View Full Version : The Rumour Game: How Rumours Hurt Apple

Jan 9, 2005, 08:38 PM
Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: The Rumour Game: How Rumours Hurt Apple (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050109213828)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Jan 9, 2005, 09:23 PM
I totally agree. This guy is always right on.

Jan 9, 2005, 09:27 PM
I was wondering the same exact thing the day the made the suits. Maybe Apple is trying to send us a subliminal message. :confused:

Sun Baked
Jan 9, 2005, 09:41 PM
In the trade secrets cases, they have to sue before the news hits the public domain (still within the company's window of secrecy.)

If they file the lawsuit, then the defendent will claim that the news at the time of the lawsuit was already released into the public domain by the company and does not constitute a secret.

Jan 9, 2005, 10:30 PM
Let's all be prepared for a headless iMac at $599 as AI and others have suggested... or higher, if the machine even exists... NOT at $499 as only ThinkSecret has said.

Even a $649 headless with iBook-like specs and a great design could be a great buy--shop at Dell.com and start adding what's missing from their bottom machines, and you'll soon know that! But Apple would still get a needless backlash if it happens--just because TS made people EXPECT $499.

Compare that disappointment (trust me, these forums are the place to witness it :D) vs. the excitement that WOULD have been there instead, if Apple announced a $599 headless totally out of the blue, with no rumor sites in the way!

(This is an example case--I'm not saying $499 is impossible, though I remain skeptical.)

Anyway Daring Fireball makes some good points as usual:

Quite obviously, Think Secret has sources that other rumor sites do not. But these sources have not proved entirely accurate — at least by the standards of accuracy of a credible publication — and it’s the inaccuracies, and the resulting false expectations of Apple’s customers, which are most detrimental to Apple.

We need only go back one year for an example demonstrating both Think Secret’s less-than-accurate record, and how their inaccurate reporting damages Apple. On 23 December 2003, Think Secret reported the following:

Reliable sources inside and outside of Apple have confirmed Apple will announce the new pocket-size iPods in a number of capacities and in various colors, including stripes. Capacities will be 2 and 4GB — meaning users could store some 400 and 800 songs, respectively. Prices will start at around $100US, Think Secret has learned. It is not known if the new product line will be available immediately after introduction.

It is also expected that current iPod models will be revamped to add body colors as well.

...When Steve Jobs announced the $249 price during the keynote, the audience’s disappointment was palpable.

Yes, I'd say rumors can hurt Apple's product releases. Not just true ones, but FALSE ones given too much credibility.

I sure hope none of the recent rumors are false. But SOME of them WILL be! There's even a chance there is no headless iMac at all... but if there is, the price could well be higher than we've had fun expecting. (And if so, that's nothing against TS--how could they be right 100% of the time?)

I find rumors fun, and TS is the best rumor site lately... but I WILL be disappointed when/if the headless iMac is $649, or doesn't exist. That's too bad, because if TS hadn't published, I'd have found the $649 iMac interesting instead of disappointing. Suddenly rumors are making MacWorld less fun, not more...

It could happen.

(PS... SunBaked, I bet you've hit the nail on the head! Lawsuit timing mystery solved?)

Jan 9, 2005, 10:32 PM
In the absence of information there will be speculation. Secrecy inevitably leads to speculation. When a little bit of information leaks out speculation will fill in the blanks, such as pricing. But speculation also provides Apple with a clearer idea of consumer expectations, even when those expectations are difficult or impossible to meet.

Apple simply does not have the right to deny a person from having expectations and voicing their opinions. Apple can only attempt to influence and respond to expectations through marketing and product development. Such efforts have a reasonable limit and should not infringe upon free speech or free press. Suing an employee who violated an NDA is reasonable but suing a web site operator who shared information submitted to them is not.

I feel it is silly to blame those who share such rumors outside of Apple. Anybody who has signed a nondisclosure agreement should obviously adhere to that agreement but the rest of us are exercising our rights to free speech and thought.

Jan 9, 2005, 10:38 PM
Anybody who has signed a nondisclosure agreement should obviously adhere to that agreement but the rest of us are exercising our rights to free speech and thought.

Daring Fireball agrees with you, and so do I. It's not a simple either/or issue.

Nobody's saying people are outside their RIGHTS to post rumors. But what rumor sites are rightfully doing CAN still cause harm sometimes. There's no doubt about that.

Personally, I'd be astonished if Apple's suit against TS held any water--UNLESS there are details we don't know about real illegal things TS did. I support TS's freedom of speech. Even if it cut demand for a new Mac by 75% (not likely! :D ), I'd STILL support their freedom of speech.

But I'd also see the harm. (Harm to Apple's not the end of the world, but it's certainly worth discussing on a Mac rumor forum.)

