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Culture

September iPhone 5? October iPhone 5? Why it doesn't matter

Like brides waiting for a proposal, pundits speculate as to when the magical date of a new iPhone might be. But what matters less is the date. What matters more is the show.

Apple doesn't do product launches.

I know it seems as if it does. I know that every last panderer and pundit is obsessed about whether the iPhone 5 will arrive on September 7. Or not. Or perhaps some time in October. Or not.

iPhone 5 isn't, though, a product launch. Any more than was iPhone 4. These things, these unveilings of a new gadget, a new eco-system, a new personal best friend are called events for a reason.

They are movies. They are blockbusters. They are, in short, theatrical releases.

Many will insist that Apple's previous habits dictate its future behavior. Others will speculate as to whether iPhone 5 will be a relatively minor upgrade or some sort of magical, revolutionary device that will change human behavior faster than the election of Ron Paul.

In the end, though, it comes back to the show.

"When I'm happy, you'll be happy." CC Whatcounts/Flickr

Most importantly, the show must have a final cut with which the auteur is happy. The show has to have a marketing campaign that delivers a simple--and definitely emotional--message. The show has to make the audience excited beyond reason and the media tense beyond deadline.

The show needs talk. It needs more words from more mouths in more ways in order to seem-- no, in order to be-- larger than a phone, a gadget, a product.

The show's producers need to make the auteur happy by ensuring that the distributors are primed, the prints are perfect, and the infrastructure is in place for a mass worldwide audience.

The show isn't always dictated to by habit. Oscar-winning movies don't always launch in the four or five weeks before Christmas. Even "American Idol" managed to completely tear asunder the nation's summer TV habits.

The auteur cares less whether it's September or October. He cares more about whether the show will dominate hearts and therefore minds.

The lack of an announcement, the lack of certainty, the lack of even a reliable rumor suggests only one thing: the show isn't ready.

When it is, the date will come quickly, the excitement will build exponentially and the auteur will feel sure that, yet again, he can create an experience that his rivals will loathe, just as much as they will admire.

It's tough to keep the show coming. It's tough to keep them guessing. It's tough to be an auteur. But somebody's got to do it.