“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.