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Notebook Event Rumor Wrapup: Winners and Losers


With even more media attention on Apple and the rumors surrounding the latest release, more sites have gone out of their way to call out those who got things wrong. While this has given an opportunity for some to say that you shouldn't listen rumors at all, I think it just goes to show that sources matter and not all rumors are created equal.

Much of the blame is being targeted at the Inquistr site who initiated the false rumor that Apple would be releasing an $800 MacBook based on what they described as a "reliable" source. Since we are unable to question these sources directly, the reliablity and reputation falls on the reporting sites that vet these rumors. As has been shown in the past, sites that have little experience in handling Apple rumors have proven to be less reliable.

The Inquisitr was not the only source to suggest price drops, however. Analyst Piper Jaffray has been expecting price drops on both MacBook and MacBook Pros since July. Initially they expected more modest drops (MacBook $1099->$999 and MacBook Pro $1999->$1799), but in the week before the release suggested the prices would fall to as low as $899 even for the aluminum models. It's no secret that we put less value in analyst reports as its difficult to distinguish what is speculation, original information or simply the reciting of circulating rumors.

Winners

The Chinese/Taiwanese web continues to be a major source of photos of unreleased Apple products. Apple.Pro was the most surprising source of legitimate Apple product images this round. Unfortunately, the site has been inconsistent. While their original MacBook Pro images and aluminum casings were spot on, their MacBook images and video were clearly wrong.

Meanwhile, detailed images of the MacBook Pro "brick" enclosure originated from Chinese forums with high quality images finally leaked. It appears that MacHome.com.cn was the original source of these images.

9to5Mac proves itself once more with their long-running "brick" rumor. 9to5Mac revealed that Apple had moved to a new manufacturing process for the new MacBook and also first described the inclusion of a glass trackpad. While they did miss a few other details (plastic MacBooks), the specificity of their accurate information is hard to ignore.

AppleInsider remains a consistent source of accurate Apple rumors. They were the first to reveal that Apple's notebooks would adopt aluminum enclosures akin to the iMac and MacBook Air. Early spottings of MacBook Pros on Apple Campus accurately described the elimination of the Firewire 400 port and "what appear[ed] to be" a mini-DVI port, which turned out to be a mini-DisplayPort. AppleInsider was also the first to report the surprising news that Apple was migrating away from Intel chipsets and was able to later confirm the NVIDIA chipsets.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber accurately predicted that October 14 would be the release date for Apple's new notebooks. Gruber later had a detailed description of the new laptops, though this information didn't come until the evening before their release.

Despite a lively forum debate, it's also clear that Engadget's JR source has had access to photographs of new Apple hardware immediately prior to their launch.

Losers

- Inquisitr - $800 Apple MacBook
- Piper Jaffray - $899 Aluminum MacBooks
- PCPer - MacBook Air shown but not released until January
- PhoneNews - Apple to update MacBook Air with faster processors (August)
- Kevin Rose - Blu-Ray in notebooks (though to be fair, Rose suggested this was from a "bad" source)
- Jason Calacanis - no Apple networked television (though no timeframe was given for the product)
- Fake mockups: one, two, three

Up Ahead

The next major Apple event that is scheduled is Macworld San Francisco 2009 in January 2009, though there has been a suggestion that we may see minor iMac updates prior to then.

Related roundup: MacBook Air