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How Apple Orchestrates Controlled Leaks, and Why

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the bite-of-fruit dept.

Apple 195

Lanxon writes "'I was a Senior Marketing Manager at Apple and I was instructed to do some controlled leaks,' confesses John Martellaro. Monday's article at the Wall Street Journal, which provided confirmation of an Apple tablet device, had all the earmarks of a controlled leak. Here's how Apple does it. Often Apple has a need to let information out, unofficially. The company has been doing that for years, and it helps preserve Apple's consistent, official reputation for never talking about unreleased products. The way it works is that a senior exec will come in and say, 'We need to release this specific information. John, do you have a trusted friend at a major outlet? If so, call him/her and have a conversation. Idly mention this information and suggest that if it were published, that would be nice. No e-mails!'"

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O rly? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30668874)

Whoda thought it?

Still waiting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30668894)

I'm still waiting for an photo ipod touch.

Re:Still waiting... (4, Funny)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669160)

I'm waiting for the iPhone Shuffle.

Marketing stunt. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669404)

I'm not surprised - this is just a marketing stunt. Most leaks are.

Have you ever wondered why car manufacturers do those maskings of test cars? It's the same thing - draw attention!

Of course - the public opinion is to deny or contradict, but that's just a play to keep the interest up.

If they wanted to be really secret then they would drop a lot of vapor regarding other things and other designs and draw away the attention from the real thing.

Re:Still waiting... (3, Funny)

Xenious (24845) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669430)

If they were released during the winter i'd say that is the dance you do to keep warm waiting outside in line to buy one.

It's a swipe to the right
type in that PIN
search for your app (there's one for that)
let the fun begin

It's the iPhone Shuffle

Re:Still waiting... (4, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669760)

I am waiting for iScored :-(

duh? (5, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30668898)

Thats how they all do it. Hell its even how the government does it. This isnt news, its well known common practice. Thats why its always fun when Apple goes after someone about a leak. Because in those situations, you KNOW Apple didnt authorize the leak and it makes you snicker.

Re:duh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30668948)

I think the point of the article is

"OMG Apple does what everyone else does.. but they're supposed to be all lovely and nice and cool and they love bunnies and kittens and would never do things like that."

Re:duh? (5, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669080)

"OMG Apple does what everyone else does..."

Not really. Most companies freely brag about their unreleased products in order to gain hype. Apple has everybody else brag about their products to gain hype. That keeps them legit and makes it hard to accuse them of announcing vaporware.

Re:duh? (4, Insightful)

Idaho (12907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669808)

Not really. Most companies freely brag about their unreleased products in order to gain hype. Apple has everybody else brag about their products to gain hype.

Exactly, a perfect example can be found here [nytimes.com] . Look how the article says "Microsoft and H.P. to Reveal Slate PC Ahead of Apple", and then proceeds with "The slate will be made by Hewlett-Packard and possibly available by mid-year, these people said."

Possibly available by mid-year. Right. It's the typical Microsoft strategy of announcing a product before the competitor, hoping that this will deter people from buying the competitors product. At least when Apple announces anything, you know you can order it from the Apple store the next day.

Re:duh? (2, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670444)

At least when Apple announces anything, you know you can order it from the Apple store the next day.

The iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007. It went on sale on June 29, 2007.

But hey, don't let a little thing like reality get in the way of your faith.

Re:duh? (3, Insightful)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670874)

I don't think he meant literally the next day, but his point is valid. When Apple announces something, it doesn't disappear after many delays as vaporware.

Re:duh? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670766)

At least when Apple announces anything, you know you can order it from the Apple store the next day.

... and have it delivered in three months or so.

Re:duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669572)

How does promoting your own products (called 'marketing') in a way guaranteed to draw more attention make Apple not "nice and cool and they love bunnies and kittens"?

Re:duh? (3, Interesting)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669098)

I think it also gives Apple a way to test reaction to its products without ever promising anything. That and along with the very active Apple news/rumor sites create a culture that just gets people exited about products, and builds anticipation. I'm sure often these leaks are red herrings too, which keep the "sources" from being accurate often enough to be trusted.

