By John Gruber
I like Josh Topolsky, and I like Engadget, but this is a bit much:
The Apple rumors game can be a volatile thing. Just as we’d heard about last minute alterations to the Apple TV before it hit the market, we’ve gotten word from sources that the iPad 2 slated to be announced next Wednesday will be sans a few of the features we’d previously reported. Notably, that SD card slot and higher resolution display won’t make it into the new model (the latter we’d been hearing rumblings about for a little while). What’s the cause of the switch? Well our sources weren’t crystal clear on the exact reasons, but the gist of what was explained to us centered around vague “engineering issues” which may have forced some changes at the eleventh hour. It’s worth noting once again that these sources have been dead right on specific Apple plans and specifications for unannounced products in the past, and we have no reason to believe these changes are due to anything more than legitimate engineering decisions made close to launch.
Eleventh hour, my ass. Nothing in these regards has changed in the iPad 2 since January. Nothing. There was never going to be a higher resolution display in the iPad 2. I’d wager heavily that there was never going to be an SD card slot for it, either, but I don’t know that.
Mark my words: whoever told Engadget on January 14 that the iPad 2 was going to have a “super high resolution” display was wrong. When I checked with sources for my “Cold Water on the iPad 2 Retina Display Hype”, nothing had changed from plans.
Sometimes things do change the last minute, like the camera that was dropped from the 2009 iPod Touch. That doesn’t mean those of us who reported it weren’t wrong, though. We were wrong, it’s that simple. But my sources were right at the time they told me there was a camera.
That’s not the case with reports from a month ago about a “super high resolution” display or SD card slot in the iPad 2. They can’t be “out” because they were never in. Engadget’s report from January 14 was wrong the day they published it.
But in my experience, the Apple rumors game is not all that volatile. The 2009 iPod Touch camera yanking is the exception, not the rule. Most major Apple products are pretty stable two months out from release. What’s volatile is getting accurate information about them.1
If I had sources who fed me a load of horseshit a month ago, I’d be apologizing to my readers, not doubling down on those sources as “dead right”.
I could publish things I’m only half-sure about, like the iPad 2 switching from aluminum to a lightweight high-strength carbon fiber body, but I don’t, because I’m only half-sure and I’ve only heard about it from second-hand sources who themselves are unsure about it. And even if I were to off-handedly mention such speculation, I’d do so in a footnote and take pains to emphasize the uncertain nature of the information and the second-hand status of the sources thereof. What I would never do is take a flyer and report uncertain speculation as a fact, and, if it wound up not panning out, chalk it up to Apple having changed things at the last moment rather than the report being flat-out wrong all along. ↩