What Apple’s iPad 3 Keynote Icons Really Mean




Apple loves putting little Easter eggs in their invitations to tease fans about what to expect at their events. Along with some sly cryptic phrases that are meant to intrigue you without actually telling you jack squat, Apple sometimes includes a few app icons to give fans a hint about what’s coming. The iPhone 4S invitation had a “1” above the phone icon to denote that they would be announcing only one new phone. In their latest invitation, Apple has given us the picture of an iPad with three apps in the dock – Maps, Calendar, and Keynote – along with the phrase, “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”

What does it mean!? Well, after taking a 30-minute online web course in Cryptology, I’m pretty much an expert at reading into Apple’s secret codings and here’s my break down of what to expect based on the secrets of the invitation icons.

The Maps icon – Many of Apple’s past keynotes have included the Maps icon. The icon depicts the location of Apple’s Headquarters right off Interstate 280 in Cupertino California. Most of the time the Maps icon is used to denote where the special event is taking place, and while this event isn’t going to be held on Apple’s campus, it will be a short drive away in San Francisco, so that’s probably what Apple is conveying in the invitation. However, if you want to get all crazy and look deeply into the invitation symbology, maybe Apple is throwing it out there that they are releasing a new Maps app. Apple has purchased two map making companies over the past few years, so it’s not completely out of the question, but I wouldn’t count on it.

The Calendar icon – Does that icon look like it’s a retina display icon? I can’t really tell, but it looks really crisp. Obviously this icon is telling the date of the event – Wednesday the 7th. But why is the finger touching it? And why does the invitation have the line, “We have something you really have to see. And touch.” Will the iPad 3 have haptic feedback capabilities so that your fingers tingle every time you touch it? I hope not. And we haven’t heard anything close to that from the rumor-mill so we don’t think that’s actually going to happen. Apple is just using the finger to put emphasis on the date because it’s going to be totally magical.

The Keynote icon – Well obviously Apple will be running a keynote to talk about how super cool their new iPad 3 is going to be, so the Keynote app makes sense. I know Microsoft is rumored to be coming out with Microsoft Office for iOS, but it looks like Apple is saying, “Hey guys, we still make some pretty great productivity software that we personally use to melt your faces off at every event and send fanboys into orgasmic realms of ecstasy.”

Combining the meaning on all three icons we think Apple is saying: “Use the Maps app to get to the event. Schedule it in your Calendar on the 7th, and get ready for a spectacular keynote because you just might poop your pants when you touch our new device.”

Not convinced of my analysis? We got two other swami’s who have given their interpretations too, here and here.


  • Modest Noreika

    Can’t wait. :)

  • rdowns

    Wow, talk about pulling shit out of your ass. Yet another worthless Cult of mac post. 

  • David Heidke

    And there is the little dot thing over the Keynote icon that indicates there is another page…  Meaning something else…

  • dcj001


    “Invite” is a verb.

    “Invitation” is a noun.

  • Terrance Shaw


    Can I get a job at Cult of Mac?

  • Buster

    yet another worthless comment :(

  • Buster

    you are 100% correct. Thank you. I fixed my grammatical errors that were made in my haste to get this post up.

  • Figurative

    In all honesty, I don’t see any hidden meaning other than the date, location and it’s going to be a presentation.

  • Andrew Griffin

    It is just because the three question you’d ask about the event is ‘where?’, ‘when?’, and ‘what?’ isn’t it? Those things are the answers…

  • John Neumann

    Buster failed to read into the other highly obvious clues:

    The photo is only in focus on the Calendar app, so this means that Calendar will be the focus of the event. 

    Only 3 fingers are pictured which is in reference to the salute expressing Serbian ethnic nationalism. So expect Apple to have a press conference expressing concerns in eastern Europe.

  • fabricem

    Excuse me Mr Heine but are you paid to write that sort of… crap?
    (then I understand it is about how much you are paid to write crap… but judging from this post you must be paid well, crap!)

  • Demonstr8r

    Obviously the iPad 3 will include a higher-res display, but the reference to touch either indicates a haptic display or more likely, an improved oleophobic display. Also, the image has no home button, which could be a clue, or simply a picture of the iPad 3 in landscape orientation. The presence of Keynote could be a subtle clue to abandon rumors of Microsoft Office app being launched at the event.

    The black bezel and icons also appear to be disproportionally larger than real life on an iPad, either that or the hand model has very small hands.

  • Buster


  • joewaylo

    Well, Steve did have the infamous line “One more thing…” Might be a second announcement.

  • Dennis Bril ?

    Come one Cult Of Mac you can write better than this!

  • Chris Davis

    Maybe the Keynote icon means nothing but I do keep hoping for an updated iWork suite. Pages ’09 is good but could be better. Keynote needs an update or too as well

  • Buster

    i’m gonna go rethink my life. Thanks

  • Demonstr8r

    I don’t think this image is from the Apple event notice. It appears to be a CoM fabrication.

