There were days when all you did as an avid Apple enthusiast was follow rumors that would trickle in about an impending product launch or an impending software update or the best, an impending new category launch, like the iPhone. Remember back in 2007, everyone knew that Apple was working on a phone but no one knew what it was all about? Those were really exciting days, weren't they? Why is not fun anymore, reading Apple rumors, like this one showing some flex cable for sleep/wake buttons for the iPhone 6 [AppleInsider], for example. I will tell you exactly why!
Firstly at this time of the year, when there have been steady rumors about the iPhone 6 from last year or so, it is a no brainer to guess that Apple is going to release a new iPhone and from past record this is the 'even' year in which you can expect a design overhaul rather than feature enrichment, like the 'S" series boast. Also from all the hoopla about the bigger Android smartphones and though Apple's iPhone 5S, the smallest of the popular smartphones, is the most popular in the world, everyone (including Apple themselves) knows that Apple needs a bigger iPhone (they did this moving front the iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4, anyway). So a new iPhone model this year, mostly around Fall, with a bigger screen is all but certain.
The first ever rumors of the chassis of the purported new iPhone 6 were interesting, heck even I posted an "investigative" blog post on calculating the actual screen size from a badly contorted, bad quality image. That was fun! However now everyday some crap spills out of as another leaked iPhone 6 part and somehow it is not alluring anymore. Why? The reason is that we like to be surprised, like Apple always believes. We might not accept it, but we do, as consumers and Apple enthusiasts, we like that fact that Apple can awe us with some great new device, that none of us thought can be put together to work the way Apple does. But at the same time we don't want to be in total darkness either, we want to know some tidbits here and there, some sneak peaks, teasers. So ideally these rumors should be in a way that they reveal very tiny details that trigger our curiosity but should not play a spoilsport, by revealing too much.
Well all this started with the infamous iPhone 4, bar fiasco. I remember distinctly how bad I felt for both Apple and myself. I wanted Steve Jobs to be on stage and take out the iPhone 4 from his pocket and astonish me with its all new unibody, Aluminum design. But instead it was a darn Gizmodo blog post with pics that were no where close to Apple's quality or finish that I had to endure that revealed the iPhone 4! I understand why Gizmodo did it, as bloggers and blog readers, we all are too well aware of how important page views are. But it was literally like you spoiling the surprise party that your spouse was planning for your birthday, by tapping into her phone calls and worse revealing it to her that you know what she has planned and that its not a surprise anymore. That warrants for a divorce definitely, and a divorce did happen, Gizmodo is still blacklisted from all Apple events.
When the iPhone was being researched, in 2006/2007, it was inside a tightly shut research lab with extreme security (read Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs book for more details on this) and no one other than a select few knew what it was about. Then the iPhone became popular, from selling a few million devices in the first year to almost 200 million devices in 2013. When this many people buy iPhones, you need to manufacture this many iPhones and you cannot do it in the US (let us not get into that debate, as to why this is so) and hence it has to outsourced to Asia. Cupertino labs are easier to control for Apple to keep a tight lid on impending new product secrets, but located almost 30,000 miles away, the Asian supply chain in out of Apple's control. So it should be of no surprise that the recent iPhone rumors are more like pre Apple launch, third party "spoilsport" pseudo launches rather than rumors revealing tiny bits of interesting information about future Apple products. And the worse part is that I don't think Apple can do anything about it, at least not until, it buys Foxconn or something.
In contrast take this WWDC, 2014 for example, think about how many things we had heard very little about or nothing at all were unleashed. Of course 9to5mac revealed things like HealthKit, HomeKit, etc., but even those did not come to light until the very last minute. By the way I don't believe even for a second that Apple changed the name of its platform from HealthBook to HealthKit and more importantly the interface, just because 9to5mac outed it. It is as ridiculous as it sounds and though 9to5mac would want believe this fairy tale, Apple has not been known to change App design for trivial reasons like this, but rather because it felt that it was the best design for its customers. Also remember Swift, the new programming language for Apple devices, no one saw that coming. Ok but one can still argue that these were software features and since all the software is developed in house at Apple in Cupertino, it is easy for the company to maintain secrecy. But how about the rumored iWatch (or iTime is it, please no)? Yes we have been hearing rumors about this mysterious product for a while now, but we still don't have even a basic idea of what it is supposed be. Of course others have jumped the gun and started copying Apple even before it has announced its version of the smartwatch, this time, but lets just hope Apple's iWatch is nothing like what have been announced by other companies, as others don't even stack up as dumb watches so far! The story is the same for the rumored iPad Pro or the Apple TV (2.0) or the 12" MacBook (Air or Pro). We have heard rumors about these and some interesting tidbits even, but nothing solid as the iPhone rumors.
So in conclusion, we can't expect Apple to hold a tight lid on a new version of a product like the iPhone, which is probably the post popular electronic device in the world, not when it is selling like hot cakes. But other relatively "niche" or newer products should be no problem for Apple to keep a secret. We can only just hope that our beloved rumor sites, don't encourage cheap page view and publicity mongers (whose sources are mostly through stolen parts front the supply chain in Asia) so as to not spoil the surprise and awe we all long for from Apple's products and product launches.