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How Apple Rumors Became Reality 86

Posted by Zonk
from the go-bloggers-go-blogging-inferno dept.
Lucas123 writes "Computerworld has a story on how bloggers, rumormongers and Web sleuths pulled together the story of the MacBook Air several days before Steve Jobs unveiled the laptop on stage on Tuesday, something that is nearly unprecedented in the annals of Apple announcements. 'Remember the sturm und drang that erupted after Think Secret revealed the coming of the Mac Mini, prompting Apple to take legal action to silence Think Secret? Is Apple off its game on keeping secrets now? Why was this year's secret leak different? In a word: teamwork.' This seems to be good case study on how to use information from sites like AppleInsider, 9to5mac.com and Ars Technica get a peek under the covers on future talks."
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How Apple Rumors Became Reality

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  • by Trigun (685027) <evil@evilempi r e .ath.cx> on Thursday January 17, 2008 @05:45PM (#22085792)
    Count me out. I'm not THAT big of a fanboy.
    • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:56PM (#22086824)
      "Count me out. I'm not THAT big of a fanboy."

      Fanboys don't work so hard. Investment analysts sometimes do. The point is that if you can predict the future you can make a killing in the stock market. Apple's stock is very volitile. It goes up and down. If you can predict those little bumps you can get rich.
      Just think: If you KNEW 100% that some long awaited announcement would result in disappointment and a $11 loss in the stock price you'd short Apple. So there is a whole ecosystem built around trying to predict what will happen to Apple.
      • Mod parent up. I've lost all my mod points in wrong thread.
      • Ahh, you're so close to having it right. Investment analysts don't bother trying to predict the future swing in the froth of Apple stock. They are - and have been - busily engineering that swing for their own ends. Basically, they, and/or the agencies they work for, are in communication with online pundits and review sites, who publish glowing praise of Apple products when they want the price to go up, and hack-job reviews when they want the price to go down. The froth in the Apple stock that they manip

  • Plan B (Score:2, Funny)

    This seems to be good case study on how to use information from sites like AppleInsider, 9to5mac.com and Ars Technica get a peek under the covers on future talks.

    Or you can just read the Fake Steve Jobs blog.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:08PM (#22086094)
    The first mention I saw of Macbook Air was on a particular site, where someone reported that googling through Adium logs showed a connection made from a MacBook Air.
    Now, everyone can make a custom description there, to my understanding, but then people noticed that various macbookair.* websites were registered with ties to Apple.
    (All of this happened a few days before the keynote.)

    Also, can we officially start calling it AirBook? It's much simpler to say.

    • by hawks5999 (588198)
      While AirBook is easier to say it would be a step backward from the stance that the name/word "Mac" has to appear in all the computers. This happened when they ditched the iBook for the (newly minted Intel) MacBook because Steve wanted to make sure everybody knew that being a Macintosh computer was an important part of the MacBook - that is, even though it's Intel based, it still has the Mac OS and that's the important part.
      • by initialE (758110)
        Well in that case we'll just have to call those new products the MacPhone and MacPod Touch...
      • by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:27PM (#22088942) Journal
        That's a bit revisionist. The MacBook Pro came before the MacBook, and it was a replacement for the PowerBook, not the iBook. The reason for the name change only tangentially was for "[making sure that consumers knew that] even though it's Intel based, it still has the Mac OS"; the real reason was to avoid having "Power" in the name since it no longer used the "PowerPC" architecture.
        • by hemp (36945) on Friday January 18, 2008 @01:32AM (#22090046) Homepage Journal
          That's a bit revisionist. The MacBook Pro came before the MacBook, and it was a replacement for the PowerBook, not the iBook. The reason for the name change only tangentially was for "[making sure that consumers knew that] even though it's Intel based, it still has the Mac OS"; the real reason was to avoid having "Power" in the name since it no longer used the "PowerPC" architecture.

