Today’s Claim Chowder

Let’s flag the most egregiously wrong rumor reports from the last few weeks.

Duncan Riley: $800 MacBooks

Jackass of the week honors go to Duncan Riley at Inquisitr, who a week ago launched the “$800 laptop from Apple” rumor. Worse than merely printing a bogus rumor, today he’s pointing to the new 24-inch LED Cinema Display as proof that he was somehow right. Today:

Finally, Jobs and his team announced a new 24-inch LED-backlit Cinema Display. […] It’ll be available in November for $899 — presumably making it the rumored $800-range product first reported here last week.

Oh really? Here’s what he reported there last week:

Some Apple retailers in the United States have been given price lists for a new Apple laptop line, and there’s a big surprise: an $800 laptop. 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.

Nothing about a new “$800 range product”. What Riley reported a week ago was an “$800 laptop”. And then in an update to the week-ago report, Riley rates the tip as follows:

We now rank this tip as close, but in the end not 100% accurate.

That’s not close. That’s totally and utterly wrong.

Riley is the one and only source for this $800 laptop rumor, it wasn’t even close to true, and it is dominating post-event news coverage and quite possibly a significant factor in Apple’s stock price dropping 5 points on the day.

Bonus jackass points to Sanford Bernstein financial analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who took Riley’s unsourced rumor and published a detailed spreadsheet full of fantasy numbers proving that an $800 Apple laptop would fill the sky with rainbows from coast to coast.

Kevin Rose: Blu-ray

Over the weekend Kevin Rose told a live audience in London that the new MacBooks would support Blu-ray. They do not. And when asked about Blu-ray support in the Q&A session after the event, Steve Jobs said, “Blu-ray is a bag of hurt. The licensing of the technology is so complex that we’re just waiting until things settle down and waiting until Blu-ray really takes off in the marketplace before we burden our customers with the cost of the licensing and the drives.”

9to5 Mac: Black Plastic MacBooks

Last week, Cleve Nettles at 9to5 Mac wrote:

Boingboing (and others) did some analysis on the aluminum laptop in the Apple event invitation and concluded it was a regular MacBook.  It wasn’t. MacBooks will have black (perhaps other colors — we have only heard black) plastic outer shells.  The same type of plastic that is on the backside of an iMac. 

The inside shell, around the keyboard and the screen will be aluminum and that one piece structure will be the skeleton of the laptop.  

Given that the entire chassis is aluminum, but that the screen is surrounded by a black frame, Nettles couldn’t have been more backwards if he’d tried.

Mac Soda: iLife and iWork ’09

Mike Contaxis, three days ago at Mac Soda:

Mac Soda has heard that iLife ‘09 [sic] and iWork ‘09 [sic] are going to be announced this Tuesday at the MacBook event. Similar to last year, when Steve introduced the iMac, and then branched off into the iLife and iWork updates, Steve is expected to do the same thing this year, announcing the iLife/iWork update with the introduction of the new laptops.

I called this one out as bullshit before the event even took place. In addition to being factually wrong, the apostrophes preceding the “09”s are backwards.