Fellow bloggers! Please, for your own safety, listen up: If Apple blogger John Gruber attacks you, just curl up in the fetal position and pray he gets distracted and moves on.
Otherwise you’ll get flayed like poor Duncan Riley, who passed along a bogus tip about an $800 Mac laptop earlier this month.
The indented italicized clips are Duncan. The regular text is John.
“Translation From Weasel-Speak to English of the Entirety of Duncan Riley’s Second Post-MacBook-Introduction-Event Update to His Widely-Cited Week-Ago Report That Apple Was Going to Announce an ‘$800 Laptop'”.
With regard to “Update 2” here.
Let’s make this very clear: certain parts of this tip were wrong. The new product pricelist started at $899, and it wasn’t a laptop, but a monitor.
The entire report was completely wrong.
The $99 is semantics, because the tipster saw the figure 8, and obviously didn’t get the $99 part.
The difference between $899 and $900 is semantics. The difference between $899 and $800 is a hundred dollars. If our source saw “899” and didn’t “get” the “99” part, it suggests our source is either visually or mentally handicapped. As a full-time technology blogger, I am fully aware that every computer Apple sells or has sold in recent history has a price that ends with “99”, and that an “$800 laptop” from Apple, semantic differences aside, would sell for a list price of $799.
There was however a pricelist, and the first item was a product close to the mark.
That said, I did not report that Apple was set to introduce an “$800 product”. Rather, I reported specifically that Apple was set to introduce an “$800 laptop”. There was no “could be a laptop” or “we think it’s a laptop“.
Second, there was a sub-$1000 laptop, but at $999 not $800. No one saw the monitor coming, and others, having seen the same list our tipster did, called it a laptop. That doesn’t excuse the inaccuracy, but it also highlights that we weren’t alone in not knowing about the monitor, and considering the first price on that list to be a laptop.
I reported a guess as a fact.
Sometimes in this game you print unsubstantiated tips.
Sometimes in this game you print unsubstantiated tips, but you describe them like this: “The information comes from a source we would categorize as reliable, would have access to such information, and who has been accurate in the past,” because if you described them as, say, “unsubstantiated” or “sketchily sourced”, far fewer people would believe it or link to the report.
The rest of it is here, and it is not for the squeamish.