          But the PowerBook name was used prior to the use of the PowerPC architecture. The PowerBook Duo 210 came out in 1992 and used Motorola 68030.
    • by tirerim (1108567) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:36PM (#22086542)
      Sort of: after the log entry was revealed, the owner of macrumors.com registered macbookair.com (and then said that he would be happy to transfer it to Apple gratis if they wanted it); this apparently triggered the registration of all the other macbookair domains by Apple, but the company that does their domain registrations offers a service of automatically registering potentially trademarked domains, so there was speculation that this was not a particular decision by Apple. And it should be noted that Apple doesn't normally bother to register domains named after their computer lines.
    • by Traa (158207)
      > Also, can we officially start calling it AirBook? It's much simpler to say.

      I prefer ThinMac (does not come with fries)
       
      :-)
      • by VoltageX (845249)

        (does not come with fries)
        Actually, it might - if my MB gets to 81C under heavy load, what will making the space smaller do?
  • Why bother?

    Does 2 days really make that big a difference?

    Why do people try so hard to crack a "secret" the company's going to reveal to the world in 48 hours?

    Is there some secret stock trading scheme involved we don't know about?

    Maybe I'm missing the point.

    Congratulations, you now know exactly what I know about the MacBook Air. Only difference is, I don't have a pack of hungry lawyers breathing down my pocketbook.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by superskippy (772852)
      At the risk of stating the completely obvious, launches of new Apple kit in a keynote is a big deal. It allows Apple to stage manage the launch, and it also creates a buzz that no-one else in consumer electronics gets. I was there pressing reload on the live blogs from the keynote, and I'm far from a fanboy- I've never bought anything from Apple.

      If everyone knows the secrets, all of this is lost. However, just like the kid shaking the presents before Christmas morning, everyone wants to know what they are

      • by IANAAC (692242)

        At the risk of stating the completely obvious, launches of new Apple kit in a keynote is a big deal. It allows Apple to stage manage the launch, and it also creates a buzz that no-one else in consumer electronics gets. I was there pressing reload on the live blogs from the keynote, and I'm far from a fanboy- I've never bought anything from Apple. If everyone knows the secrets, all of this is lost. However, just like the kid shaking the presents before Christmas morning, everyone wants to know what they a

    • Re:Seriously.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:25PM (#22086366) Homepage Journal
      The first people to publish information about a new secret product can easily get a massive amount of page views. Profits for blogs and news sites are mostly from traffic, so they tend to choose topics that drive traffic to their site. A hot new product from Apple is definitely one of them.

      For some it's simply fanboyism. Just like a fan of a band can't wait to hear their new songs, big Apple fans can't wait to hear about the next product.
    • Re:Seriously.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NF6X (725054) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:31PM (#22086478) Homepage

      Why do people try so hard to crack a "secret" the company's going to reveal to the world in 48 hours?

      Why do kids sneak in to the living room and shake all of the Christmas presents when they're going to open them up in 48 hours? Excitement. Anticipation. Enthusiasm. Some folks just can't bear the wait, and thus love to learn any clues that they can. Plus, Apple's deliberate attempts to keep things secret are an irresistible challenge to many folks who like to play detective.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GnarlyDoug (1109205)
      It's not insider trading, just trading. If you can predict ahead of everyone else, even by the thinest of margins, what is going to happen to a stock then you can make a lot of money. Apple stock is incredibly volatile. It moves up and down so much that if you can predict one of those moves you can make 20%+ profit in a couple of days easily.
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:12PM (#22086138)
    It means none of this "should I buy now or wait for that new model which is being released soon".

    Of course there's always stuff announced at Macworld, so if you purchase close to Macworld you're still taking a gamble.
    • by peragrin (659227) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:54PM (#22086786)
      ah but that is the kicker. Really smart people don't buy revision A apple hardware. It always has a few loose ends that need to be fixed.

