Apple’s “iPhone ad slip up” reveals “mystery app” - Macenstein

Apple’s “iPhone ad slip up” reveals “mystery app”

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

[UPDATE: Apple has apparently re-edited iPhone commercials, and removed the “mysterious 12th icon”]

In looking through Apple’s newly posted iPhone ads on their site, I noticed something interesting.

In every shot we have ever seen of the iPhone’s main menu thus far, there are 3 rows of icons for applications (2 rows of 4 icons, and the 3rd row has 3 icons) for a total of 11 icons. (See below).

However, there is an odd shot in the newly released “How- To” iPhone ad, where the screen goes from the traditional 11 icon view, to a new 12 icon view. (See below).

Above: Scroll to 00:00:02.76, and you will see an interesting jump cut from 11 icons, to 12, and then back to 11 again.

The idea that the iPhone will add functionality and apps via software updates is nothing new; Apple has mentioned as much. However, you can clearly see that one moment the last row has three icons; “calculator”, “notes”,”settings”…

And the next it has four “clock”, “calculator”, “notes”,”settings”.

Apparently some mystery app has pushed the icons down 1 slot, but we cannot see what it is.

This brings us to 2 questions. First, what is the mystery app that has bumped all these apps down one spot? And second, why didn’t the editors of this commercial catch this lack of continuity between shots?

Since this is the most highly anticipated electronics launch in recent history, surely Apple must have known geeks like us with too much free time would scroll through the video frame by frame and catch something like this.

142 Responses to “Apple’s “iPhone ad slip up” reveals “mystery app””
  1. Ian Adams says:

    >>And second, why didn’t the editors of this commercial catch this lack of continuity between shots?

    Because that’s not the editor’s job: that falls in the domain of the Script Supervisor.

  2. Rowlings says:

    Ian, you come off like an A-Hole, the kind of guy who when on friday a co-worker says “See you tomorrow”, you make a big stink about it.

    You know the point really is “why didn’t somebody catch it”, not specifically the editor (although he’d have the most opportunity).

    Maybe you are just an editor sticking up for fellow editors, but stop being so anal.

  3. Shagghie says:

    Well, after watching Calamari there DOES appear to be another new icon…

    Pause the video about 2/5ths the way through… a finger is pressing the MAPS icon. Look to the rigth of the finger, and at the icon below the STOCKS icon. It only shows the upper left corner of the icon…but..
    it is WHITE.

    Now, go back and look at the whole set of original icons…notice any that have a white upper left corner? nope! The CAMERA and WEATHER icons would be the only even ‘fathomable’ candidates to have a ‘white’ upper left corner… however, both of those are already accounted for in the Calamari frame I’m referencing 2/5th’s the way through.

    Or maybe I just work for Apple? Or maybe not!

    Oh well, we’ll just wait for the youtube videos to come out before we can find out i guess….

  4. neo says:

    I hope its

  5. jtoly says:

    There’s really no mystery here. The entire display is the tile Puzzle game where you move tiles into the one open square. When you get all the iPhone icons into the correct order, you’re connected to your nearest Apple store where you can pick up an iTunes gift card worth $20. The genius is that the normal display is a game! No other phone has made the user experience so much fun.

  6. Shakes says:

    It seems most of you have over looked the obvious……so therefore the likelyhood of the extra icon is simply a shortcut to one of the iPhones app’s… the way you can edit what comes on the main menu of current iPods where you are able to add say, games to the main menu. I might be wrong but to me that seems the most logical idea….with it being touchscreen I guess Apple want it to be easy to access things with fewer clicks. Hell prove me wrong Apple and have something new to entice us with!!

  7. Jroen says:

    I think Shakes is wright.. It would be logical, but i’m still hoping for something else cool..

  8. So, did anyone notice this post over at Gizmodo, and the highlit bullet?

    “The phone has a super top secret feature that I cant even be told what is ”


  9. Tim J says:

    The missing icon is obviously going to be “THE RED BUTTON”, i.e. the one that should not ever be pressed… otherwise nuclear holocaust will entail. One hopes that Apple has included a good keyguard function to defend against accidental key presses. One must also hope that an iPhone never falls into the hands of either President Bush or President Ahmadinejad, as nuclear holocaust doesn’t have an “undo” function.

  10. bisquie says:

    I say its the missing address book icon, but a big red shinny button idea is cool.

  11. Pedro says:

    Hey all,

    I saw this picture from PC world.. this has 12 icons instead of 11..

    i was wondering if its legit or related to this?

  12. ALL Cell Phones Have GPS says:

    As for GPS, it’s not illegal. Actual GPS–how to get here from there and where exactly is “Here” is too expensive for most items and is definitely considered an add-on bonus (and highly advertised). However, cell phones all have to connect with a tower to know where you are–that’s how they “roam”, are “out of service”, and why your Verizon bill tells you what tower–not town–was used to place a call. At least one person has been charged with murder because his cell phone placed him in the vicinity at least an hour prior to the attack. Was he there 59 minutes later? Who knows? But cell phones have a version of GPS. My LG5200 (from Verizon, a cheapie), and the RAZR my fiancee has, both have an option called “Locator”. You can turn it on, or only have it on for “e911”. You cannot turn it off, however.

  13. Rick says:

    Is it just me, or has this been removed? I’m looking at 00:00:02.76, and I can’t see any icons except for a hint of the Calculator text in the top left.

  14. K says:

    Coud it a ‘currently running’ application, a sort of quick resume icon, to say, if you were already doing something elsewhere in the iphone.