Also--TS has been wrong about things WITHOUT calling them "speculation." Speculation and rumors are two different things--rumors means you have a specific source of information, right or wrong. Speculation means guesswork. Both are important parts of rumor sites, and both are good fun! But speculation presented MORE strongly than that isn't good.

Just remember, even when TS cites "reliable sources," they are sometimes wrong. Like the $100 iPod Mini last year. Had they phrased that as "we speculate about pricing even as low as $100," expectations would not have been set so firmly by the keynote audience and others.

TS's sources are often RIGHT, too. I hope they're right this time.

Jan 10, 2005, 01:22 AM
Let's all be prepared for a headless iMac at $599 as AI and others have suggested... or higher, if the machine even exists... NOT at $499 as only ThinkSecret has said.

If its anything above $599 its going to bomb. Period. Esp at 1.25Ghz. At $499 it will be an unmitigated success. At $599 it will still be popular but not as much. It’s all about the numbers game. The question is if this IS focusing on the switcher just what is Apple's goal with this device? To make as many converts as possible or make as much money as possible while still converting some people over to the Mac? That is the question that needs to be answered.

As for rumors. It can go either way. Rumors can harm and can also help a company. It depends on how you look at it. From the POV of Apple it can harm them but truthfully its prob more about Jobs ego then anything else.

Jan 10, 2005, 01:47 AM
I know of some ways that TS can fight this Apple case. It's a rather easy win for TS if I say so. :)

Apple has nothing on them, and they are not held by any reason to comply with Apples demands.

Curious what TS official angle will be on this matter. :)

Rumors are rumors people if you live by them you are a sad individual who needs to get out more. :)

Laslo Panaflex
Jan 10, 2005, 01:55 AM
Really, when you think about it, a $499 headless mac is pretty crazy, considering there are ipods that cost more that that. I think that the headless mac, if it does exist, will be at least $599 to be eqaul to the highest price ipod. Of course, the prices of ipods could fall, which would then make the $499 price tag more feasable.

Oh well, whatever is announced, I will be there on tuesday in person to see it. :p

Jan 10, 2005, 02:10 AM
I totally agree. This guy is always right on.

Yeah, I agree. John Gruber's my hero.

Jan 10, 2005, 10:01 AM
Yeah, I agree. John Gruber's my hero.

I know, isn't he great? I started reading Daring fireball a few weeks ago after someone posted a link in another Macrumors forum to one of his pieces, and I have been glued ever since. His analysis is always detailed, thought provoking, and intellectually honest. I love it!

Jan 10, 2005, 10:56 AM
Good article, I have to agree with him.

Jan 10, 2005, 02:07 PM
Let's all be prepared for a headless iMac at $599 as AI and others have suggested... or higher, if the machine even exists... NOT at $499 as only ThinkSecret has said.
It can't cost much more than that, when the eMac (more powerful than the rumored headless iMac's specs) has a starting price of $799.

As much as people want a low-cost headless machine, how many will buy it for the same price as a more powerful eMac? I don't think there will be that many.

Of course, a $650 device with a feature set that makes it comparable to the eMac (not necessarily identical, of course) would sell. For instance, bundling it with a TV tuner card and an IR remote control could position it in the market against TiVo and Windows Media Center PCs.

Jan 10, 2005, 09:12 PM
I've been expecting it to be $599. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Jan 11, 2005, 06:01 PM
Well, we all know what it is now. Starting at $500. After upgrading the RAM to 512M and adding keyboard/mouse, the base model comes to $632. Which is good, but not great.

You can make a near-equivalent Dell system (2.4GHz Celeron, 512M RAM, 40G disk, Combo Drive, FireWire interface) for $558. The anti-Mac people will point to this and claim that Apple still costs too much, even though the Dell has substantially inferior video (Intel Extreme Graphics), an inferior software bundle, and a much larger (and heavier and noisier) case.

Jan 12, 2005, 02:38 AM
I think Nick dePlume should really re-access how his site affects Mac sales. I think his rumours and his sources are fine. He should just refrain from projecting price projections. Price really is something that only the Apple board would know, so speculating on price should be avoided by any and all rumour sites. I think it's just bad business.

Savage Henry
Jan 12, 2005, 02:45 AM
Good article, sound contextualisation of the subject and well worth the read.

Jan 13, 2005, 12:39 AM
I've been expecting it to be $599. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Well, one model is. But it starts at $499. I'm glad Nick was right, and glad it didn't turn into an iPod mini type of situation. People are still complaining, but what else is new. I'm kinda sorry we weren't more suprised. Maybe next time, I'll keep away for a few days.

(oh, who am I kidding?)