the rumor singularity
August 19, 2012
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I’ve talked before about what I believe are some of the effects of a world in which news are more pull than push, and in which the continuous rumor mill keeps stories about upcoming products, real or imagined, front and center. So far so good.
Then today I came across this Techcrunch article: Thoughts On Apple’s Latest TV Efforts.
On the surface, this looks like the usual article about the perennial Apple TV rumors (what I called Steve’s Last Theorem). Thinking about it a bit more, however, I’d say this is a good example of a new level of meta rumor mongering that we’ve been seeing more frequently lately.
- “Thoughts on…”. This is an opinion piece… on a product that has not been announced and have no idea when, how or even if it will come to market.
- “…Apple’s latest TV Efforts”. Moreover, this is about the latest iteration of the rumor, and it seems as if we are discussing version 2 (or 3, or 4) of an actual product.
So: Not only it’s an opinion piece on an imaginary product, it’s also discussing the evolution of this imaginary product and commenting on it, referencing previous articles as if they are fact, not speculation.
We’re through the looking glass here, past the event horizon. We have reached the rumor singularity. For example, we could easily take the next logical step after that article and, for example, write a thoughtful critique on Apple’s API restrictions for the TV AppStore that doesn’t yet exist, on a device that hasn’t yet been released. Afterwards, we could start polishing up our pitchforks and have a good round of blog posts and commentary on how insane those imaginary API constraints are, and watch Apple’s stock price go up or down based completely on widespread reaction to the imagined constraints of the potential API the product that doesn’t exist yet may or may not have. Eventually the rumored product can be rumored to be canceled because of perceived tepid demand, and everyone can just move on to the next thing that doesn’t yet exist to obsess about. Naturally, in this case afterwards everyone will be able to talk about “Apple’s failed TV efforts”.
I really think Apple, Facebook (think perennial “Facebook phone” rumors), and others could save themselves a lot of time and effort and simply not release anything else. Just let the rumor singularity take over, and enjoy the ride.