The comments, published earlier today by Boy Genius Report, attributed a series of email-based replies to Jobs, including the responses:
"No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors. Calm down."
"You are most likely in an area with very low signal strength."
"You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it."
"Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it."
After the report was picked up and spread by various blogs, BGR corrected it, saying the last line was actually written by the customer, and not Jobs.
Shortly after the edit was made, Philip Elmer-DeWitt of the Fortune Apple 2.0 blog reported that a top Apple public relations spokesperson, speaking on the record, "emphatically denied" that Steve Jobs "was the author of any of these statements."
AppleInsider had previously reported that the source of the email exchange had originally offered the emails as a story, "for sale," without asking for a specific price.
The incident highlights an emerging trend where blog sites quickly publish alleged email conversations with Apple's chief executive under "exclusive" headlines designed to attract attention, with little or no effort made to either verify or or qualify the emails as potentially fake.
Many reports of email-based exchanges describe "verifying email headers," which is a completely unreliable method of determining the legitimacy of a purported exchange. Email headers are trivial to fake, and even a real email exchange could be edited afterward without any indication in the email headers or elsewhere.