  15. Apple Inc. says:

    It’s actually a widget called Flappie

    John Sears
    Apple Inc.

  16. Shakes says:

    One good question I can’t seem to get an answer on is worth a thought for everyone……Although the iPhone is able to browse the full web and have many fantastic online functions, has anyone realised how much this could potentially cost you on current UK contracts?? As it stands Vodafone charge individuals a whopping £2.36 PER MB!!! I use the net for varied applications and have worked out if I was to use weather reports and email then my monthly bill will increase by at least £10……it really is about time phone companies reviewed their data charges as I like many others now use the mobile handset for more than just calls and texting. Sorry to post this here but it really is a thought every potential iPhone customer should take note on!

  17. Bobobobobobobob says:

    it’s the “xxx” porn button, they decided to leave it out 🙁

    or maybe it’s the bootcamp button so you can dual boot to either palm, simbian or widows ce

  18. Beorning says:

    Don’t know if someone else posted this, but it’s not there anymore – the whole row is now missing from the apple ad on

    And the number of mail messages is no longer 9 – it’s 8

  19. Cow says:

    Yeah. I always thought that it was strange that the icons didn’t line up with each other, and always thought Apple would add some cool thing in to make it all work. I guess this is it!

  20. iPhanatic says:

    i have it on good authority from ‘inside sources’ that there is in fact an app that has not been announced. said source refused to reveal the app.
    so there you have it- there is in fact a surprise in store.

    so far from this long list my two favorite suggestions are:
    A/V iChat (i think this is the most likely.)

  21. Anonymous says:


  22. Adam says:

    Has anyone noticed that the NYTimes page that they load on the commercials is from October 2006?!

  23. Iain says:

    It seems to me that the iPhone …being a communications device… is missing a key application… iChat. …inclusion my scare the hell out of operators who don’t want their key services voice+text messaging (sms) to be completely cannibalized.

    iChat of course would provide the same functionality voice, messaging etc. (if not better) but the user would only get charged for data…significantly less margin for the Operator.

    Maybe iChat has sneaked in at the last minute :o)

  24. adam says:

    I think it’s a “Games” icon.

  25. Kris says:

    To Pedro (post 111), that 12th icon is to the website of the guy who made the paper iPhone.

  26. MiMac says:

    99% certain (as I didn’t make the adverts) that the full view is missing the new movies widget, which wasn’t formally unveiled until WWDC07.

    Also, it’s likely that as movies is a feature which is currently only available in the United States, it may not be included in the adverts (which are shown internationally).

    @ John Sears Apple Inc. (don’t you mean Tasty Apps Inc?) – Flappie is not needed as there is already a cool weather widget pre-installed,

    @ iPhanatic – Since your inside source won’t divulge the “secret app” then she isn’t really much use as a source.

  27. 00dan says:

    Fredrik j is the closest to the correct answer. The reason you see the icons jump to the side is that they escaping the app that is being brought up at the time. Look closely at the video again frame by frame and you will see the app being brought up in a very small icon like window. The app being brought up starts at minimal pixels and grows to the full screen. Thanks to all who are so excited about the new product.

  28. Marc says:

    I did not read all your comments, but: Ever thought about that they maybe just rearranged the menu items for the close up shot because it looks stupid if there is a black/blank space? No one would care about it or even recognize (but you).

  29. JeffMaster says:

    I’ve compiled a list of possible things it could be

    1 ichat
    2 microsoft word
    3 movies app
    4 GPS
    5 youtube
    6 games
    7 a “now playing” button
    8 address book/white/yellow pages
    9 and of course, the toothbrush idea mentioned

  30. Hoss says:

    Post #88. I nailed it.

  31. Mamba says:

    Oh Boy! Now we know!!!

    It is the YOUTUBE BUTTON.

    (Check out the new video “YouTube coming to Apple iPhone” on YouTube

  32. howdulikdemaplz says:

    But, what about the forth line? you could fit another four icons down there.

  33. Beorning says:

    #49 was right – it is YouTube


    C’est la touche YouTube
    This is the YouTube touch !

  35. Stephanie says:

    MYSTERY ICON REVEALED!!! Check it out!

    it’s YOUTUBE!!! I’m sooo excited!!!

  36. Stephanie says:

    Oh…I guess it pays to read people’s responses first! haha. Everyone knew that already.
    I’m still excited though. 🙂

  37. jion says:

    Lol… Just look on the box. It shows YouTube

  38. Vids says:

    Its YOUTUBE the 12th Mystery Application

  39. ross says:

    hmmm been thinking about that ok people may have found out what the 12th icon is but but …………..with all these new laws coming into play in england soon could there be a gprs tracker hidden in the phone? its possible

  40. Matt says:

    Its youtube by the way. (the hidden icon)

  41. why wont this work on my television when i want to change the channel, and why wont it open my garage door when i aim it from the car?? Seriously, if this is a smart phone, shouldn’t it work with a smart home? come on guys, get the lead out and make it more integrated into me lifestyle – i’m sooo ahead of the game…
    I had something like this designed about 12 years ago, but my version straps on your arm and networks with your home media (including taking notes from your fridge when you run out of milk).
    Hurry up! I’m getting bored waiting. I feel like I’m sooo on the wrong planet when it comes to manufacturers humming and hawing about releasing something better. (oh yeah, wait til everyone has one, THEN release another unit with that ONE little better thing and make people spend their money all over again, and have em turf the rest in a landfill). Cheers!
    Nathan Paul Prince

  42. What says:

    I just wasted like five minutes checking out this article. I can’t even imagine how much time whatever loser noticed this wasted. Get a friend.

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