May 11

Anatomy of an Apple rumor

“Daddy, where do Apple rumors come from?”

Good question. Though conspiracy-mongers believe Apple masterfully manipulates journalists and bloggers, providing millions of dollars’ worth of free buzz, that’s hardly the case.

The Apple rumor/buzz machine stopped needing any help from Apple eons ago. That, thanks to years of phenomenal success and a famously mercurial CEO.

It takes only a hint of a fact, a mere whiff of a story, for journalists and bloggers to spread the story like wildfire. A good example of this is the recent avalanche of rumors surrounding the mysterious launch date of iPhone 5.

It started innocently enough:

Two months ago, Apple sent out an invitation its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The invitation had only one line of text: Join us for a preview of the future of iOS and Mac OS X.

This invite was accompanied by a release from Phil Schiller, in which he said, “If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.”

Jim Dalrymple is a blogger known for his reliable sources. Jim immediately posted an article entitled No iPhone, iPad or Mac hardware coming at WWDC. His first sentence: “Apple closed the door this morning on any speculation that it would announce new hardware at its Worldwide Developers Conference saying it would focus on iOS and Mac OS.”

Apple “closed the door”? Yikes. A bit extreme, considering:

1. The invitation went out two months in advance of the WWDC. Apple has never, ever announced an intention to unveil new products two months in advance.
2. Apple’s developer event is, by no coincidence, aimed at developers. Every WWDC invitation in history has focused on software.

However, none of this stopped the story from being picked up by tons of news services and blogs, including the well-respected John Gruber at Daring Fireball. Most ran with with headlines like No iPhone 5 at WWDC this summer.

Of course Jim Dalrymple may well have other sources that lead him to this conclusion. But again, Apple did not close any doors.

And that was only the start of this rumor. Following this “definitive” word from Apple came more reports trying to scoop the initial reports. Analysts gleaned information from their sources. An Asian manufacturer had information indicating there would be a summer launch after all.

Just a few days ago, it was reported that Apple has been urging journalists around the world to attend the WWDC. To those all over this story, that meant something big was going to happen. One blogger said, “the obvious conclusion is that Apple is announcing a new iPhone.”

Gruber quoted that story, but doubted the “obviousness” of the conclusion by noting, “Again — Apple spread word just two months ago the WWDC wasn’t going to be used to introduce new hardware.”

Cut that out! Apple did nothing of the sort. Apple simply sent out an invitation to its annual software event, as they do every year. Everything else is a hunt for hidden clues.

I have absolutely no idea when iPhone 5 will be announced. Nor do I have any idea what will be announced at WWDC. Hard to tell with so much detective work going on.

But if you’re going to draw any conclusions, you might want to read between the lines of those who are reading between the lines.


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  • MacMonkeyMark

    The rumours make me quite ill and add absolutely nothing to the Apple scene. iPad3 rumours before iPad2 was even out? iPhone 5 to come in June, July, August, September, October or November?

    All the boom! and one more thing has been sucked out of Apple product launches, the the point of actually being disappointed that iPad4 won’t be a neurally linked interface or that iPhone7 won’t be a bodily implant.

    As wonderful as the internet is, the rumour blogs are slowly killing the enjoyment of Apple launches, especially as 99.9% of the rumours seem to be bogus. It seems that the only info to have any faith in is within 24 hours of product launch. And at that point, wouldn’t you rather Apple just surprised you themselves anyway?

  • Jim H

    One of the reasons I stopped reading the rumor blogs was they took the fun out of watching the real events. They were based on pure speculation on something that Apple did or did not say. Kinda like the MSN regarding politics, lots of noise, emotion, and very little information or facts.

  • Bill

    Gruber is the Tila Tequila of the mac scene, only Tila has actual talent.

    He posts speculation as if they were rumors, and pretends to have inside sources at apple.

    You quoted him telling an outright lie yourself.

    People who lie do not deserve respect, and gruber has no integrity.

  • Home Inspector

    Anyway it looks like these are the two most talked about features that users will be coming to expect in iOS 5 and these features been but confirmed by Apple themselves. I guess we will find out come June 6th at Apple’s WWDC where the iOS 5 will be unveiled, that we know is for sure. For those interested, Steve Jobs will be making an appearance to deliver the company’s keynote. iPhone 5 hopefuls, let’s see if he keeps to tradition with “One more thing…

  • Home Inspector

    Is this new iOS designed for music? I hope this will be good cause I really want this one even though I don’t know much about it yet. I just want it for its name. “iCloud”, cool.

  • Hmm, I’m excited to see what the new iOS will bring to the table! I hope its all good things.

  • Photography Expert

    This icloud is just an old fashion money grab. They make only one port and it is proprietary. No other storage capacity than the internal sd card. They make you go to bloat ware itunes to get crap on and off and have slowed that done to a crawl to justify the need for this “honeypot” for them to prosper. Now they are hyping cloud services which are just another name for “virtualization” where they will store all your media for a monthly fee of course. Did I get that right? Like it is not bad enough you can only go to one mall to shop and the merchants selling to your are disgruntle¬d because Apple is loan sharking them out of up to 30% of their proceeds and some have closed shop, and a third of their shopping mall has closed down. They want you to become accustomed to storing your media in their storage locker and not on your device. What happens if you can’t pay your bill, do you lose all access to your media too which should have been able to store on your phone in the first place? Unbelievable what Apple customers will go through for the icrap devices that are falling apart, can’t connect and now ipad is having a charging while on the dock problem along with screen bleed and connectivity issues.

  • Through a press release ahead of WWDC, Apple has revealed that it will be releasing its own cloud service to rival Google and Amazon’s. In addition, they will unveil the new iOS, and the latest desktop OS.”Apple also announced the release of the iWork suite for iOS devices.

  • I think Apple recognizes the fortuity of this particular WWDC with respect to various events (and non-events) in the industry, and wants to make the most of it. PC sales are dropping because of the iPad and the Mac, would-be tablet competitors have faltered, Android developers aren’t making the kind of money some expected, Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM have made some really stupid strategic moves, etc.
    This is a nice clean, out in the open, all by itself, event to throw the spotlight on some significant new Apple products which may very well leapfrog everything else out there.

  • Website Guru

    Apple has not revealed the exact benefits of the icloud service, it is predicted that this will be another successful breakthrough. With neither both the Google and the Amazon.com not having a legal/secured deals with the recording companies, Apple is showing signs of reigning, by having talks with the four top recording companies to enable its users, to have their songs uploaded avoiding the time consuming step of having every song uploaded onto the online storage locker.