Re:duh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669338)

Here's a better way for Apple to test the reaction to their products:

1) Get together a bunch of homosexuals. There are plenty just up the road from Cupertino, in San Fran. Line them up with their backs to a wall.
2) Put a prototype of the Apple device inside of a box. Smear some human feces on it, to ensure accurate results. Seal it up, so the device isn't visible.
3) While holding the box containing the new device, walk past the homosexuals.
4) Record the total number of erections. Apple fanatics can sense the Apple products, even through the box and a layer of crap, and will become VERY excited.
5) Anything beyond 80% will surely be a success with the typical Apple market. Mass produce the device.
6) Profit.

Re:duh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669666)

Get together a bunch of homosexuals.

That's awful, and you should be modded down as a troll.

Personally, I have made a New Year's resolution to never again impugn the masculinity of Apple users, after I did so once, and received many replies from them, threatening to give me such a slap.

Re:duh? (3, Informative)

Sophira (1364317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669368)

Except that they shut Think Secret down, remember?

Re:duh? (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669502)

But that goes to my other point. It was obvious Think Secret from the getgo was getting TRUE insider information, and not controlled leaks, as they leaked products that NEVER made it to market sometimes and it did cause Apple a lot of trouble.

Re:duh? (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669274)

With all these flamebait mods, I can't help but picture a legion of hipster-wannabe Mac fanboys with mod points glaring at their MacBook screens, caressing their iPhones like rosaries, all mumbling "How DARE they insult Father Steve!!!" in unison in every juice bar in America.

Re:duh? (-1, Troll)

spintriae (958955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669408)

"How DARE they not fellate Father Steve!!!"

Fix'd for you.

-1 Troll in 5...4...3...

Re:duh? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670074)

-1 Troll in 5...4...3...

Yes, but only because there's no "-1 Eeeewww!" mod.

Didn't /. once promise a whole array of new mod selections one time long ago?

Re:duh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669536)

Don't forget in every coffee shop, community college, and Arts buildings of many universities around the world.

Re:duh? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669636)

I have a MacBook Pro, jerk.

MacBooks are for wanna-bes.

Re:duh? (1, Funny)

3dr (169908) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669726)

I'm caressing my iphone at an oxygen bar, you insensitive clod.

A Public Service (2, Interesting)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670236)

By fleshing out an implementation, perhaps this pre-empts someone patenting "Controlled Leak, Product" (as opposed to nuclear power plant, hot air balloon, disinformation, tire, etc.)

Re:duh? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670260)

"Because in those situations, you KNOW Apple didnt authorize the leak and it makes you snicker."

They certainly wouldn't be sophisticated enough to use that tactic to reinforce a deliberate leak...

Re:duh? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670476)

thing is they haven't in the past. Strong words yes, but they never actually go after them to find out who leaked it. But in the case of Think Secret they ACTIVELY in court pursued the leak, meaning it wasnt authorized.

Another Apple Trick (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30668926)

Say Jobs wants to fire someone but he doesn't want to lose them to another company. So he calls up the manager or whoever and asks him to do a 'controlled leak' for him via cellphone at Devil's Slough near Cupertino and wants to meet him there at 3am but come alone and no e-mails, no mention of this to anyone, no sort of traceability just to cover our asses because, hey, this is a controlled leak, right? But he asks the guy to stop at a random pub and buy Steve a bottle of their finest alcohol.

So the guy shows up and there's Steve walking along the railroad tracks above Devil's Slough. Well, when the guy approaches him, Steve hands him a cell phone and takes the bottle of liquor. Depending on how much Steve likes the bottle of liquor is how Steve proceeds next. If he likes it, he lets the man realize the cellphone is just an iPhone shell and Steve embraces him as Steve injects him with pentobarbital and gently lets him fall to his death in the slough. Now if Steve doesn't like the bottle, he pulls out his chic white iDesert Eagle and puts one in the back of each of the guy's legs gangland style. Then he usually taunts and complains about the bottle the guy brought him before roundhousing him to the head off the railroad tracks. He usually finishes it with a really bad hollywood-esque pun (ex. "consider your employment terminated!") and holds the gun sideways to look badass. Either way the guy just becomes a faceless statistic of people who drank too much at a bar and were mugged on their way home. And since it was a 'controlled leak' no one knows about it.

It's all true. Reiser tried but failed to open source the model. And that time Jobs looked cancer thin? He had actually just gotten back from a two week stint in Devil's Slough after a botched termination turned into a Most Dangerous Game where the hunter became the hunted.

