It seems like being an Apple leaker is the newest version of being instafamous, and certainly at this time of year, it seems like anyone who tweets something confidently, especially while being a faceless random Twitter user with just the words “Apple” and “leakz” in some combination in their handle can get huge coverage.
Accounts throw out hundreds of tweets, each giving a specific of a feature, or a vague idea (I’m looking at you CoinX), or a rumoured date. They extrapolate to the nth degree anything mentioned in an earnings call, work out dates from past event patterns, calculate how many minutes Tim Apple will talk about each topic.
Happily we have websites like AppleTrack which keep tabs on a number of the highest profile “leakers”, though they can only track specific claims. That’s where issues begin, because of course, anyone can tweet anything they like, so do you have to include in your accuracy reports ones that are satire? Do you have to include those that say “in the next 5 years Apple will introduce X” – and if so do they not get an “inaccurate” until 5 years are up? How accurate does something have to be? Could you just say “higher resolution displays in the next three years” without numbers and add an “accurate” point if that happens?
Vague statements make this so much harder, as well as the fact that inaccurate tweets can be deleted after the fact, so unless they’re screenshotted at the time, there’s no record.
And when does someone qualify for Apple Track, how many leaks do they need to have released, and with what track record?
Don’t get me wrong, I read all the leaks with as much interest as anyone else. And there are certainly some leakers who have legit information. Jon Prosser in the past has been able to accurately post dates of events, even tweeting their contents immediately ahead of the announcement.
Clearly accurate and timely information. But then, all good things come to an end, and last week his information was flawed, and likely by no fault of his own. Maybe Apple found out who his sources were and fed them false information. Maybe things changed at the last minute. All possible.
The industry on Twitter of leakers who all claim to have the inside track is in most cases, fake and wannabe. There are some with real, or at least to some level verified information, those who take the whole matter seriously, and others who throw as many ideas and theories out as humanly possible, and rely on confirmation bias, just like psychics as we’re psychologically programmed to remember the hits and forget the misses. In the most part at least.
I will never claim to be a leaker, but I’ll report on claimed leaks if they feel like they could have some merit, but I’ll always try my best to be clear that this is second or third hand information. I don’t have contacts at Apple (but, Tim Cook, if you’re watching, feel free to hit me up in the DMs on Twitter). I’m a fan. I have been since I bought an iPhone 4, with some skepticism that I was wasting my money in 2010.