Even insiders don't know everything -- especially at Apple

John Gruber put his angry old man of the Mac hat on today to snark about Gizmodo's supposed "insider" information regarding the forthcoming Apple tablet.
So Lam's source is an "insider" but has no idea what the OS is and has the ship date wrong. Sure.
Gruber's snipe fails, however, because there is indeed a particular kind of "insider" who knows little about the technology, but much about the looks and hooks: talent hired by marketing.
As you can imagine, these people also tend to know only the preliminary bullshit on release dates, and are the most accessible to reporters hungry for leaks. At Wired, we scored a massive hit in the run up to the MacBook Air's release with the above mockup (created in about 90 minutes at very short notice), and I'm still pretty proud of it, mistakes notwithstanding. To illustrate it, I relied on an extremely subjective description of the machine, provided by a verified insider who would have had no clue at all about its technology or the ship date. To them, it was just a silver laptop with certain features that everyone kept talking about, and had an extremely distinctive profile
It has an extremely thin profile and is shaped like a teardrop when closed-- thicker at the top behind the screen, tapering at the bottom behind the keyboard.
The most remarkable thing, however, was that this person, who certainly saw the machine, provided us with several completely inaccurate details. Naturally, I wish I'd taken the source's word even more literally about the teardrop thing -- it seemed quite absurd at the time!

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com  
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9 Responses to Even insiders don't know everything -- especially at Apple

  1. Hoopy Frood says:

    When is Gruber not wearing an angry old man hat? I follow his blog because he does have some interesting things to say, but he’s sniping on other bloggers and apologising for Apple’s shortcomings and ridiculous practices all the time.

  2. Oldtaku says:

    This is especially true in a company which is run like a police state. Even (especially?) Stasi members don’t know all the details. There are plenty of stories of Apple employees not knowing a product even exists till Steve’s up there revealing it on stage.

    The source may be wrong, or faking it, but it seems totally credible to me as well that a real source might not know specifics.

  3. Halloween Jack says:

    The most remarkable thing, however, was that this person, who certainly saw the machine, provided us with several completely inaccurate details.

    I’m not surprised. If you have something that’s outside of your frame of reference, you may end up utterly confused, especially if you only have a single casual glance at it. (One might have assumed that the wheel on a first-gen iPod was a mono speaker, for example.)

  4. hohum says:

    @3, Gruber is actually pretty critical of Apple when they fuck up. See anything related to app store, see partnering with AT&T…

  5. Agies says:

    @3 Marketing as in the marketing department. There’s no need to say “marketing people”.

  6. scaught says:

    I got tired long ago of chasing down rumors. I realize they’re click mills and blogs need to run this crap, but geeeez. I wish apple would just release the stupid jumbo ipod touch already. This one is getting long in the tooth.

  7. remmelt says:

    “talent hired by marketing”?

    You mean, the marketing people?

  8. Rob Beschizza says:

    Remmelt, no. I don’t want to say more so it’s not completely obvious who I’m talking about.

  9. “John Gruber put his angry old man of the Mac hat on today…”

    I read and mostly enjoy Gruber, but damn that’s gold.

    And good call all around. I actually would have expected Gruber to be less naive about “insiders” knowing more than they need to know at Apple.

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