Re:Another Apple Trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30668986)

That's quite a bit of imagination. But thanks I lol'ed.

Re:Another Apple Trick (1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669004)

This is an absurd scenario. Jobs doesn't need to kill anyone. He learned long ago that his fanatical followers will happily kill *themselves* at the slightest hint of his displeasure.

Re:Another Apple Trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669704)

Perhaps you just haven't heard.

Just google Foxconn and Apple.

Re:Another Apple Trick (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669054)

Buh... WHAT?

Re:Another Apple Trick (1, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669156)

Flamebait mods? Cult members are nothing if not humorless.

Re:Another Apple Trick (0, Offtopic)

JonJ (907502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669658)

C'mon, this isn't even humor. I could understand if it was actually funny, but this is just a sad attempt at humor.

Re:Another Apple Trick (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669690)

Why are these posts getting modded down? They're funny.

Re:Another Apple Trick (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670504)

See, now that post was flamebait, and it's modded troll. People these days. I could understand a troll mod for the OP, but really... if you thought that was a serious attack on anyone, and worthy of a scathing flame reply... I think you should seek professional help. You have a serious problem.

More like applie (5, Insightful)

Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30668930)

It's worth noting that if Apple were a smaller company, this sort of behavior would (or should, you can always find more shills) get doors slammed in its face at media outlets pretty fast. There's two reasons why it doesn't: 1. They're probably well-connected enough that they could always find someone else to leak their supposed "info," either through naievete or just apathy, and 2. They're so big that exclusive Apple news is a big plus, even if it turns out to be false or misleading.

Re:More like applie (1)

Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30668952)

And by smaller company, I mean a much smaller company. Obviously, any fairly substantial corporation can get away with the same thing (and does).

Re:More like applie (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669246)

and 3. most media houses are big apple shops anyways. Apple has been big in this area ever since they release the apple printer that matched the screen rez, and became even more entrenched thanks to adobe photoshop (first time i actually bumped into a mac was in the local newspapers photo office).

Re:More like applie (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669256)

You forgot that they're a huge leader in their field and there is a very large market for the information by itself. Competitors develop products just over a rumor Apple is making something new and exciting. Apple early adopters start putting away cash for this new product, and people post all over the internet about how bad of an idea rumored iProduct will be, or what features they'd like to see.

Re:More like applie (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669268)

Exactly. Engadget, Gizmodo, and the rest of the Apple-centered gadget blogs get a big boost if they can get the latest leak, even if it is nothing more than an ad for Apple.

Re:More like applie (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669654)

Yeah, and that's how it works. They go to these sites and give a little taster and then as soon as its leaked, they get their dogs out and tell the rest of the news outlets that "XYZ BLOG IS WRONG WE ARE NOT BLAH BLAH BLAH", when in fact, if it were false, Apple would not comment at all.

Why do I know this? I had it happen to me where I was the source of a posting that caused a half billion dollar spike in their stock (ok...maybe exagerating) and a thousand dollar hosting bill (which was mysteriously paid for by a benefactor after the fact).

Well timed conversation, no note of NDA (which never happens with Apple or other big companies), enough information and the whole speech of We Can't Stop You From Publishing This, But We'd Hope You Don't (i.e., they push and push to the point where you KNOW you almost have to...the first few times I had things like this, I didn't publish the info...why? Because I said I wouldn't...wow! Ethics suck...it was only after being prodded with hints of the fact that they maybe talking out of both sides of their mouth and may actually need to talk to someone a little less ethical that might want the traffic that I got the clue).

Apple knows what they are doing in this regard. I've been around with senior officials for a few big deals...these days, I've been asked simply what my opinion would be and the take on the publics reaction outside of the fanboy RDF (I love the company, but I'm critical when I think they cock up...which they do like anyone else, I just think they do it in a better way!) And these days, the ethics worked out because I'm giving information they know isn't going to be leaked and unless given the signal, it ain't going anywhere (which could have really helped my income if I would have just thrown some money a few months ago at the stock...luckily, the market has already adjusted and people pretty much know whats coming out, even if they don't have a fucking clue). I make a little off my recommendations and get to play with nice toys...and have never signed an NDA to this date with the company.

The only time this has worked negatively was when I made a sarcastic comment that was obviously over the top, and some wonk at the WSJ had kept me in his twitterbookspace feed and posted something about ANOTHER company that was just wrong and it dropped 2% of its value (trust me, this was a lot). I've never seen a C&D for a joke before (one that even humorless lawyers knew was a joke). My lawyer told them to fuck off in otherwords and we delayed things long enough to not have to do a damn thing.

