Creating a False Trail

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-09-05 Print this article Print


5. Creating a false trail

Apple has long been a leader in making people think about its products by baiting them into developing an insatiable desire to learn more and more about its upcoming devices. Who knows if the reports that the latest iPhone model went missing aren't more of the same? There is some speculation around the Web that Apple might have intentionally let the device go missing to throw folks off the scent of the real iPhone 5. Whether or not that's true will never be known, of course. But Apple's past false trail techniques have proven quite effective. And there's no reason to suggest it won't use them again.

6. Anyone can say anything

The problem with rumors is that they can't be easily substantiated. Like it or not, Apple is the only company that knows what it has planned. And at least so far, it isn't talking. The rumor mill can say anything it wants without fear of being wrong, since Apple won't say anything one way or another. It's an issue that folks must keep in mind with the iPhone 5.

7. Apple uses it to its advantage

If Apple really wanted to stop the rumor mill from continuing to churn out information, it could do so without much trouble. It could simply showcase some new products or features and immediately put the speculation to rest. But Apple doesn't want to do that. It realizes how important the rumor mill is to the popularity of its products, like the iPhone 5, and so, without publicly admitting it, the company lets rumors run amok so it can benefit. It's an ingenious strategy, and it's something that only helps to feed into the hysteria across the Web.

8. There is no recourse for getting it wrong

What happens when a person offering up a rumor related to the iPhone 5 gets it wrong? Right now, nothing. If their predictions happen to be incorrect, they talk about the feature that was actually made available. And in the process, their credibility as a verifiable source of Apple information doesn't get hurt one bit. There's simply no risk when it comes to iPhone 5 rumors, which makes the flood of reports continue to rise.

9. Fake devices are everywhere

Nearly every week, images crop up claiming to show the future iPhone 5. They show smartphone cases with big displays, different colors and just about everything in between. While it's certainly possible that at least a few of those could be the iPhone 5, in most cases, they're simply faked photos or mockups of prototypes that will never hit store shelves.

10. There's no telling an iPhone 5 even exists

Perhaps the biggest issue with the iPhone 5 rumor mill is that there's no way to verify for sure that Apple's next smartphone will, in fact, be the iPhone 5. There is some speculation that Apple will simply offer an improved version of the iPhone 4, called the iPhone 4S. If that happens, all the suggestions about the iPhone 5 will be dead wrong. Simply put, all the speculation surrounding the iPhone 5 might relate to a device that doesn't even exist.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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