      I want an iPhone. but I am waiting until at least the SDK and third party apps ship, or the second revision of the phone.

      which ever comes first. This way I am not the beta tester. Sort of like SP1, or SP2 for MSFT software. the really annoying bugs are finally worked out of the system and it becomes useful.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        That "rule" is greatly over stated. I'm typing this on a first gen Macbook Pro and it's definitely the best notebook I've ever had. I didn't own, but used a first gen AlBook (less of a first generation than the MBP because it's less of a massive redesign) and it was essentially the same as my later generation AlBook. I also used daily several of the first G5s and they were fantastic machines. My TiBook was close to first generation. I also used one of the first dual G4s and it had no problems. Oh, and
  • Pulled Together? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:19PM (#22086246) Homepage Journal
    I think the pundits are overcongratulating themselves. Yes, many predicted that Apple would come out with an ultraskinny laptop. But all the stories I saw the day before, from multiple sources, all predicted that Apple would announce a system with no hard disk. Not clear to me whether they were talking about a simple flash-based system or a serious SSD-computer (not sure any of them knew the difference) but most versions basically said it would be something that would be an adjunct to your main computer. In other words, an Apple version of the Palm Foleo! Yeah, right.

    Not to run down the Air, which seems to be a decent little box. But it's just a laptop with a minimum of extraneous hardware. (Unless you consider a fixed-focus camera to be extraneous; come to think of it, I do.) Not exactly a major revolution worthy of all the religious awe and ecstasy.
    • by kestasjk (933987) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:54PM (#22086782) Homepage
      What are you talking about? It's it's 0.2 inches thinner on average than the closest competitor, and it's fully recyclable; if that isn't revolutionary then what is?

      Things that were revolutionary, in ascending order:
      • Refrigerators
      • Object oriented design
      • The transistor
      • Writing
      • Agriculture
      • The Renaissance
      • Renting movies over the internet from your couch
      • A laptop which is 0.2 inches thinner than the next-thinnest laptop


      P.S. I hate the word "revolutionary" when referring to anything computer related. One of the best things about community driven FOSS projects is the lack of BS words like "revolutionary".
      • Re:Pulled Together? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @07:47PM (#22087530)
        >>One of the best things about community driven FOSS projects is the lack of BS words like "revolutionary".

        Google the following:
        "Openoffice+revolutionary": 174,000 results.
        "Bittorrent+revolutionary": 249,000
        "Firefox+revolutionary": 435,000
        "Linux+revolutionary": 441,000
        "Richard+Stallman+revolutionary": 167,000

        Whatever positive attributes the open-source movement might have, lack of hyperbole is not high among them.
      • Refrigeratos a bigger revolution than wrinting? I REALLY don't think so. Writing was the kay factor to enhance our cognitive processes so we could invent things like refrigerators :)
      • by Kjella (173770)

        P.S. I hate the word "revolutionary" when referring to anything computer related. One of the best things about community driven FOSS projects is the lack of BS words like "revolutionary".
        Note to self: Don't tell parent that a search for "open source revolution" has 65000 hits [google.com] on google.
        • by kestasjk (933987)
          True, FOSS does have that side to it, but more often than not it's onlookers that apply the BS words to the products, or it's FOSS software which has a "corporate edition". You don't usually see the people who actually write community driven FOSS software refer to their software as "revolutionary".
      • A laptop which is 0.2 inches thinner than the next-thinnest laptop

        Apple's home page "The world's thinnest notebook. MacBook Air." design [apple.com] 0.76 inch ... 3.0 pounds

        My Toshiba Portege 3015CT lists "Under 3 lbs. & Approx. 3/4" thin". Apple's marketing department must not bother researching competitors have produced in the last.

    • by philoye (724509)

      But all the stories I saw the day before, from multiple sources, all predicted that Apple would announce a system with no hard disk. Not clear to me whether they were talking about a simple flash-based system or a serious SSD-computer (not sure any of them knew the difference) but most versions basically said it would be something that would be an adjunct to your main computer. In other words, an Apple version of the Palm Foleo! Yeah, right.

      What are you talking about? I follow the Mac rumor scene pretty c

    • isights had it. (Score:3, Informative)

      by shmlco (594907)
      Actually, on the 9th I posted an article predicting that Apple would use 1.8" notebook drives, as SSDs of any reasonable size were still commanding a premium price. To be fair, however, I also predicted that they'd add 16GB or so of on-board flash in order to cache system and application files. Nailed the first, missed the cache.