So yeah, Apple is by far the best in this world...Microsoft just sucks in this regard...I won't even get into how bad their efforts have been...its almost like an epic fail "Please post this press release exactly as we stated, in which case if you do, we will sue you, but don't worry because we really won't but we might, just to make an example of you, but you won't know, but we really like you, we really do....but seriously, don't fuck with me boy I'm watching you).

Re:More like applie (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669356)

It's great how much bigger companies do this, here's a transcript I recorded recently:

for(;;) {
Informant Exec: So online mag, this is totally off the record, but we're thinking about cloning something Apple is doing.
Online Mag: O RLY?
Informant Exec: Yeah, it's going to totally fucking kill Apple.
Online Mag: Wow, that sounds amazing, what is is?
Informant Exec: It's kind of like the iPhone only much more innovative
Online Mag: Sounds like it's really going to change the market, any other projects you're working on?
Information Exec: Yeah, we're also talking about cloning some stuff Google is doing.
Online Mag: O RLY?
Informant Exec: Yeah, it's going to totally fucking kill Google.
Online Mag: Wow, that sounds amazing, what is is?
Informant Exec: It's kind of like Google search only much more innovative
Online Mag: Sounds like it's really going to change the market, any other projects you're working on?
}

Exclusive news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669396)

2. They're so big that exclusive Apple news is a big plus, even if it turns out to be false or misleading.

Exclusive is another key. Because Apple manages and controls its leaks so closely, being chosen to receive leaked info can double your outlet's pageviews. So of course you play along.

Whereas when a looser-run company, even one of similar size (say, Microsoft or HP) tries to leak something, every blogger and his mother had the same scoop a month ago.

Re:More like Apple (2, Interesting)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669610)

if Apple were a smaller company

Sure, you are being rather hypothetical as Apple is in fact a huge company with innovative ideas. People do care what they'll come out with. So you don't make much of a point. Note that Google once was a small company. I first heard of them through an industry insider who said: "watch-out for this company called Google" in a web cast, "they have quite an interesting concept." Next thing you know, Altavista and Yahoo lost their leads as web search tools. Why did Google succeed? In my opinion, it was the reputation of their leaders as technical gurus and not traditional marketing types. The non obtrusiveness of their interface and their innovative monetization model also helped get them the lead.

Apple has a to know their next product will be a hit. These leaks provide an outlet and a low risk method of measuring acceptance. If reaction is negative, they never admit the leak and the idea is postponed, otherwise, it might go ahead. Too bad Segway didn't do the same thing. They would have probably not have spent so much in a product which is interesting but honestly not that compelling.

Is this before or after... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30668936)

you purchased more Apple stock?

I wish I knew the trusted friend (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30668972)

When the rumors started, I looked at the options chains for AAPL and saw that there was a large call to put ration meaning that the market was very bullish on AAPL - it also means that some folks are in fact trading on these "rumors" and making a few bucks on it.

Illegal? I think so. But, I'd be hearing it from a friend of an insider of an executive - I'd like to see the Government prove it. Besides, it's not like I'm Martha Stewart or someone else that's high profile where the Government makes an example of to scare the rest of us from doing it.

Re:I wish I knew the trusted friend (2, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669230)

Insider trading is illegal but it's not clearly defined. Mark Cuban recently won a case where he was accused of insider trading. Martha Stewart is an interesting example because she was prosecuted for obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, not for insider trading. The coverup is far worse than the crime, especially when there might not have even been a crime in the first place.

Re:I wish I knew the trusted friend (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669552)

The coverup is far worse than the crime, especially when there might not have even been a crime in the first place.

Ergo, Bill Clinton almost-impeachment. It isn't necessarily illegal for the President to have sex with an intern in the Oval Office. It might have been sexual harassment, and an investigation was tenuously warranted, but lying to the investigators is certainly illegal.

Unlike Martha, however, Bill got basically zero in terms of actual punishment for his crime.

