Apple Exposes Most Pundits as Fools!

August 20th, 2010

You just know that lots of so-called journalists and industry analysts promise to deliver the straight news about the goings on at Apple. But for a number of reasons, including the extremely secretive nature of the company, they fall down on the job big time.

Consider just speculating about new products. Back in the early days, Apple was pretty open when it came to feeding stories to the media. Magazines would get an early look at new hardware, so they could write feature stories that would coincide with the release dates.

With the Internet onslaught and instant journalism, Apple couldn’t depend on a standard print deadline. The story could be published minutes after it was written, and can you really trust the media to keep a secret? Well, to some degree you can. A handful of selected journalists are often given early access to stories and products from Apple, with the understanding they won’t release the information until the gadget is actually released, or perhaps a day or two earlier to build anticipation and fuel sales.

However, Apple will no longer trust dozens of journalists to keep secrets. All they need is for one to break a company nondisclosure agreement for news about a new product to be released prematurely, thus making it easier for the competition to deliver instant responses and make attempts to build similar gear.

Not to mention the surprise factor.

Nowadays, Apple is regarded as utterly paranoid about secrecy. The suspense about a possible new product can be overwhelming, and special media events get major coverage. Indeed, during that last-minute press conference over the Antennagate affair, cable news stations were broadcasting news alerts on the scene in anticipation. And all this about a fancy smartphone?

That plays into Apple’s marketing plans, which is why people line up for hours — or days — to get a new iPhone or some other highly-anticipated gadget. It also explains why, as I write this article, you still have to wait several days to get an iPad, and there’s that three-week wait for an iPhone 4.

Without any solid information, some members of the press find it convenient to just make things up, although the articles might masquerade as informed speculation. So there are loads of stories about what Apple might do, should do, can do, and shouldn’t do. None of these writers, so far as I know, have actually run a multibillion dollar multinational corporation. They haven’t a clue how to manage all the disparate elements of marketing, manufacturing and accounting that are required of the seasoned business executive.

This is not to say that the press shouldn’t criticize Apple when they do something wrong. Certainly the lame handling of the Antennagate issue is a prime example of mishandling the message. If Apple had been front and center about the real issue when it was first raised, that pretty much all smartphones anyone cares about are susceptible to death grips of one sort or another, the issue would have been over and done with. End of story.

Instead, Steve Jobs used sarcasm rather than attempt to be helpful to a concerned customer. Indeed, a few proper sentences then and there might have ended the issue. Sure, perhaps Jobs caught the letter when he was up late and didn’t pay much attention to how he crafted his response. That’s no excuse. The message he conveyed was that Apple just didn’t care about customers who had problems with the iPhone 4.

The press release announcing the alleged problem with displaying too many bars was also screwed up. This was yet another opportunity to explain the extent of the problem, rather just that the display was incorrect and it took several years for Apple to figure it out. Doesn’t that sound unbelievable to you? It sure did to me, even though it may have been perfectly true.

But that doesn’t let the media off the hook. Both media and industry analysts have shown again nd again they can’t predict what Apple might do, or how successful a product might be in a given quarter. Sure, it’s not that Apple is terribly forthcoming about product plans and sales, unless there’s reason to post a press release about it. But you have to wonder how one ill-informed analyst decreed that a mere five million tablet computers would be sold during all over 2010.

When Apple moved 3.27 million in the first three months the iPad was on sale, the people who delivered that original figure, plus similar low numbers, had lots of explaining to do, and they surely had make some really fast recalculations.

The truth is that the iPad, though in the same general category as other products, is sufficiently unique not to play by the rules. The success of the iPhone may have been a harbinger of what was to come, but even Apple admitted to being overwhelmed about the initial and ongoing demand of the iPad.

Even as they have figured a way to match production with demand — more or less — there’s no true indication yet how much traction the iPad has. And certainly nobody knows whether any of those alleged iPad killers will catch on. A tech industry analyst can say all they want about the subject, and even sound confident of their estimates. But they haven’t a clue. Maybe Apple does, but they’re not talking.

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14 Responses to “Apple Exposes Most Pundits as Fools!”