      Then the day before MacWorld I did an article on The Totally Wireless MacBook [isights.org], describing a machine with no ports whatsoever and that did everything via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

      And then
    • by shmlco (594907)
      Blew the link to the first article. Want A Small Thin Light Notebook? Here's How. [isights.org]

      Got to learn to use Preview.
  • BIG deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Amocat (1210616)
    Sorry, it just isn't that interesting that they found out about a crippled notebook.

    What I'm really waiting for is a several week ahead leak about 10.6 Officially being available for PCs.
    Now THAT would would be a helluva rumor.
    • by jamrock (863246)

      What I'm really waiting for is a several week ahead leak about 10.6 Officially being available for PCs. Now THAT would would be a helluva rumor.

      Macs are selling VERY well, growing in both market and mind share. If this trend continues, what reason would Apple have to boost rival hardware makers fortunes by licensing OS X to them? Especially when they're enjoying huge margins on their own gear? Your helluva rumor will most likely remain a rumor until, say, the heat death of the universe, or the official

  • that Jobs just didn't think too much of the new laptop within his reality distortion field.

    His keynote speech seemed less enthusiastic than it was in the past especially compared to last year with the iPhone

    Perhaps Jobs saw the new notebook as another product to fill in the notebook offerings from Apple. I also sensed he was more into Apple TV and the rental scheme.

    Or perhaps I've built up a barrier against his reality distortion field.
    • by plover (150551) *

      His keynote speech seemed less enthusiastic than it was in the past especially compared to last year with the iPhone

      Everyone was wondering in advance what could possibly be as cool to launch as the iPhone. Apparently, 'nothing' was the correct answer for this year.

      That's fine, that just means next year's announcement should be bigger by comparison.

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        Everyone was wondering in advance what could possibly be as cool to launch as the iPhone.
        Knowing Apple followers... The iPhone mini?
    • by toppavak (943659)

      that Jobs just didn't think too much of the new laptop within his reality distortion field.

      For good reason too. Its the first product from apple that I can unequivocally call technically inferior to its competitors. Yes, its thinner, but on average its other dimensions are larger (roughly 2 inches wider and half an inch deeper than a thinkpad X61), its a little heavier or the same weight, its MUCH more expensive ($1800 vs $1150 for a comparably equipped X61) and has nowhere near the number of ports ( 1 USB, headphone jack and micro DVI compared to 3 USB, 1 firewire, 1 monitor out, a pc card slot, headphone + mic jack, modem and ethernet on an X61). I'm sorry OS X is nice but its not worth $650 and on a lot more constrained hardware, even if the hardware is sexier and slimmer.

  • Apple has probably realized the viral information and speculation whips everyone into a frenzy about it's up coming products. Good free publicity for them, they probably only go after people if the information is wildly off base, incorrect or slanderous. Quick someone statistically analyze past speculation along with expo announcement.
    • Good free publicity for them, they probably only go after people if the information is wildly off base, incorrect or slanderous.

      It's EXCELLENT free publicity for Apple, and I think they realized it years ago. I also think that it's more accurate to say that they only go after people if the information is in fact closer to the truth. They appear to be much more interested in locating moles in the company than shutting down some college student's rumor site, for the reason that anybody inside Apple who know

  • That's it.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:37PM (#22086562)
    I'm officially old. I think about finding out about new kit 48 hours later and think 'meh'. Once upon a time I'd have wet my pants in anticipation. Oh, the horror!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm officially old. I think about finding out about new kit 48 hours later and think 'meh'. Once upon a time I'd have wet my pants in anticipation. Oh, the horror!

      Well, when you're old, you still wet your pants before the announcement. Only it's more of an unintended event. :D

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:39PM (#22086588)
    These rumors didn't 'become' reality... They were based on it. The reality came first. All these fan sites did -nothing- to influence Apple. They just reported the news. It'd be like congratulation Channel 1 News for making firefighters save a girl from a burning building. They had -no- influence, they only reported what they heard (or made up and happened to match reality).
  • Remember? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:43PM (#22086638) Journal
    'Remember the sturm und drang that erupted after Think Secret revealed the coming of the Mac Mini, prompting Apple to take legal action to silence Think Secret?'