Re:I wish I knew the trusted friend (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670406)

Sorry, ol' Bill was impeached [wikipedia.org] , actually... He just wasn't convicted.

everyone does it (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669010)

did you really think all those dumb unboxing youtube videos of the Pre and other cell phones where they don't show anything weren't official marketing? if it really was someone who stole a copy then they would show off every feature on the internet so all the internet peoplez would think they are cool

Re:everyone does it (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669424)

Most of the time the way that an unboxing video can make it to YouTube is that some retailers sell things in advance. I mean, Harry Potter, which everyone -knew- the release date and had it printed on all the boxes still made it out to store shelves early. How much more likely is it that some Wal-Mart in the middle of nowhere gets a box of shiny gadgets and decides to put them on sale?

Stocks? (5, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669142)

I'd love to see some data about company insiders and their stock purchasing/selling in relation to the "leaks". There are a few people making a shitload of $$$ off of the leaks. And if they are not then I'd be shocked. The last WSJ "leak" shot appl stock way up and my first thought was: someone is having a nice Christmas bonus.

Re:Stocks? (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669332)

As long as leaks and product releases are timed with trading blackout periods (usually tied with quarterly earnings reports), there shouldn't be a problem since an insider wouldn't be allowed to buy or sell stock in the first place.

Re:Stocks? (2, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669578)

Insider trades are in the public domain. Yahoo stocks has a nice list [yahoo.com] . According to them, the last trade by an insider was December 2nd, 2009. I wouldn't know how these things go down, but my guess is that's too early to be able to easily pin as illegal behavior without some direct evidence. Also, I'd guess that a lot of the big shots are in it for the long haul and aren't interested in gaming their own stock (I could surely be wrong if the iSlate turns out to be a dud and there's a whole bunch of insider trades before the 27th). I would hope that the SEC would look pretty hard at the trades of reporters who report on stocks in addition to the insiders though.

Re:Stocks? (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670652)

You do know that insiders only trade on their own account when they have to unload stock options or for other PR reasons.

They make real their money on inside trades through proxies and third parties.

Re:Stocks? (1)

Cliffy03 (663924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669700)

I would hope someone keeps track of this. And I wonder how an ex-exec could even say something like this unless it too is a "leak". I remember hearing Leo Laporte talk about his suspicions of the WSJ being an official leak.

Controlled Leaks (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669144)

"...Senior Marketing Manager at Apple and I was instructed to do some controlled leaks".

Let me be the first to say that anytime you boss wants you to do something "off the record", you need to start doing 1 or all of 3 things:

1. recording massive amounts of evidence(when did he ask you, how, what time, save emails offsite) for your own benefit
2. get an authorization document on company letterhead signed by him
3. refuse to do it.

They are setting you up my friend. You've probably broken some type of law already and don't even know it. I can't wait to hear their ass-covering testimony. "I never authorized him to do that. Yes your honor, I did speak with him on 1/6/2010 about the new tablet computer. I said I would like him to discuss the new changes to the device with his colleagues at work. Never at any time did I mention it was OK to discuss a confidential hardware/software design with the MEDIA!!!

Re:Controlled Leaks (2, Informative)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669790)

I think you missed the point.
The Apple guy doesn't leak to the media, the Apple guy consults with a partner. The partner leaks to the media. The partner will likely have a special non-disclosure agreement that will cover his ass in the event that all goes south. It's all well orchestrated, undocumented, and not illegal.

I will need some help with this. (5, Funny)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669184)

All we need to do is create a leak for a fictional (but desirable) product. Slowly release blurry mock-ups and specs. Start a few rumors here and there. Then (as long as everyone stays positive) we let Apple deal with the actual implementation.

I'm awaiting my DRM-free ireader. (Apple, you can do it so much better)

Re:I will need some help with this. (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669374)

The problem is, there are some things Apple simply won't do. For one, they want to release gadgets in generations. Just look at the iPod, first it was a black and white screen, then it was a color screen, then it could play videos then it had a touch screen, etc. If Apple doesn't see any way to easily upgrade a device, they won't make it. Unlike most "geek centered" devices, Apple's gadgets usually are lower-speced than their competitors but bring polish to the market. Look at the iPod, it wasn't exactly the largest media player at the time, nor did it have the most specs.

Re:I will need some help with this. (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669598)

That's because apple wants to release good products at launch time. Sure you can use the latest screen technology hut it doubles the cost comes with unstable drivers and if you sneeze at it cracks. Apple sells the whole widget. Having an easily scratched screen material is just as bad as buggy software.

