Blog Post

Apple Rumors Gone Amok

I’ve been an iPod-listening, iPhone-talking, iMac-computing, Macbook-toting Apple fan since 1986 when I first used AppleWorks on a Apple IIe. I’ve stood behind the platform through thick and thin and my t-shirt collection proves it. However, one aspect of the Apple culture to which I refuse to subscribe is rumors and conjecture.

The iSlate (or is it now iTablet again?) frenzy has me particularly annoyed and Gawker’s recent “scavenger hunt” for clues about the mythical new Apple device makes me want to zap their PRAM with extreme prejudice. I’m puzzled as to what purpose knowing about potential Apple’s products a few weeks early could serve? Asking people to risk their jobs to serve the Apple paparazzi machine is completely irresponsible.

I’m also concerned that the rumor mongering is expanding at an exponential level. Theorizing what Apple could or should come up with is great. For an awesome retrospective of such products check out Appledesign: The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group. The line between fictional Apple announcements and rumors is thin. In 2010, with image and video editing tools, fans can create a fictional Apple product, report it as a rumor, and be taken seriously. Actual true, verifiable Apple news a few weeks before a suspected product announcement grinds to a halt. Personally, I think TheAppleBlog has done a good job or steering clear of the more fanciful theories out there and focusing on what is more plausible and real.

My friends at Apple have some interesting takes on the rumor frenzy which I find fascinating. As TheAppleBlog already reported, some leaks are intentional. The more rumors spread and mutate, the less likely the “true” leak is recognized. With so many different images of what the Tablet could be, nobody is 100 percent sure of what it actually is. More fascinating is that sometimes these fan visualizations of what could be are viewed by Apple employees and could be incorporated into later products. The rumors could serve as prototypes of the next generation.

So is that why everyone is into rumors? To improve Apple design? I suspect for most it’s just impatience. Everyone’s so excited for “one more thing,” they’re willing to risk it all for a glimpse. And this is different than paparazzi taking pictures of celebrities walking their dogs how?

Wait until Christmas morning to open the presents and stop looking in the closet to see where Mom stashed the Hanukkah goodies.

This is just one writer’s opinion on the lack of value in rumors. What’s yours?

15 Responses to “Apple Rumors Gone Amok”

  1. I seem to remember when the rumors before the iPhone came out, and what people thought it might be and might do and how it would taaste. Most of those rumors were wrong. People are wrong about this, too, almost certainly. Some of the predictions (read: guesses) will be right, but that’ll be more lucky than insightful.

  2. Wonderful metaphors, Dave.

    To add another while echoing pretty much everyone else, I think it’s like a sporting event. There’ll always be fanboys (fanboys), slutty cheerleaders (rumor whores and sites such as Gawker), and we’ve just gotta take them as they come, suck it up, and wait ’till the last quarter.

  3. I believe that all the rumours and speculation, mock-ups, wish-lists, predictions, some reasonable, some downright fanciful, come down to one constant: passion. Passion for the company, the product, the ways in which lives are affected and sometimes improved.

    Grown men crying during a keynote? That is beautiful! Anything that can move someone that much emotionally, regardless of what it is, is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Beneath all the rubbish and false speculation, the accurate predictions and the occasional legitimate source, is the collective love of those that participate.

    I find it similar to being at a concert of an artist I really love. I arrive early, line up, wait for hours in my prime position at the front with all the others that care so much as to put that amount of time into being there, make new friends, grow in each others shared experience, and feel the collective joy of being witness to something that brings beauty to my life. It’s effervescence. And it’s tremendous. After the fact, the waiting means nothing, much as after the release the rumours mean nothing, they’re just ways of expressing love and passion.

    That’s how I feel anyway =]:

  4. I do not agree – the speculation, excitement, and suspense are all fun!

    It is a lot like a football game! The game is on the air for roughly 180 minutes, of that time only 11 minutes is actual game play (WSJ).

    Perhaps as a relatively new mac convert (2006), I am less aware of the culture that has driven apple for the last few decades — however I can’t imagine apple having grown, diversified, and gained so much market share without hype, misinformation, and speculation.

    Imagine a world where no apple speculation existed, no one outside of apple thought about product design, and the only apple topics on the blogosphere were on existing, established products. I sure would not check my tech news daily, nor would I care if apple released a tablet, and I don’t think that you would either.

  5. quandmeme

    A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population or significance, sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until – ‘My God,’ says the second man, ‘I must be dreaming, I thought I saw a unicorn.’ At which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are, the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience… ‘Look, look’ recites the crowd. ‘A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer.'”
    – Tom Stoppard, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’.

  6. UmpaHimself

    I try not to buy into all the speculation but rumors can be good for stopping a hasty purchase. For example, I was in the market for a new computer (replacing my old G5 tower) and I heard from a friend the new iMacs were coming so instead of purchasing an already outdated comp, I waited and got something better.

  7. 99% of this frenzy is generated solely by the blogosphere. Why? Traffic. Cheap, dirty, effortless, shameless traffic.

    The other 1% is generated by hordes of smelly Mac nerds with their pop tents at the ready for that glorious morning they can scuffle their way into the nearest Apple Store to get their grimy fetishist hands on the new device. I assume you went to MacWorld during the Jobs keynote era? Steve could’ve reported what type of cereal he’d eaten for breakfast that morning and half the room would erupt in orgasm. It was ridiculous. I went the year they announced the clam shell iBook. Grown men were crying.

    • I did go to many Macworlds and NEVER went to a keynote, despite having a press pass. Why wait hours in line when I can comfortably stream it in my hotel room or home? Rarely did the keynote give specifics. I just wait until a few hours later and read on the what came out and the details.

      A good friend of mine always went to the keynote because it felt like a sporting event. All the excitement, cheering, and mania.

      As far as traffic, I think it’s a short lived bump.

  8. To each their own. I check in on rumours every once in a while, but I’m not that vigilant because in the end, it’s not that important to me. However, I don’t begrudge people who are more invested in the rumors than I am.

    It’s probably a mistake to think of it in terms of a set, measurable “purpose” as you seem to here, because a lot of what we do doesn’t have much purpose. For example, I keep a tennis ball on my desk that I squeeze and toss around while reading. It keeps me occupied and entertained. I also read The Apple Blog on some of my breaks. I don’t get anything out of either of these except keeping myself mildly entertained, but that’s all I expect. Some people just pay a lot more attention to the rumour mill to do the same thing.

  9. Cousin Dan

    Completely agree, it’s just free marketing for Apple. I’m sure they invented the strategy deliberately a while ago;

    ‘secrecy’ + ‘leaks’ + apple sites (TAB TUAW and [get this] MacRumors) = free adverts

    which then get picked up by rolling news websites who either delude themselves into thinking its news or (more probable) just want to get as many eyes on their page and will string together tenuous stories based on hearsay and second hand info on upcoming commercial products.