Dropping Hints

12 Comments

Both ThinkSecret and Mac Rumours are currently carrying stories that the successor to the iBook, the MacBook, is to be released on Tuesday 9th May. From the talk of marketing materials sent to Apple shops marked “Do not open before 9th May”, this seems pretty conclusive. Time will, of course, tell.

But this is not my point. What is more entertaining is that the aforementioned sites cannot contain their delight because of what ThinkSecret is calling a “coding glitch” on Apple’s site. Visitors to Apple’s iPod web site were being greeted with the text “Home > Hardware > MacBook” rather than the usual content.

I have always had a particularly low opinion of ThinkSecret, for a multitude of reasons and many of which relate to the poor quality of their journalism. I’m evidently not the only one. This time, it’s the suggestion that this “glitch” was anything other than a calculated move by Apple to ramp up expectations in the run-up so that all eyes are on Cupertino on Tuesday. To believe otherwise is, frankly, delusional.

ThinkSecret et al might like to believe that they are sleuths par excellence who can dish the dirt on forthcoming Apple products, but as their patchy records show, much of it turns out to be guesswork. Hell, they had an exclusive last November where “highly reliable sources” “confirmed” that Intel iBooks would be coming in January. Then March. Finally April-May. Maybe third time lucky. We’ll see.

Apple, master of smoke and mirrors, fed them this. Big companies do not make visible coding cockups like that on live web sites. This was deliberate. And Apple loves it. The rumour sites whip up a frenzy, and now we are all on tenterhooks waiting for the news. Expect articles on c|net and ZDNet on Monday. It was just the same when they leaked the Power Mac G5 specs. No, it really wasn’t an accident.

Anyway, MacBooks in black and white on Tuesday. 13.3″ widescreen displays. Intel inside. Should be good!

12 Comments

diesel

i’m new to this site and i kinda like it so far. it’s not as heavy as daringfireball so tis is a nice break from heavy analysts crapping words whenever they can.

keep up the good work!

Brian Donohue

Put it in perspective: TS is basically a gossip, Enquirer-style site for Mac geeks. Clearly, Apple wouldn’t waste money on lawyers and court costs to sue them if they weren’t annoyed, at least once in a while, by their tactics and reporting. To that extent, TS is doing what journalism should be doing–being a gadfly on a big corporation’s nose. But yes, it helps in the gadfly business to be reasonably accurate most of the time. I’m ready to cut them a break on this one, because I had predicted back in December that the Jobs crew would go single-core with consumer models (iBook and iMac and Mini) first. Clearly, I was wrong, though I don’t claim to have info from Apple insiders.

Karuel

I cannot wait for these new books.

(Note: Who cares if it was deliberate or not?)

DocB

Word of mouth advertising goes further faster on the web.

Dave

You’re absolutely correct. Apple routinely provides these “leaks” just prior to the release of something new. Why pay for advertising when legions will rumor sites will do it for free? We’re talking about it now, aren’t we?

Gareth Potter

hehe, nice to get some acerbic comments to a post for once.

David, you note correctly that one of Apple’s web sites was hacked recently – it was the Korean one. But it is surely obvious that the hacking of a site is something quite different from what we have here. A site can be professionally maintained by a company’s web team whilst being run on a hideously insecure web server, whose responsibility might well be in the hands of a different department, i.e. IT. In the Apple Korea case, it was IT that cocked up, not the web team.

Roland, whilst I am mindful of that great aphorism, I beg to differ. Make no mistake, this was deliberate. I suppose it is plausible that it was the act of an individual in the web team, rather than a conscious act by Apple’s marketing department, but given the anticipation it has generated, I think it could go either way. I simply cannot believe that a glitch like that would be allowed to go live and remain so for quite some time.

david

Roland is spot on. it’s probably you who is delusional if you think that Apple or any large company is immune to such mistakes because of their “tight control” or professionalism. One of Apple’s web site’s was just recently hacked, so I hope that dispels any notion that they are operating in a tightly controlled environment. Your attacks on Think Secret seem strangely venomous…crazy post. No digg.

Roland Dobbins

Your comment Big companies do not make visible coding cockups like that on live web sites.’ is demonstrably false. Big companies, including Apple, make mistakes of this type from time to time – Google is your friend.

To paraphrase Napoleon, never ascribe to cleverness that which can be explained by mere incompetence.

Jason Terhorst

In my several years of being an Apple follower, I’ve found that patience is the key. We get whipped up into crazy frenzies over stupid things, then disappointed when Apple doesn’t meet our rediculous speculation. I’ve learned to ignore them. Sure, the things that they suggest would be cool to have, but Apple has their own plans.

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