Most people don't realize that hardware and material science is a major part of product design. Bringing a final product to market is about trade offs.
There havebeen touch screens and tablets for years upon years. But until recently the hardware and software haventbeen ready for mass deployments. Just look at Microsoft. Is windows tablet edition a good piece of tablet software? Ithas all the pieces but they haven't been assembled properly yet. The need for convertible tablets is why. Msft is trying to shove a mouse and keyboard based desktop at tablet users. But that isn't how tablet need to work. They need their own UI

just having the ingredents doesn't mean you can bake cake.

Re:I will need some help with this. (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669470)

apple and DRM-free?

Re:I will need some help with this. (1)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669554)

Ever since about 2007 [slashdot.org] .

The reasons (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669186)

For those who don't feel like actually reading the article, here're the specific reasons given for the tablet leaks:

* to light a fire under a recalcitrant partner
* to float the idea of the US$1,000 price point and gauge reaction
* to panic/confuse a potential competitor about whom Apple had some knowledge
* to whet analyst and observer expectations to make sure the right kind and number of people show up at the (presumed) January 26 event. Apple hates empty seats and demands SRO at these events.

I'm especially curious about the first and the third. Who is the competitor? The Google/Alex Reader partnership? The rumoured Chrome OS tablet? And who is the partner, a content provider or an OEM? Were they concerned that there wasn't enough interest in the device to guarantee volume, or was it something else?

Re:The reasons (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669382)

The tablet is sort of like AppleTV in that it ends up begging the question "Just who exactly is this aimed at?" With netbooks, smartphones, etc. on the low end and full-blown laptops on the high end, I just can't picture a big market for a $1000 tablet PC. Who is going to pay $1000 for an underpowered laptop just because it has a touchscreen? Unless they have some more surprises up their sleeve, I just can't picture the market for this thing.

Re:The reasons (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669718)

The tablet is sort of like AppleTV in that it ends up begging the question "Just who exactly is this aimed at?" With netbooks, smartphones, etc. on the low end and full-blown laptops on the high end, I just can't picture a big market for a $1000 tablet PC. Who is going to pay $1000 for an underpowered laptop just because it has a touchscreen? Unless they have some more surprises up their sleeve, I just can't picture the market for this thing.

There's a portion of consumers that don't worry too much about the price. There are a variety of reasons for this:

A) They're relatively affluent and wouldn't likely buy a 'bargain' device
B) They believe they actually save money, through superior return on investment
C) They believe the product is a status symbol

E.g. the $800 iPhone. Comparable devices at that time were around $500. People bought all each of the units made, and iPhones were scarce, back then.

While I don't personally know any of these people, and cannot myself prove they exist, they would be your 'who' as far as I can tell.

When you are a relatively minor player in a market, like Apple, limited demand for a product actually helps you. You can ride the line of 'sold out' demand without poisoning your image for future products.

Re:The reasons (2, Informative)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670144)

Those were listed as possible reasons for the tablet leaks. The article was written by a former Apple employee, so he knows how these things commonly work, but he doesn't know specifics in this case—it could be just one of those reasons, or several.

Re:The reasons (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670282)

You left out the 'could have been' part. None of these were stated as being the reasons for certain.

Re:The reasons (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670426)

Important caveat, yes. I misread that part.

Ethics (2, Informative)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669262)

Ethics (n): The 'optional' set of rules companies occasionally engage when it is a benefit to the company but publically declaire they use at all times.

Re:Ethics (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669616)

For any publicly-trade company, acting to benefit the company is actually one of the fundimental ethical principles. If you act in a way that drops the company's stock price you're essentially shredding other people's money. Sneaky but harmless media-baiting to improve a product's chance of success is the right ethical choice in that framework. It's not ethical from the journalistic perspective, of course.

Re:Ethics (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670070)

Taking advantage of others' unethical behavior for your own benefit - ethical or not? Discuss.

Re:Ethics (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670410)

Precisely! From our outside ethical perspective, is the net total of the benefit to Apple's shareholders plus the penalty to media integrity greater than zero? Apple's stock price went up three cents around the leak, is that the price of journalistic integrity?

Re:Ethics (1)

InsurrctionConsltant (1305287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670864)

I wish I had mod points. This is a spot-on refutation of the grand parent’s comically myopic view of what’s “ethical”

Re:Ethics (2, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669662)

What makes you think this is unethical? They're not lying or even doing things underhanded. They're just spreading information in an unusual way.

