China, Al Gore, analysts? Almost all of the recent rumors–and there have been plenty–can be traced back to one of eight types of sources.
It seems like theres been a new iPhone rumor–if not two–every day for months now. But where do all theiPhone 5 rumorscome from? Some say it will be released in June…or August…or October and it will have a tear-drop shape, or a Transylvanian bevel, or come equipped with its own cloaking device. Ok, some of those may have been the product of too much Mountain Dew and SyFy before bed, but the iPhone rumor mill is nearly as wacky.
Part of the reason is that Apple is so tight-lipped about everything, it leaves the rest of the world grasping at straws to guess what the company has in store. And sometimes it seems like those straws are laced with hallucinogens that get passed up the tech gossip food chain, translated, re-translated, and then synthesized by the likes of us here at CNET to see how it fits into the big picture of what we might already know about the new iPhone. Unfortunately, much of that knowledge probably also came from similar straws.
With each new rumor we always try to convey a sense of where the information is coming from and how trustworthy the source seems to be. Theres actually manymoreiPhone rumors out there that never see the light of day because we and other media outlets deem the sources to be too unreliable.
I took a look back at the rumors that seemed worth reporting between June and now and was able to trace almost all of them–and there were plenty–back to one of eight types of sources.
1.China and other spots along the Apple supply chain: Perhaps the biggest source of rumors this iPhone cycle has been Asia, whether its product leaks from the massiveFoxconn factoriesthat manufacture and assemble the bulk of Apple products, or from the many component makers spread across the region, or even the smallest after-marketaccessory makerchurning out cheap off-brand iPhone cases. For the past year its been a steady stream of clues coming from these sources based on design drawings, covert photos of components, orinventory labels,美容 or some other tiny tidbit. Of course, the supply chain does also reach all the way to these United States, where CNET reported on duelingBest Buy leaksearlier this year.
2.Sketchy translations of Japanese and Chinese blogs: These days, Google Translate may be one of the biggest enablers of the iPhone rumor mill. Each country has its own tech gossip infrastructure, and because Asian countries wake up before us each day and are physically closer to those device-manufacturing facilities, their blogs often getearly scoops. For whatever reason, though, most of them are uneven in their reliability at best.
3.A combination of bad Asian news translations and implications read into minute details of a slideshow presentation:Sometimes the rumor mongers really go the long way to make a connection, likethis exampleinvolving thepossibility of HSPA connectivitycoming to theiPhone 5. Remember, this is one that we deemed worth writing about, so you can imagine the crazy suppositions that dont make it through, like the one about the iPhone 5 discovered in the belly of a fish caught off the coast of Mexico. That one turned out to be a joke poking fun at the silliness of all the iPhone rumors–oh sweet irony.
4.Anonymous sources: So manyanonymous sourcestalking to so many blogs and news outlets. But who are they, and can they be trusted? In my experience–reporting on all sorts of things, not just iPhones–Ive been approached by all different sorts of folks wanting to talk on condition of anonymity. This includes, but is not limited to, analysts, PR people, other bloggers and journalists, 外汇 former employees who think they know something, former employees who actually know something, former employees with a clear axe to grind, delivery people who may have seen something they shouldnt have, friends of the delivery guy, and even occasionally, current employees who actually know what theyre talking about. Well soon find out who has the best sources for iPhone 5 information, but so far The Wall Street Journal and our friends at All Things Digital have the best batting average. Their sourcesproved correctabout the only thing we now know for sure–that the iPhone will be unveiled this week.
5.Random guesses based on the schedules of other companies: A popular source of rumors this go-round has been the carriers and other companies with relationships with Apple.AT&Tand other companies warned their employees to expect a busy October, and word even leaked out of Apple retail stores that vacation days were a no-no in October. Even the scheduled dates forTwitter developer eventshave fueled iPhone release speculation.
6.Al Gore: It only makes sense that the man who invented the Internet and/or climate change–depending on who you ask–would have theinside scoop on the next iPhone(s).
7.Analysts:Perhaps the most reliable group on this list, analysts are often briefed on many tech companies plans, and lots of other companies pay big bucks for their holisticknowledgeof an industry. In other words, they have actual inside information and stand to lose the most if they get it wrong.
8.Detective developers:By far my favorite group on this list (sorry, Mr. Vice President) are the clever developers who encounter iPhone clues from time to time from pieces of data that would be completely esoteric or indecipherable to mere mortals. Check out how these developersdiscovered evidence of a dual mode iPhone 5.
Seems like theres a big business opportunity for at least one group that we didnt see any rumors from this year–anyone know a goodiPadpsychic?
Eric MackCrave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer and radio producer based high in the Rocky Mountains in a one bar service area (for both drinks and 3G). Hespublished e-books on Android and Alaska, and is a contributing editor for Crowdsourcing.org and A New Domain. He also contributesto NPR, Gizmag, and Edmunds Inside Line.E-mail Eric.
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