Has Apple Stopped Caring about Rumors?

by Albert Wan Jan 29, 2010

The iPad is probably one of the worst kept secrets ever to come out of Cupertino. For years, rumor sites have speculated its release, anticipating that it will be released in WWDC, Macworld, or a separate Apple event. Only in the past couple months have all sources—from Engadget to the Wall Street Journal—pointed towards this "magical and revolutionary" device.

Apple has never let the rumors run wild in the past. For many years, talk of future Apple products has always been in speculation and secrecy, almost to the level of CIA operations and classifications. From a "hardware manufacturer" to "someone inside Apple" leaking Apple's next product. Apple would oftentimes resort to cease-and-desist letters and pay off rumor sites from releasing such material to the masses.

One of the most notable Mac rumors sites was Think Secret. The now-defunct Think Secret was famous for providing spot-on Apple announcements and product updates, most notably the Mac mini and iWork for the 2005 Macworld Keynote as well as the new iPod nano in 2006. The editor was accused of violating trade secret laws, and was forced to shut down in 2007.

However, this is in heavy contrast to what has happened most notably with the iPad, the unibody MacBook Pro, and the 3rd Gen and 4th Gen iPod nano. Tens (if not hundreds) of sources claimed the tablet was indeed real and would be announced at an early 2010 keynote months in advance. How come Apple hasn't shushed them or shut down their websites?

Two reasons come to mind as to why Apple has stopped caring about its rumors. One notable one is that Apple enjoys these rumors, and is intentionally leaking photos and sources "from the inside." Apple wishes to tease the market first, generate buzz, and experience the reaction before such a product is officially announced. However, what makes this reason improbable is that such specifications, product rumors, and images are leaked weeks, rather than months before the actual event. If Apple were to experience a completely negative reaction to the product, they would have no choice but to release it anyway, since backup product announcements are unlikely. Luckily, this has generally not been the case for Apple, allowing it to go ahead with the product announcement. In the case of the iPad, however, it has been an ongoing rumor for ages.

Another reason is simply the power of the Internet. As experienced with piracy websites, if one is shut down, another five will be created in its place. Apple could simply not have the resources or the funds to continuously shut down rumor sites, and had probably decided that, like a piracy site, targeting the leakers themselves as opposed to the consumer would be a cost-beneficial solution.

Regardless, Apple will continue to have a cult following. Its users seem to enjoy speculating about future products, and Apple appears to benefit greatly from such rumors and leaks.


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