Note that as a fellow Galt Follower, I am interested in your response.

Re:Ethics (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669732)

s/companies/humans/g

Re:Ethics (2, Insightful)

ekimminau (775300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670768)

This is no such thing as "business ethics". There is only "ethics".

How anyone orchestrates leaks (4, Insightful)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669292)

I work in politics and government and to give Apple much credit for this is sort of laughable. Let's just say that if they tried to patent it, there would be plenty of prior art.

Some people will look at this and think "that's why Apple is so successful at building buzz." It's only partly true. Every company leaks, but not every company gets a NY Times story and 100 blog echoes. The leaks work so well because Apple is a hot, popular company. They don't, by themselves, make Apple a hot, popular company.

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669304)

on baby...don't Goodbye..N.she had ASSOCIATION OF

Controlled leaks? (1)

Elbart (1233584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669328)

Is that Cupertinian for press release?

Have they not heard of tape recorders? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669384)

'We need to release this specific information. John, do you have a trusted friend at a major outlet? If so, call him/her and have a conversation. Idly mention this information and suggest that if it were published, that would be nice. No e-mails!'

Surely they need to know exactly what was told to them and have proof, so have the reporters not heard of taping the conversation? "No emails" is obviously a "we don't want a paper trail (even if it is obvious)" thing, but even having the conversation directly in the first place leaves some kind of trail!

Re:Have they not heard of tape recorders? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669602)

Posting Anon as I've already modded in this discussion: That's illegal (and highly unethical from a journalist's standpoint) without getting consent. And reporters don't want to burn bridges in any event. No legit reporter would break important rules for something as unimportant as tech gossip.

Re:Have they not heard of tape recorders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669784)

Posting Anon as I've already modded in this discussion

No you haven't.

Re:Have they not heard of tape recorders? (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669764)

In many places this sort of recording isn't legal. It is theoretically possible to attach some sort of consequences to breaking a confidence. It would be a different matter if you gave your permission to be recorded, were in a public place, etc, but if you specifically asked to have a private, off the record, conversation things get a little less black and white.

A person may or may not face legal penalty for this kind of behavior, but you can be certain they would never get those kinds of tips again. Since tips generate stories and stories generate money, there isn't a great deal of incentive for outing a tipster.

Re:Have they not heard of tape recorders? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669814)

If there isn't any incentive for outing a tipster then why worry about a paper trail? ;)

Re:Have they not heard of tape recorders? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669914)

Because hard evidence, such as email, could be revealed by a third party who wouldn't suffer the consequences of the outing.

Private verbal conversations, on the other hand, are deniable.

SEC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669642)

Isn't it a requirement of all exchange-listed companies to issue a press release for pretty much anything they want to say?

I'm pretty sure the SEC would be quite interested in this guy's story.

Surprised? (2, Interesting)

Andrevan (621897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669684)

Is anyone really reading this and scratching their heads, saying, "Well gee, I thought it was a bunch of intrepid hackers who broke into the mainframe to steal the pix?" Of course Apple orchestrates their leaks and rumors. Even their litigious cease and desisting of Mac rumor sites is all part of cultivating their mystique. Even "non-evil" companies like Google pull shit like this. It's all part of the marketing game to build pre-release buzz for products.

Controlled leak of controlled leaks (1)

testdummy (61896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669730)

Did apple control the leak about how they carefully control leaks?

News?.... (2, Insightful)

vectorstream (784843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669736)

How's that any f@cking news to begin with?....If your leak looks like advertisement on the hush-hush it usually is. Disinformation campaign 101 - only its' not some spook agency , it's some corporate entity behind it. Apple has to do a lot more of this crap as so many of their sales are to consumers so the the whole FUD strategy has to be rehashed every quarter or so.

More publicity (2, Informative)

thetsguy (1211146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30669738)

And we are increasing the publicity by discussing this.

News just in.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30669756)

Bears: Wanton woodland defeacation shock
Pope: Catholic?

"Give the press some stories" (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30670568)

This is old stuff. I remember reading it in The Macintosh Way. Guy Kawasaki's thesis was that by making yourself a good source the press were less likely to burn you.

...laura

What now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30670872)

Will they make him commit suicide like the Chinese guy? Or is this story another "controlled leak"?

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