    Remember it? I don't even know what it is!?
  • by twitchingbug (701187) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @06:44PM (#22086660)
    when you piece it together 3 days before the keynote because of the very posters that Apple themselves put up for everyone to see. Come back to me, when you figure out something 3 months in advance of a keynote. That'll be something.
  • by Vexorian (959249)
    And I always thought apples were a myth based bible tales.
  • baaa baaa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cas2000 (148703) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @07:27PM (#22087264)
    who cares?

    you're doing exactly what apple's marketing dept wants, getting sucked into the bullshit hype.

    the reason they make such a fuss about keeping it 'secret' is because they want suckers (i.e. YOU) to think that they're in touch with exclusive, important information so that they'll then do a shitload of free advertising for apple in their attempts to tell everyone they know how cool & uber-1337 they are for knowing such top-secret stuff.

    and you suckers fall for it every time.

    • ...and probably much closer to what really happens behind the scenes in Cupertino than Apple fanboys care to believe. Read John Gruber's piece over at Daring Fireball [daringfireball.net] about how Apple-watchers basically have to practice Kremlinology [wikipedia.org] in order to separate the signal from the noise, or in the case of Apple, the clues from the silence: "When, in the face of white-hot speculation, Apple goes totally silent both officially and privately, that's when they have something big."

      Gruber also makes an interesting case

    • by Kjella (173770)
      I think it's far simpler - deliver first, market afterwards. There was a time when i thought that a) Vista was much closer to release than it was and b) It would contain a lot of new features. As time progressed it changed to a "just delivery already" and "you're scrapping that too?" and an entirely dull release because everyone knew what was coming. You can say a lot of things about their marketing department, but they never marketed high and delivered low - some people have unrealistic expectations instea
  • Um, leaks? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rtechie (244489) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @08:08PM (#22087768)
    I work across the street from Apple and I heard Apple employees talking about the "thinbook" (that's that they were calling it) at the coffee shop. Just because Apple has a reputation for stopping leaks, that doesn't mean Apple doesn't leak. iTunes leaked too.

  • But will it run Vista?
  • 'Remember the sturm und drang that erupted after Think Secret revealed the coming of the Mac Mini, prompting Apple to take legal action to silence Think Secret?

    That's funny. I remember it was information about a Firewire audio break-out box going under the development code name "Asteroid" that was the focus of the Apple/Think Secret spat. And Apple ended up selling the product unreleased to another company (I think they just did that so it would appear Think Secret was wrong).

  • I think this time around, it was just obvious... mostly in part due to the "something in the air" banners. Aside from that, it was pretty much common knowledge that Apple would produce some sort of improved portability laptop design, either as a thin machine, or something in the vein of the Asus eeePC. It just wasn't known which way they'd go.

    Same with iTMS rentals/Apple TV.

    No one picked up on Time Capsule or new iPhone/iPod touch apps.
    • I reckon Time Capsule is one of the better products announced, and the first AirPort based product which I've looked at and gone "Actually, that would be useful" since I'm a laptop user. Perfect complement for the Air as well, as you can leave your printer plugged into it. I expect a software update for them soon as well which will let them share the external SuperDrive wirelessly, so you can keep everything connected to your Time Capsule and just wander around with your Air.

      iPhone updates were mostly guess
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        I agree, Time Capsule is what caught my attention (although if I didn't need the horsepower and ports of my MBP I would definitely be looking to pick up an Air). When you consider that TC is a full fledged Airport, it's price isn't too bad. I was looking at getting a wireless N/A router, possibly an airport, but I'll probably grab a TC now. I haven't used Time Machine because the machine I really need backed up regularly is my notebook, which is almost never connected to anything except power with wires.
  • I love how the legions of slashdot Apple haters come out for any Mac, iPod, iPhone, or OS X story and tag it !news. Here's a hint, to most of the normal world, 99% of news on slashdot is !news. So I'll invoke my other favorite (not) quip now and just say if you don't like Apple news stories, than STFU already. Go ahead an call me a "fanboi" and just get the trifecta of deplorable and intellectually devoid comments out there. And no, I didn't RTFA.

    4. Profit!

  • ..let's not forget Slashdot's favorite insider: As Seen On TV [slashdot.org]
    Many thought it was the very Steve Jobs... What could have happened with him?

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