One of the inaugural stories on just-launched news site The Daily Beast is a column by the founder and former editor of Mac news and rumors site Think Secret, Nicholas Ciarelli. The article suggests that Apple is relaxing its notoriously strict veil of secrecy. Think Secret was shuttered in 2007 because of a suit brought by Apple following Ciarelli’s decision not to remove details of the Mac Mini published before its release.
Ciarelli points to the many recent instances of early product leaks from other rumor sites which have not resulted in site closures or suits. The following is from an interview conducted for the article:
“There’s no doubt that Apple has changed,” Jeremy Horwitz, editor in chief of iLounge, told me in an email. “Probably due to the awful PR its prior lawsuits generated, and because cease-and-desist letters only confirm leaks, Apple has wisely stopped going after the people who generate its ‘buzz.'”
Apple has not only become more mellow with product leaks. The recent lifting of the restrictive NDA is yet more proof that Jobs and company are beginning to see that with rapid growth comes a necessary relaxing of control. It was far easier to maintain a culture of silence when Mac users were a much smaller and less vocal group. Increased sales, attention from the mainstream press, and the heightened degree of credibility accorded tech news and review websites and blogs have combined to create a consumer environment antithetical to secretive Apple corporate practice.
So what are the next steps? More cooperation with companies and organizations like DisplayLink, and OpenClip seeking to develop utilities Mac users are hungry for but Apple seems unwilling to provide? Let’s hope that a more open and communicative Cupertino is in fact on the horizon.