple.

    Personally, though? Do not care.

    Disappointed.

    L.

  38. Chris P.

    So many good speculations. Free MobileMe, Subscriptions, iTunes cloud. Like Gruber stated on daringfireball. Those all require demos and small events atleast.

    The Beatles may not be a big deal for most but it’s big deal for Apple who want the iTunes store to be complete.

    I wonder if we will be treated to some sort of pre-recorded video announcement. Or maybe a live stream concert of someone covering some Beatles songs?

    We’ll see in about 8 hours.

  39. Drew

    Let’s also not forget that today’s announcement, was announced yesterday. And yesterday all my troubles of what beatles songs to buy were so far away, as I couldn’t buy em.

    Double or quits on the beers offer anyone? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…

  40. Harry

    Well, this is why Andy is a pundit and I am not. Looks like it will be “Beatles for Sale” after all.

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