  1. iphonerulez says:

    Pundits are jackasses when it comes to Apple. A bunch of couch-potato quarterbacks that wouldn’t be able to run their own lemonade stand without losing money. Yet they have the gall to constantly second-guess Apple about why Steve Jobs doesn’t do such and such. These pundits must think it’s easy to build a business like Apple’s that can manage to move an awful lot of products in such a poor economy. Why Apple is hiring and opening stores while the rest of the industry is cutting back. Apple has no debt and $48 billion cash reserve in the bank. How many other companies can claim that strength.

    I remember the pundits grousing about why didn’t Apple build netbooks like the rest of the computer vendors were doing. I mean, honestly, that would have been the most stupidest thing that Apple could have done to ruin its branding value by building some cheap little pieces of crap with almost no profit margin.

    So, the pundits will ask why does Apple do this or why doesn’t it do that. Apple has had a pretty decent run these last few years and the company has gained a lot of respect in the tech industry. What more can investors ask for? Forget about the jackass pundits because they don’t know diddly. If any of their suggestions were used by Apple and it didn’t work out, they’d just slink away without losing anything because they have no real responsibility. They’re just all talk. Why don’t the jackasses focus their attention on RIM, Google or HP? Those companies could use a little pundit advice about now.

  2. Spike says:

    Interesting article, but it has no teeth. There needs to be names in this article and a corresponding track record of successful and unsuccessful predictions. Until their reputation takes a hit, the perpetually bad predictions have no consequences; nothing will change. does keep track of analyst claims and brings them up months (even years) later to spotlight their accuracy. The only way to really know if someone is worth listening to in the future is if you know their past.

    • @Spike, I won’t give them the benefit of links. You can Google anything I’ve written for confirmation.


      • Richard says:

        @Gene Steinberg,
        OK, don’t give them links, but your allegations are without substance without specifics and that makes your article as useless as you claim theirs to be.

        Further, not being accurate in forecasting the unknown does not make one a fool…e.g. meteorologists often joke that it is one of the few professions where one is paid to be wrong most of the time. Financial analysts and “stock pickers” are frequently wrong in their forecasts. It goes with the territory.

        This is not one of your better tomes.

  3. brock says:

    Don’t need to provide links. Names would at least make it Google-able….Spike does have a point.

    Liked the article.

  4. AlfieJr says:

    excellent points, about the iPad in particular. at this point no one really knows how big the future market for “tablet” devices will be. right now Apple is selling about 1 million per month, its novelty is still a factor, and distribution is not yet global. it will probably be a hot christmas gift with a big sales bump during the holidays. but next year is the real test as some real competition finally shows up – and prices drop? it won’t be until the end of 2011 that anyone can really figure out how the overall tablet market is shaping up.

    but that won’t stop all the “analysts” and pundits from making their pompous pronouncements.

  5. DaveD says:

    I need to work to avoid the “click bait” sites. Once I see the name of the questionable tech writer that I know of, the site is no longer a place of dependable, factual information in the future. With so many writers that are unknown to me, I learned over the number of clicks whether the site is worthy or not.

    With the speculations of a tablet from Apple in full force last year, I would continue to go to Gizmodo for their views. It wasn’t bad. Then came their iPhone coverage, the tear-down of a “lost” device and later with the antenna. I now see Gizmodo as “click bait.”

  6. dfs says:

    Press pundits and “industry analysts” don’t matter very much. When they wax negative, sales figures certainly go to show that they have little if any power to dampen consumer enthusiasm for Apple products. Maybe it would make more sense to go after Wall Street analysts, who occasionally do seem to have the power to affect the price of AAPL. And who, in a few instances, may have a more sinister aim than their press brethren, if they knowling spread false rumors and play other such tricks on their readers precisely so that they might manipulate that price.

  7. Roger Mercer says:

    Wall Street analysts play an important role in my retirement income. When they succeed in pushing AAPL low enough, I buy more and increase my income as the stock price inevitably goes back up. At bought at just above $5 and at $7. I sold at $196. I bought at $124. I sold at $202. I bought at $79. I have sold a little at $271. And so it goes. Thank your, Wall Street.

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