  • Nathan Strik

    And there are 3 icons displayed… so that has to be a reference to the iPad version number 3… ooooooh, magical! ;)

  • Barak O’ Giannis

    Before the event: Everyone is awaiting something terrific
    As soon as the keynote ends: “That was it? It can’t be! Rumors said about 4core processor!”
    And the iPad 3 is braking the record for the best selling device in the first 24 hours

  • gettysburg11s

    Wow, this speculation is hilarious.  Using the past as a lesson, Apple’s announcements are always right in between the truth and all the wild rumors.  The only exception to that was the iPhone 4S announcement, but that was only because the rumors had gone so far off the scales.  Apple has been on the spec bump yearly and redesign every two years schedule for quite a while now.  Not sure why people thought they’d get a redesigned iPhone last year.

  • Matt Stubblefield

    “see and touch”  maybe “see” the new apple tv and “touch” the ipad 3??

  • Jordan Clay

    Buster,  What if the 3 icons means a SMALLER iPad.  They come with 4 icons across the bottom by default. 

    P.S.  I took the same 30 min course in Cryptology

  • Skywaytraffic

    There are also 75 bubbles visible in the wallpaper. If you add that to the number of letters in the word calendar, 8, since it’s the focal point of the photograph, and then multiply by the number of apps and fingers seen, 6. It comes out to a nice number of 498. This is undoubtedly the new price of the iPad 3.

    We’ll have this cracked yet, John!

  • Info master

    I was thinking the same thing…

  • Richard Migneron

    How about “touch” meaning available right now on the 7th, no pre-order or wait !

  • Glenn

    Maybe the three icons have zero significance, much like this story.

  • Josh Yates

    Seriously…if you don’t like what is posted here, why do you keep coming?  Cult of Mac has a typical way of addressing things…just like MacRumors, TUAW and other Mac sites.  This negativity is just pointless.  If you don’t like what’s posted here…so somewhere else.

  • hisshadow

    “One More Thing” was a bit of Jobsian “PT Barnum” showmanship required when Apple still fighting something of an uphill battle. With Apple on top of the world and Jobs gone, we won’t see this particular tactic employed again.

    Hat tip to the Angry Drunk, from whom I first heard this reasoning.

  • Ryan McKee

    I think the phrase: “We have something you really have to see. And touch.” Means they will reveal a new Apple TV (see) and a new iPad (touch).

  • Tim Griskus

    And I’m sure you’re so much better at life then everyone else that everything anyone else does is crap?  Go troll else where.

  • tv_gadget

    haha this is exatly what apple wants you to do!!write articles about these icons and every website is doing it!

  • Buster

    but my article is obviously the best, right?

  • coryereed

    “And touch” = iPad Touch? A device between the iPod Touch and iPad?

  • Quinton Charles

    have anyone ever thought of apple releasing a smaller tablet? i don’t believe they’ll release two tablets just because it is another product that could cut into the sales of the macbooks! however, if they would release cheaper version, isn’t it obvious that the 7 could mean a 7 inch tablet? just another thing to throw out there. I really don’t see apple release two tablets though.

    This is really funny what people come up with. It reminds me of celebrities and the Illuminati references that people spend hours looking for in photos. lol. 

  • badtzwang

    Evidently you didn’t … unless you think “invititaion” is the correct spelling.

  • tv_gadget

     yeah its pretty good…actually i  wrote all these things on a comment before i read your article :p

  • tv_gadget

    The ” And touch” part could mean this time apple might allow people to use the ipad 3 and make hands on preview after the keynote..which they didnt allow in the steve jobs time

  • Ed_Kel

    And another worthless reply.

  • ctt1wbw

     I’ve been saying that for a very long time, both here and at BGR.

  • Ed_Kel

    Sure ya have, Wayne.

  • Greg Smith

    “What does it mean!? Well, after taking a 30-minute online web course in Cryptology, I’m pretty much an expert at reading into Apple’s secret codings…”

    People need a sense of humor.  This is a blog – not CNN.

    I think bownlee has all but ruined humor posts for this site and everyone wants to bash any other writer who tries to dish out something original and funny.

    One important distinction – Buster writes great articles, and he does so routinely.  

    Go Buster.

  • Solowalker

    While we’re being picky… Straight from the New Oxford American dictionary (via OS X’s Dictionary.app):

    invite |?n?va?t|
    verb |in?v?t| [ with obj. ]
    make a polite, formal, or friendly request to (someone) to go somewhere or to do something
    noun |?in?v?t| informal
    an invitation.

  • Brandon Lynn

    I was thinking the Keynote icon is a reference to the new Apple TV for streaming presentations to a TV/Projector.

  • Skiour

    I really think/hope haptic feedback will be it. When I saw this:
    http://www.stuff-review.com/20… I though of the iPad. It would be great if Apple executes this as it usually does. Touchscreen will change forever.

  • Daryk Hall

    There’s two Home Screens (as seen above the Keynote icon). You didn’t read anything into that? Perhaps two things are going to be announced at this event? LOL Apple cryptography is so scetchy… =)

  • John Stram

    what are you talking about? Apple is known for giving out hints about an event using app icons. Where have you been?

  • DrM47145

    Pico projector?

