After the stunningly bad predictions by pollsters, pundits, commentators and anyone who graced a cable TV news studio before the New Hampshire Democratic primary, we decided to turn a fake news source, the fictional Online News Network (ONN), to tell us what Apple CEO Steve Jobs will tell everyone in his much anticipated speech tomorrow morning.
The following is a transcript taken from one of the ONN’s reports streamed live online before the keynote ever took place. Please, no wagering.
ONN anchor Wink Schnitzel: We’re here at the still-empty Moscone Center in San Francisco LIVE on the scene for an exclusive report about what we believe Steve Jobs will be telling the faithful at tomorrow’s Macworld Expo. Last year, Jobs shocked the world with his announcement of the iPhone, and this year the anticipation is building for what Jobs might announce.
Our latest polling shows the likelihood of what Jobs might talk about in his keynote speech:
Twitter application for the iPhone: 68%
Slimmed down notebook computer: 66%
Movies for rent via iTunes: 53%
iPhone widgets and developers kit: 48%
Something “insanely great that will change the world”: 100%
We now turn to ONN technology correspondent Keri Newbie, who is reporting live from the blogosphere.
ONN correspondent Keri Newbie: Thanks, Wink. It’s been a rowdy few days here on the blogs, with rumors about Jobs’ keynote flying everywhere. Technorati shows that “steve jobs” was mentioned on about 750 blogs today alone, up from 580 mentions the day before and 390 the day before that. The trend is ominous: It really looks like Steve Jobs will be giving the keynote at Macworld tomorrow!
Schnitzel: Uh, Keri, we knew that already. Let’s get to what the pundits are predicting will happen at tomorrow’s speech. We know what the polls say, but what do the insiders think will happen? The people who know Jobs best?
Newbie: The most dependable source for what Jobs will unveil in the keynote speech is Wikipedia, where an unnamed, unknown source listed all of Jobs’ alleged talking points for the speech. You can see that outline on this Wikipedia page. Please try to disregard the comments from undependable anonymous commenters who say on Wikipedia, “This is TOTAL BULL.”
Edelman PR blogger Steve Rubel backed up the Wikipedia leak by saying, “It sounds real…The reason I believe it’s real is because it leaked on Wikipedia.” From what we know, Wink, only people who know what they’re talking about actually register to edit or change Wikipedia entries. There have been no other falsehoods to date.
Of course bloggers love to be contrarian, and TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld quickly disputed the Wikipedia entry as being “fake” — but with one big caveat. Schonfeld believes the Twitter/iPhone part may be true because of a Twitter message from Twitter founder Evan Williams from last December: Meeting with stevej.
Schnitzel: It sounds like we’re getting a consensus among blog pundits that the Twitter/iPhone announcement is for real. Does that mean we can count out a possible Jaiku deal for iPhone in the future, or should Jaiku stay in the race?
Newbie: My sources say that if Twitter scores an exclusive iPhone deal then Jaiku might have to drop out of contention.
Schnitzel: That makes sense. How about all those Apple rumor sites? We know that Think Secret was shut down by Apple’s lawyers, but many other sites are still out there to find great new Apple rumors. What have you seen lately?
Newbie: The rumor sites are not quite as dependable as the unnamed Wikipedia leaker, but they are pretty unanimous in predicting that Apple will go with a subnotebook, smaller than the current notebook computers and with an external optical drive. Apple Insider has been reporting this move since last February, perhaps getting a bit far ahead on the rumor.
There’s a blog called 9to5Mac that lays out what will happen tomorrow in great detail. Apple will announce the subnotebook called “MacBook Air” with the tagline: “Cables not included.” The rumor sites were saying that the new subnotebook would use something called “inductive coupling” to charge instead of wires. How do they know that the MacBook Air will happen? Supposedly someone at Apple registered a bunch of domains with “macbookair” in them.
Schnitzel: Thanks, Keri, for that exclusive report on what Jobs will talk about in his speech tomorrow. Now that we know all the details of the speech, ONN will sign off as we have no need to actually cover the real speech.
Of course, the above report is only a spoof by a fictional news organization, but all the links and quotes from online sources are real — as real as any blog rumor source can be. The point is: Making predictions about what’s going to happen is not for the weak of heart. And that applies to New Hampshire primary elections, a speech by Steve Jobs, or even tomorrow’s weather. Hopefully the people who trust pundits will start to take what pundits say — especially in their predictions — with a huge grain of salt.
Ironically, one of the bloggers who called out the fake Wikipedia leak was Fake Steve Jobs. Maybe it takes one to know one after all.
UPDATE: Looks like the rumor sites had a lot of the keynote right: the MacBook Air, the iTunes rentals and revamp of Apple TV. Gizmodo had great minute-by-minute reports and photos from the speech.
Photo of the real Steve Jobs by Kazuhiro Shiozawa via Flickr.