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What does Apple's cryptic 'ring' invite mean? We've got a few ideas...

Love these. Oh, and maybe we know the real answer, too?

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Juxtaposition by Alfred Ng/CNET

It's a time-honored tradition -- every time we're invited to an Apple event, the invitation email always comes with a clever hint about what might unfold.

This time, for the Sept. 12 event, it's a giant golden ring and the words "Gather round." 

What could that possibly mean? Here are a few ideas to start:

Clear inspiration, that.

Might want to keep your head down.

Perhaps Adam Sandler will grace us with his presence? (Pete Burns is no longer with us.)

Sonic does love gathering those rings. But he tends to lose them all at once.

Please no.

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Andrew Krok/CNET

NO NO NO NO NO NO

To be expected from Darth.

Fair enough!

What it actually (probably) means:

So, uh, the ring itself is actually pretty simple, unless there's an extremely clever message hidden in the image's code:

The ring is the Apple ring. Also known as Apple's crazy new spaceship campus. Technically it's named Apple Park, and it's the place where the event will be held. 

We took a tour last September, and you can see loads of images in our gallery too, below. You can even go visit Apple's visitor center now, which has a pretty great view of the Ring from its second-floor balcony.

Hell, the Apple Park visitor center sells a t-shirt with the exact same logo:

But that doesn't mean there isn't more to the Ring's significance in the invite. Speculation is rampant that there could be a new, round Apple Watch, or a new HomePod, though those seem unlikely.

And Apple reporter Mark Gurman hints that you might want to pay attention to the color rather than the logo:

Perhaps it's just a new copper color for Apple products, or perhaps Apple's using an unusual new metal alloy of some sort. The company's taken pride in showcasing how it's managed to shape beautiful products out of refined materials more than once before.

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