Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple's own Paparazzi

I have long been mildly disgusted by the "rumor sites" that feed on Apple's product launch plans. At times I have been on both sides of it—an engineering manager for iPhoto and iMovie, and as a Mac owner and consumer.

The tone that sites like ThinkSecret take is kind of a smug pride in getting illicit information from snitches at the company or its suppliers, and "predicting" the product plans.  Even followup reviews always contain language like, "as predicted", or "as we previously stated in ", blah blah blah.

My first reaction is usually: "so what?" But worse than that, such rumor-mongering actually damages the company and its product launches—the company that these sites purport to love so much. Let Apple launch their products, and leave them alone. Having been inside Apple, I can tell you that the levels of secrecy and the paranoia about these "paparazzi" leaking product plans significantly hinders and slows the processes of producing great products. And just look at how they bait people into divulging secrets. Shameful, I say.

I am prompted to write this in part by reading about recent pleas by the British royalty to the paparazzi to leave alone Kate Middleton, the 25-year-old girlfriend of Prince William. In the aftermath of Princess Diana's fiery death while being chased by the paparazzi on motorcycles, the hyenas are apparently backing off, at least briefly. But they'll be back as soon as you please, driven, according to them, by the public's desire to see such photos. Bollocks, I say. If they're published, sure, people will look at them. But no one has ever written a letter to the editor requesting more such photos.

What is it with people, that need to pry into the private affairs of others, and take pride in it? Shame on you, Nick de Plume or whatever your real name is, and Ryan Katz, and I hope you get additional spam from these mailto links. You're not to be congratulated on predicting the form factor of the iPhone, or whatever you take pride in, any more than SolarPix is to be congratulated on getting a photo of Kate Middleton retrieving her morning paper from the front steps. Grow up and get a real job, all of you.

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