Rumor Roundup: Selective skepticism
Many websites have learned the hard way that any 15-year-old kid with a copy of Photoshop and too much time on his hands can easily brew up a convincing "leaked" Apple product. Justifiably, then, these same sites sometimes greet photos of leaked parts with a degree of skepticism. Now, if only they'd employ that same skepticism when evaluating the nonsense that spews from legions of so-called "analysts."
Foxconn is hiring a bunch of people, which means everyone immediately breaks out their Jump to Conclusions mats and leaps toward the "New iPhone!" square. Maybe, maybe not. Foxconn does build a lot of products for companies besides Apple, you know.
You know a rumor is a stinker when Mac-"Digitimes reports that"-Rumors takes time out to debunk it. All snark aside, they did an excellent job ripping this fake photo a new one.
The Vietnamese source of this rumor has been a reliable source of information on unreleased Apple products many times before. And since neither of these features sound particularly outlandish, I'd put this one in the (very small) "plausible" rumor pile.
I find myself in full agreement with 9to5 Mac on this one. If Apple did engage in "talks" with Facebook about integrating Facebook Home in iOS, I bet those talks didn't get much farther than someone at Apple saying, "LOL. No." Apple's not going to relinquish that much control over the iOS user experience to a third party. Anyone who honestly believes otherwise hasn't been paying attention to the "walled garden" and "Big Brother Apple" cliches that have been flying around for the past five years.
Gene "Apple HDTV coming in 201x" Munster turns his gaze upon another long-rumored but never seen product: the "budget iPhone." A bunch of made-up numbers follow like a stream of... well, let's just say, "something you wouldn't want to see in your kitchen" and leave it at that.
BGR busts out with the word "purported" for this story, which is a photo of a physical object -- a case allegedly designed around the next-gen iPad's form factor. I wonder if BGR is anywhere near as objective about stories sourced from "analysts" and/or daydreaming pundits?
Nope; not an ounce of skepticism here. Some guy at Forbes says there is nothing new under Apple's sun for the rest of this year, and BGR re-reports it without a trace of incredulity.
Similarly, BGR completely takes "analyst" Peter Misek's ravings about Apple's product roadmap for 2013 at face value... in spite of the fact that Misek has been demonstrably wrong about all things Apple on many, many, many occasions.
So here's how the score shapes up: Leaked photos of physical objects = cautious skepticism. Some analyst says something about Apple = STOP THE PRESSES. I've singled out BGR this week, but it's the same story with most of the rumor blogs out there right now.
The relationship between "analysts" and the rumor blogs reminds me of all the little old ladies I used to see camped out in front of slot machines in Vegas. The odds of hitting a sizeable jackpot were vanishingly low, but there they sat anyway, pulling those levers or pushing those buttons over and over again in the vain hope that this time it might pay off.
Read any analyst source's "research note" or "note to investors" and keep a tally of how many times he/she says, "We think" or "We believe." These people have no proof for any of these claims about Apple, its products, its potential financial performance, or its future roadmap. None. They are guessing. Their guesses are wrong far more often than they are right. They are not worth taking seriously. At all. Speaking of sources not worth taking seriously...
"Digitimes reports that" --BZZZT! Next.
From the article: "We also can not verify whether this is indeed a legitimate rear shell for Apple's lower-cost iPhone. It could simply be manufactured based on circulating rumors, but even if fake it could be an accurate representation if it is based on design specs leaking through case makers."
In other words: It could be real. It could be fake. We don't know. It's anybody's guess, really. Journalism! *jazz hands*
Is there any other industry where such inconsequential leaks get so much attention? "BREAKING: Gas cap for 2014-model BMW K1300R surfaces (pics)"
Some analyst is screaming for Apple to "[do] SOMETHING" by September. Apparently making obscenely huge amounts of money every three months doesn't count as doing SOMETHING -- all that matters is that everything Apple's selling right now is literally MONTHS old. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY, APPLE? I need an iPhone 5S, an iWatch, and an Apple HDTV, and I need them NOW, or I WALK.
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