One aspect of online life in the 21st century is how many technology websites regurgitate the same stores, a lack of facts not withstanding. Rumors and reports run rampant and amok. “Next generation iPhones will have this.” Or not.
I subscribe to dozens of news and technology websites and use the feature laden RSS news reader News Explorer to make the news and information gathering process more efficient. I also subscribe to colleague Kate MacKenzie’s method of scanning RSS subscriptions to get a leg up on the trends.
What’s the latest trend?
Regurgitate rumors. Repeated reports. Not true blue news. Just the potential of the future stuffed into a headline. For example:
“iPhone sales in China plummet due to high prices” – the report came from IDC which has a staff of guesstimators. No factual numbers are used. Apple already stated that business was slower than expected in China.
iPhone sales in China fell 20% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, while sales for smartphones made by China-based Huawei soared by 23%
According to IDC. Not according to Apple. Not according to any facts in evidence. It’s a guesstimate. Also not mentioned is the fact that Huawei sells a large number of every inexpensive phones. Apple does not.
See the problem? Here’s another one.
Apple’s weak Chinese iPhone sales blamed directly on high prices – Again, IDC is the culprit for the report. IDC is a numbers guesstimator about all things, particularly technology. Unfortunately, few of the publications that follow Apple also follow IDC. Their record for accuracy is abysmal.
The imbalance between the increasingly severe domestic market environment and Apple’s high product unit price has led to the declines of iPhone shipments in Chinese market.
In other words, things are bad in China’s economy, and that means things are bad for Apple. But only Apple.
Most such headlines are treated as fact, rather than rumor, and sources are sketchy at best, and often non-existent, or with no mention of fact gathering methodology.
Other technology websites appear to be shills for tech gadgets on sale. In most cases, a link to the product gets the tech website a commission if you buy the promoted product. A good example is iMore, which seems to find more products you can buy on Amazon than similar websites.
The internet these days if for sale.
Check out Kate’s missive “What I Found By Using An RSS Reader” and you’ll see how easy it is to determine what is fact and what is fiction.
Hint: there’s far less fact than there used to be.
One of the most popular websites in the Applesphere is at least appropriately named. MacRumors. The latest, as of this writing, is “2019 iPhones Said to Keep Lightning Connector With Same Old 5W Charger and EarPods in Box” but that’s a rumor from another site which specializes in rumors.
MacRumors does what I would like to see more of:
When it comes to its original content, Mac Otakara is largely accurate, making it a widely trusted source for Apple product rumors. That said, Mac Otakara does not have a perfect record and does share inaccurate info on occasion. Rumors coming from Mac Otakara generally provide a solid look at what we can expect from future Apple products, but it’s best not to take the details as fact until backed up by other sources.
Yet, that same rumor was regurgitated ad nauseam all over town, and since most people don’t read with a critical eye, it gets treated as fact. New iPhones may have this or may have that but the best rumors don’t come until a week or so before the next iPhone launch.