Let’s rewind a few days. Back when we started talking about HD on iPhone. The web site MacRumors posted coverage of our article, but the last paragraph pretty much sent the time into outrage. The last paragraph read:
“PhoneNews.com has not been a regular source of Apple rumors and their last try wasn’t accurate.”
Immediately the staff started hollering “well, they can forget about us ever covering them again.” and “how the heck can they claim we were all wrong on the MacBook Air!”
Now, the team made some good points, but I told them to calm down a bit. This is a moment that could be turned into a learning experience.
I did contact MacRumor’s chief editor, and we spoke briefly. Unfortunately, they really couldn’t grasp the points that we raised. So, I’ll share them with you instead… hopefully you’ll be able to see why what MacRumors did was disingenuous to their readers.
Now, as you no doubt know, the MacBook Air that shipped was indeed different from the one we reported on. But, not by the stretch that MacRumors tries to gauge. The shipping MacBook Air did ship with the standard Penryn CPUs, and a 120 GB hard drive (both points we were criticized at the time for claiming), but the CPUs were slowed down to the same speed as the original MacBook Airs.
I won’t go into what system MacRumors claims to use, but basically, they weighed each point of our article equally, and then tallied. It didn’t meet their “quota”. On top of that, they claim that because it took eight weeks to ship from our reporting, that made us more wrong.
What MacRumors should have done was ended their article by providing a synopsis of our past coverage… and let readers decide. It does MacRumors no good to Monday Morning Quarterback, because what we did was not rumor reporting. The situation changed after our report. Apple didn’t want to increase the wattage of the MacBook Air, because they couldn’t get the charging time below a breathtaking nine hours.
This touches on a common trend that I’ve blogged about. Everyone loves to call something that didn’t happen a rumor. Now, I have a stack of info that we haven’t shared about the MacBook Air. It would confirm what we’ve said was indeed true at the time.
There are these things in the world called developing stories, and that’s one of the reasons why Apple hates the rumor sites. They don’t cover Apple reliably, separating rumor from fluid news. Both can be covered properly and with journalistic ethics. Unfortunately, this is a key area where the “rumor news sites” need to improve on.
Had MacRumors posted a synopsis (which, would have probably been possible in around the same number of words), we wouldn’t even have to ask ourselves if we should link to MacRumors anymore. More important, MacRumors should ask themselves if journalists with less cool minds would even hesitate to stop covering them. I suspect that other sites that receive Monday Morning Quarterbacking from MacRumors just stop linking to them altogether.
Glittering, and needless generalities about a site’s coverage does colleagues no good. We don’t do that at MechaWorks, and I encourage others to take a lesson from what MacRumors did. It will help make online media more friendly, something that we’ve seen decline quite a bit as the economy has declined.
Touching on what I also said earlier in the week… it also will discredit MacRumors if they decide to Monday Morning Quarterback us at WWDC, only to find a future iPhone OS version adds some of the HD stuff we talked about on iPhone. Remember, we never said all of what we covered this week was going to happen at WWDC.