Apple mellowing its tone on leaks?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Following years of near-constant legal notices and other attempts to silence leaks and control the press, Apple appears to be softening its stance on rumors, an investigation suggests.



Best known as "Nick de Plume" from the now shuttered rumor site Think Secret, Nick Ciarelli explains that a quick poll of high-profile Apple news and rumor sites reveals that none of them have lately had to contend with the cease-and-desist requests that defined the community in the past.



While as late as last year the Mac and iPod maker was forcing stories offline, a number of reports in 2008 have remained active even when they were later confirmed as almost entirely accurate; this includes very detailed leaks that have ranged from iPhone 3G shells to fourth-generation iPod nano photos as well as detailed descriptions of Mac updates and software.



The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's approach is particularly soft in comparison to its approach at the peak of its anti-rumor efforts in 2004 and 2005. The company at the time ultimately resorted to direct legal action in an attempt to quash late rumors that potentially spoiled its launch plans, such as an attempt to subpoena AppleInsider for the source of a leak of the since-aborted Asteroid audio device as well as a full lawsuit against Think Secret for revealing the Mac mini and the iWork suite.



These attempts produced mixed results for Apple. Although it negotiated a settlement that ultimately took Think Secret offline, the electronics giant was ultimately denied its subpoenas and asked to pay the legal defense fees of AppleInsider and others who had claimed a right to protect their sources.



It's not known whether the shift is a permanent one, or what if anything has triggered the reversal. Ciarelli speculates that many of the sites now publishing rumors are too large to be easily targeted for legal action: the Mac mini leak catapulted Think Secret into the New York Times and made the story harder to ignore, while many larger news outlets now either search for these rumors or else have their own sources.



Apple may also have determined it was producing the opposite effect through its actions, the writer says. In addition to generating negative buzz, the company has in many cases ironically confirmed rumors by sending cease-and-desist requests or other alerts only to sites publishing accurate leaks.



By allowing rumors to foster without comment, Apple is said to be keeping the attention focused on its announcements while also leaving room for a small amount of uncertainty that perpetuates interest in its launch events.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Is speculation about a rumor still considered to be a rumor......
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ByronVanArsdale View Post


    Is speculation about a rumor still considered to be a rumor......



    It is a metarumor.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    Quote:

    By allowing rumors to foster without comment, Apple is said to be keeping the attention focused on its announcements while also leaving room for a small amount of uncertainty that perpetuates interest in its launch events.



    This may have been true up until Kevin Rose basically took over for Steve Jobs and pre announced everything to a "T" prior to the last event.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    probablyprobably Posts: 139member
    The best strategy is taking action sometimes and randomly.



    That's what you do to get animals addicted to the rewards.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,274member
    I think it's a little about timing and accuracy. If the timing is right, then what the heck, bring on the rumors. But if the timing is shaky, like the Asteroid audio device, then I think Apple will flex their muscles.



    These latest Brick rumors might be healthy if correct, and healthy if incorrect. It means people expect innovation from Apple. And rumors about new Macs are nothing to worry about. But a rumor with detailed information about Apple getting into a completely new business segment might be fragile if the timing is bad. Perhaps Apple is in negotiations with a lot of partners and then this rumor pops up with details about whom they're negotiating with. This could hurt Apple's business tactics... blades will be crossed and heads will roll



    But what the heck. Maybe they just suck it all in and grind their teeth in an effort to perfect the art of "Not commenting on rumors."
  • Reply 6 of 17
    alienzedalienzed Posts: 393member
    Quote:

    Apple may also have determined it was producing the opposite effect through its actions, the writer says. In addition to generating negative buzz, the company has in many cases ironically confirmed rumors by sending cease-and-desist requests or other alerts only to sites publishing accurate leaks.



    exactly!
  • Reply 7 of 17
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    It is interesting to keep in mind that if Apple is secretly building its own factory(s) it means it has a longer term, still serious, approach to containing leaks.



    The China/Taiwan side of things has not helped, in addition to "whistleblowers" within the US.



    The billion dollar question is which leaks are orchestrated by Apple PR, and which are actual leaks.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    It is interesting to keep in mind that if Apple is secretly building its own factory(s) it means it has a longer term, still serious, approach to containing leaks.



    The China/Taiwan side of things has not helped, in addition to "whistleblowers" within the US.



    The billion dollar question is which leaks are orchestrated by Apple PR, and which are actual leaks.



    Okay - I'll bite. What is the story about their own factories?



    There's a sucker born every day they say and so, is the factory rumour common knowledge or did you just reel me in, hook line and sinker!
  • Reply 9 of 17
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    The billion dollar question is which leaks are orchestrated by Apple PR, and which are actual leaks.



    Right. It is much cheaper for Apple to leak misinformation than to litigate all the time.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post


    Okay - I'll bite. What is the story about their own factories?



    There's a sucker born every day they say and so, is the factory rumour common knowledge or did you just reel me in, hook line and sinker!



    A rumour that came to fruition over the weekend.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    A rumour that came to fruition over the weekend.



    Thanks for that, I'll follow it up.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    I think Apple have realised that it can use the blogs and rumour sites to do the advertising for them. For example most of us only know about special events before hand from such sites.



    Using these sites often means zero advertising spend for Apple.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    While reading the rumors is enjoyable I would be sad to see no surprises at any of the Keynotes. "One more thing" (TM ?) is one of the better things in life! And we would no longer have the long list of just what Apple might announce before the Keynote.



    Sorry Arn, but I hope Apple keeps you working hard and missing from time to time. If there were no more secrets then AI would have a hard time. Keep up the license just in case.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    A rumour that came to fruition over the weekend.



    It's either going to be really cool or really false. Until there is some clarifying information, I'm going with really false based on that article, at least on the whole "make the shell from a block" thing. The energy costs to do what they claim have to be insane, and the material cost would have to be a lot higher too, using more energy and materials goes against their green policy.



    In contrast, stamping a thin piece of aluminum has to be a lot cheaper, faster, less energy intensive and less material intensive than pretty much any method of hollowing out a brick to replace a thin aluminum shell.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    It is interesting to keep in mind that if Apple is secretly building its own factory(s) it means it has a longer term, still serious, approach to containing leaks.



    The China/Taiwan side of things has not helped, in addition to "whistleblowers" within the US.



    The billion dollar question is which leaks are orchestrated by Apple PR, and which are actual leaks.





    On building their own factory; Makes sense since it is cheaper to build here than in China with the depressed real estate market. Labor costs are still higher but China is catching-up fast in that area as well. Black-box is the perfect name for their secretive factory. It would be great to see Apple bring back the manufacturing and know-how to the US.



    On the billion dollar question; I take Jobs at his word that he doesn't want to leak anything before its time. The Apple TV and iPhone were both pre-announced but may have been so for leverage purposes.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    No issue let's wait.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Could the real answer be as simple as... They are busy with real lawsuits and filing patents to be concerned about the rumor mill. Apple has grown several orders of magnitude within the past few years and trying to contain leaks is like sticking your finger in the dike.
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