  • George Wedding

    “And touch.”

    Clearly, the invite also is about a 7-inch “iPod touch” — as well as an iPad 3. Otherwise, why are the icons so much bigger than current icons (relative to the finger size). To see what I mean, compare the invite image to your own iPad icons and finger. Would a retina display on a new iPad 3 result in larger icons on a relatively smaller iPod touch with a retina display?

  • Quinton Charles

    have anyone ever thought of apple releasing a smaller tablet? i don’t believe they’ll release two tablets just because it is another product that could cut into the sales of the macbooks! however, if they would release cheaper version, isn’t it obvious that the 7 could mean a 7 inch tablet? just another thing to throw out there. I really don’t see apple release two tablets though.
    This is really funny what people come up with. It reminds me of celebrities and the Illuminati references that people spend hours looking for in photos. lol. 

  • Rj Pozniak

    How about “come see our new device.” You won’t know if it is a ipad or a macbook air. Cause it will be a macbook air with a touch screen. Or I mean an Ipad with a keyboard. Now even I am confused.

  • John Neumann

    ha ha! I was actually counting those as well but gave up. My fez is tipped to you sir!

  • macfoxpro

    …and another worthless reply to a comment’s reply

  • Dario Rementeria

    Those aren’t bubbles…they are rain drops and that means it is water proof. Double Whammy!!!

  • macfoxpro

    oh yeah, quit whining.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Cult of Mac needs to delete/screen these complainers to save us the grief of being subject to their posts. You guys do a good job, it’s your site…dump the swap dwellers and their posts.

  • prof_peabody

    Another Cult of Mac article with a completely misleading headline.  Shame on you. 

    The article promises to tell you what the icons really mean but the content just says “I dunno.” 

    While we are on the topic of misrepresentation and “covers not being indicative of contents” … Buster, why don’t you post a picture of how you *really* look instead of the approximately hundred pounds lighter version you post on your articles?    

  • Bassem Iskander

    i agree with the see “for apple TV” and touch “for ipad” theory.

  • Rmlgtp

    There are two home screens out of the box on every iphone/ipad.

  • Rmlgtp

    but they allow 5 icons on the dock on an iPad, and the fact that the 3rd icon in, keynote, is in the middle, shows there are 2 more on the other side. that’s no smaller iPad.

  • Buster

    thanks man. It means a lot to hear compliments like that.

  • Buster

    hahaha….umm I may have gained 25lbs since my bio pic was taken but i definitely look pretty similar. If you’re dying for a sexier pic of me all you had to do was ask Prof. Peabody. Or just stalk me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bst3r/

  • Clark Wallace

    I just wet myself a little reading all of these comments, does the wetting of my pants by reading comments on this article hint at a waterproof iPad 3? I think so.

  • Clark Wallace

    How about you change your avatar to a picture that doesn’t look like a transfestide barbie doll? Oh wait, that probably is what you look like in real life.

  • Shaun Green

    Thanks for the detective work but somehow I don’t think Columbo has anything to worry about lol.

  • Walker Wood

    Maybe the finger could represent the screen finally being finger proof, because they got a patent for finger proof screens a while back, and everyone thought they were going to do it for the Iphone5(4S) but that didn’t happen, maybe now it will come in.

  • DamienLavizzo

    Also, “One More Thing” was Steve’s “thing”. Tim Cook probably would not steal that from him. 

  • DamienLavizzo

    Obviously the “touch” part of the announcement means that the iPad will no longer be a physical device, but a holoprojection beamed directly into your retinas designed into a pair of specialized hipster glasses. The “touch” refers to the fact that you interact with the device by “touching” your environment, as apps will now appear to display a comfortable distance of 3-4′ in front of your face without the need for an actual physical display. This also has the added benefit of giving the iPad 3 an effective 26″ display while actually DECREASING weight to less than 1/10 of a pound, and increasing battery life to over five days. 

    I’m very surprised you didn’t pick up on any of this the way I did almost immediately after glancing at the ad from across the room with my glasses off. I’m a little disappointed that Apple would be this obvious with it’s announcement, this year. If this is the kind of telegraphing they’re going to be doing now that Steve is dead, count me out.

  • Alex

    And we’ll let you decide which ones to censor ?  

  • Clark Wallace

    I think you mean fingerprint proof glass, a finger proof iPad would be a real inconvenience! 

  • Clark Wallace

    I just burst out laughing haha!

  • Junaidkureshi

    Stop fighting Guyz you all are retard. hahahaha

  • CharliK

    And that is probably all it means. Just like the whole See reference is likely simply because that’s the common phrase and touch is in reference to it being a touch screen device, aka the iPad just like the image appears to be

  • CharliK

    Unlikely. They would never do that to the staff not to mention they like to have demos and posters out and that would mean an overnight and someone would leak that that is happening AND the details. 
    The earliest would be the 8th after we already know what’s up. 

    And given the increase in reseller crap don’t be shocked if they require folks to reserve and don’t have the stores keep any for walkins. With a limit of one per person until next week and two for the 30 days after that. And that’s flat, not per day. Just to keep things fair.