The Problem with Apple’s Secrecy

With WWDC just days away, there’s no shortage of Apple rumors…

I’ve been in the computing biz for a long time.  I began my freelance writing career back in 1996 CMPnet’s File Mine.  The site has long since disappeared, and CMPnet’s resources are now owned by UBM, which owns Information Week and BYTE (where I also appear regularly.)   Funny how some things go full circle.

Anyway, I’ve grown from a freelance review writer into a technology journalist over the years and if there’s one thing that anyone in this capacity will tell you, it’s that trying to figure out what Apple is going to do is hard…if not nearly impossible.

However, it does seem to be the national Geekdom pastime.  Everyone and their brother seems to be trying to figure out exactly what Apple has cooking and when it’s going to be released to the general public. During my time as a freelancer and technology journalist, I’ve learned one very important thing when it comes to prognosticating the Cupertino-way – Don’t bother.

Apple’s culture of extreme secrecy has in the past led to nearly every major site on the internet, both friend and foe to Apple, either supporting or discounting the latest rumor about iPad. While this perpetual rumor mill certainly helps generate hype and excitement, it often results in nothing substantial, except perhaps, the level of hype and excitement around a particular Apple product release or update.

For Apple, this is great. They get gobs of free advertising and lines of people outside their stores waiting for their chance to buy the latest product to come out of Jony Ivy’s design studio. It’s also a big problem for them, because they have people camped out in bars waiting for employees to misplace iPhone prototypes and such.

For consumers, it doesn’t do much of anything other than drive the hype. It can also lead to some big let-downs when a highly desirable feature for iPad isn’t implemented or isn’t implemented the way it was rumored, or to a user’s liking.  However, there is one last issue with Apple rumors…

The people starting them or spreading them are more often than not, wrong.

For someone trying to get a handle on the next best thing coming from Apple whether its iPhone, iPad, Macs or any other bright, shiny new toy (like their rumored, HDTV, for example), the best thing to do is just wait it out.  Don’t count on the information you’re getting being at all accurate. It likely won’t be.

Sure..! It’s fun to speculate.  The articles are fun and interesting to read and can be quite thought provoking at times.  It may give you something to talk about at work during a break, or at your friend’s desk. But understand it for what it is…noise.

Even industry analysts…the guys who do all the research and provide investors with predictions on what’s going to be hot or not… haven’t been able to get it consistently right when it comes to Apple; and those guys are REALLY smart and have deep, inside contacts at this, that or the other “trusted partner’s” installation.

Cracking the Apple nut isn’t easy. Its hit or miss at best. Those that have any success, in my estimation, are lucky; or… weighing in on what currently out there and playing the odds on what seems most likely to happen.
So what’s the problem with Apple’s secrecy?  Nothing much… Despite all the rumor mills, there aren’t a lot of people out there that seem to be getting through their “cone of silence.”

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