A prolific "leaker" hammered out missives about the iPhone 15 and iOS 17 — but the only problem is, it's all fake and speculation from a known fraud. Here's what we're going to do about it.
Every site that deals in rumors has a list of who's right, who's wrong, and who just makes stuff up. A series of rumors and fabrications on Wednesday and Thursday all sprung from the same leaker, who is on everybody's list of completely unreliable sources.
At least, they're on the list of folks that pay attention.
The "leaker" in question, "LeaksApplePro" has an incredibly long track record of fakes, and outright lies.
No clear origin story, but a clear motivation
At this point, we've lost track of what the "leaker's" originating event was. However, it came to a head when they said that they were inside Apple Park during a recording of the iPhone 12 event in the height of the pandemic.
To prove that they were there, they tweeted out an image of Apple Park. Unfortunately, it was easily reverse Google-searched as somebody else's image.
As if by magic, very shortly after getting busted, they claimed that Tim Cook then threw everybody out of the building because they, specifically, were leaking everything.
And, they got 100% of everything they "leaked" during the recording, wrong. Not a single point was right.
We're not the only ones who know that LeaksApplePro is bogus. I've spoken with folks at other Apple-centric venues, and I know that 9to5Mac and MacRumors both think the guy is a phony. And, Stephen Warwick at iMore published his thoughts on "LeaksApplePro" earlier on Friday.
Adding to the pile, Mark Gurman has twice hammered on the leaker. Most recently, he took a second shot on Thursday evening.
But there's still a problem. Much larger venues than AppleInsider or similar sites, aren't very discriminatory about it. We've seen this character's guess-work pop up on mainstream media, and put forth as fact.
The business and fun of leaks and rumors
People like conceptualizing, theorizing, and so forth — but that's not who we're talking about. These folks don't put out their predictions based on historical trends as gospel, or release conceptual art as fact.
Apple leakers come and go. Over the last decade, the half-life of the leaker community is about 18 months. They burn out, they fade away, they get exposed, sources get burned, you name it.
There is at least one entire online community that we're aware of that fabricates things, and takes joy in fooling sites with bogus leaks. And then, there's folks like LeaksApplePro, who shills Apple Watch bands from their Twitter account from a questionable company that appears to have defrauded many.
Some folks have legitimate sources. Mark Gurman, for instance, has made a name for himself in the field and was hired by Bloomberg for his prowess. Ming-Chi Kuo takes what he gleans from the supply chain, and does better than most with what's read in the tea leaves.
Katy Huberty did very well with assessing what she had, but she's out of the Apple game now.
It gets a little shakier after that. DigiTimes has good sources within the supply chain, but has been completely wrong about timetables or plans for the last five years. For example, for about a year, they called what popped out as the Pro Display XDR, a new iMac Pro — likely because it had a processor in the chassis.
Other sources like ETNews and Jeff Pu don't seem to have a good handle on what info that they may have. And, most stock analysts chime in after the fact with rumors that they've heard elsewhere, and include them in notes to investors which starts the cycle anew.
And, speaking of, less Apple-focused giant tech media sites like Cnet buy completely into everything that floats down the river, including from LeaksApplePro and shakier folks.
What are you going to do about it, AppleInsider?
We haven't published anything from LeaksApplePro in a while, nor have most of the sites in a similar space as AppleInsider. But, the problem lies in the other venues that bite onto the hook that aren't challenged on the validity of the rumor.
This week's total fabrications should have been blindingly apparent to these other venues, nearly all of which have 15 times the amount of resources that we have, and powerful corporations behind them.
After all, the leaker in question was wrong about everything they said about the iPhone 14 in the summer, had an October of claiming that the Mac Pro was launching in November, and claimed in January that the MacBook Pro was coming in March one day before Apple debuted it with a press release.
And, those errors are just in the last half-year.
As I've said frequently in the past, part of AppleInsider's mission is to tell you when something is true. It's also to tell readers beyond our regulars when something that's caught some traction elsewhere is total crap — and that's where we've fallen down as of late as it pertains to rumors.
In the coming weeks, we're implementing what we're internally calling the "BS Meter." We're going to be clearer in headlines and introductory paragraphs where we stand on the matter.
What these things will do, is label clearly what we think about the rumor in question before the click-through. That way, if you want to read it and why we think it's garbage, you can.
If you just want to skip the nonsense, you can easily do that too.
This all said, we're going to get fooled sometimes. Beyond the internal assessment that happens every day, as part of our end-of-year roundups, we're going to try to assess what we got right and what we got wrong, as it pertains to the rumor-mill and our editorials.
More on all of this to come.